Patricia Arzú, wife of Guatemala City’s mayor, Alvaro Arzú, has teamed up with Orphan Outreach to provide education to hundreds of homeless children. The children now attending Arzú’s three schools were once uneducated and living on the streets.
In order to assist her efforts, Orphan Outreach and a team of 60 women visited the schools, bringing with them supplies and a healthy dose of encouragement. The women were a part of a group called Midday Moms, a program in association with Midday Connection—a Moody Broadcasting Network program out of Chicago.
Lori Neff and her mom, Rita, went along on this trip. “Mrs. Arzú has done a phenomenal work there,” Rita said on the broadcast. “I was so impressed how one woman was touched by God and the situations the children are in.”
“We saw a lot of tragedy,” Lori added, “but I left Guatemala with a lot of hope.”
Part of this hope comes from the ongoing collaboration between Arzú and Orphan Outreach. “It was the first time we’d taken teams into these places,” Amy Norton, director of programs, said of the Midday Moms trip. “It just reached into the lives of children who had never had anyone do that.”
Gloria Caceres, program coordinator for Guatemala, agreed. “The Midday Moms and daughters brought a lot of joy to the children because when they get home, many don’t have mothers to hold them and comfort them.”
In 1996, when Arzú’s husband was then-president of Guatemala and she the First Lady, she grew concerned about the spiritual condition of the people of Guatemala. She decided to bring biblical education into schools—even the public municipal schools. The Bible served as curriculum, with classes for teachers as well as students. When the Lord provided 60,000 Bibles for her to distribute, she began to realize her dream of teaching people about God’s story of redemption.
Today, in each clean, brightly decorated school, the children gather each morning to bathe and put on clean uniforms, which staffers have freshly laundered on school grounds. “You see that little window of their lives where [Arzú] is trying to provide a home-like atmosphere,” Norton said, “but the kids go home to really difficult environments. Many don’t know where they are going to sleep at night.”
The poorest children—those who are so poor that they are literally naked—live on the outskirts of Guatemala City. It is to these reaches that Mrs. Arzú has enlisted the help of Orphan Outreach to expand the program.
“We pray every day to be helped by the Lord,” Arzú said. “He is helping us through you. You are like the arms of Jesus Christ hugging these children and giving them love because they have been hurt so much in their lives. This has warmed their heart for Jesus. That is why they have given their hearts to Him. Now we can say they are not only rescued from the streets but for eternity.”