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On Sunday, November 9, 2014 we drove from Antigua to Zone 18 and found hope for Guatemala.

Driving from Antigua to Zone 18 is like driving from Brentwood to East Nashville. Antigua is a tourist town full of ancient history and beauty, while Zone 18 is a crowded slum with traffic, diesel fumes, gangs, murder.  Zone 18 is listed as one of the places NOT to go while visiting Guatemala.  We were driving in the crowded slum for a while when we turned into a driveway … to our surprise we had arrived at Hope for Guatemala.  We were told it was at a farm “una finca” near Zone 18.  We didn’t see farmland anywhere.  But, this was it.  The gate and wall were painted with a fabulous mural that reads, “the place were dreams are planted …”

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The gate opened, we drove in, and found we have come to an oasis in the middle of the city.  There were lush green trees and plants, bright orange flowers in the trees, and a view of mountains in the distance.  There were no stores, no crowded streets, nothing but the farm house, a few outbuildings, and rolling hills with tall trees as far as the eye could see. How could THIS be in the middle of THAT??

Jose, the director of Hope for Guatemala, told us the story behind this place. This finca was the largest egg farm in the country back in the 80s and early 90’s, and has been in the family for 140 years. His daughter was kidnapped and the family fled the country. The house has been abandoned since the mid 90’s.  A year and a half ago Hope for Guatemala discovered this place and God opened the door for them to move their ministry here.

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So now, kids who live with three families in a one room shack with no water or electricity can come to this beautiful oasis in the middle of the slum. They can play on awesome playground equipment and with the goats, horses and chickens. They learn to work the land and produce a crop. There is a lake to jump in and catch tilapia. None of these things would not even be possible in their “neighborhood.”

There is peace here. There is freedom here. There is safety, love, and family here. Who would have guessed we’d find a place like this in the middle of the slum. God has planted Hope for Guatemala here to provide such an oasis for this community. What a blessing!

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