Nov 19

Heartbreaking loss

As you may remember a few weeks ago Dylan shared a post about Fredy and Maria and the horrible situation they were in due to Maria’s illness.  Sadly, we found out a few weeks ago that Maria has passed away.
We received this news a few days after the October Serving At Risk Families (SARF) t…

Nov 05

The Unquantifiable!

There are some things that happen in our lives which we never see. Like the ripples in a pond carrying out from the splash made by a rock tossed into water. The fruit of and long term effects of ministry oftentimes carry on beyond our sight. Sometimes however, life comes full circle and we are blessed with a glimpse of lives we have touched.

An unexpected phone call provided me with one such glimpse the other night. We have worked at the orphanage Fundaninos for over seven years. While there is a core group of children that we have poured into and discipled over the years, there have been many who have come, spent time there, then been placed with relatives, adopted or aged out.

One such individual was Minor. He was an older teenager who spent about a year with us. He was a responsible young man who loved God and was a continual help around the home. He assisted with teaching and was a good role model for the younger boys. He always had a smile on his face, was ready to help and was grateful for the kindness and love we showed him. We loved him as we did all the children and did our best to help his faith in God grow through study of His word.

During his time there I gave him a donated laptop, installed graphics design software on it and he participated in the computer classes and the carpentry workshop with the rest of the students.

At some point, probably while we were on a trip to the U.S. he moved from the home and I lost all contact with him. That is until the other night when I received a call from an unknown number.

It was Minor. He told me his name and asked if I remembered him. Obviously I did, and after telling him how nice it was to hear from him, I asked him how I could help. The normal reason many former residents of orphanages call me is to ask for help. We have always made it clear to the children we work with that if they are ever in trouble or need assistance, we are there for them. We have taken them into our home, found them jobs, places to stay, fed them, and do our best to be an extended family they can count on.

He laughed and told me that he was fine. He had graduated from school and was now working in the criminal investigations department of the national police. He was still studying graphics design and, most importantly, attending church regularly and doing his best to live a Christian life.

He said that mostly he just wanted to thank me for all that I did for him and the other children in the orphanages where we work, that our love for his people had touched his heart in a big way, that my sample of showing love through my actions and caring for them, without wanting anything in return had made a big impact in his life. He wanted me to know that he was available to volunteer with projects and ministry on the on the weekends because he wanted to give back to others.

The phone call ended with me thanking him for calling, and, as I hung up the phone and dried my eyes, I fell to my knees and thanked God for His goodness in sending a former student to call me at a time when I was tired, overworked, overwhelmed and desperately in need of encouragement.

I woke up the next day reinvigorated and ready for the job at hand. In one way or another I can often quantify the changes I see in the lives of those I work with on a daily basis, and it is wonderful. But to get a glimpse that a greater work is going on. One, that like the ripples on a pond, will go far beyond what I may ever see. That, my friends is a truly magnificent truth, that, is the fuel in the fire of the heart of the missionary that keeps him going day after day, month after month year after year proclaiming the Good News that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins then rose again, forever triumphant over the enemy, so that those who believe might be free from condemnation and have everlasting joy in God the Father.




Sep 02

When God Does the Planning!

By Timothy Martiny

There are some moments when you say “Ah Ha! That’s what it was all about!” When you see things come together, there is no way you can claim the credit for it and you realize that it was God was working behind the scenes all along.This week I had one of those moments.

The Precious Moments School and Orphanage is located in Colonia Santa Fe of Guatemala City. It is one of the more dangerous parts of the city. As a ministry it serves low income children who live in the neighborhood and ravines near it. It provides them with a Christian education where they would likewise get none whatsoever and we assist them with sponsoring teachers, running a computer training center for the children and holding Vacation Bible Schools for the children.

When one of our regular mission teams that assists us with VBS for the children fell through this year, we felt called continue. Even though we only had one volunteer who was coming from the U.S. to help, we decided to go ahead anyway.

With no mission team to assist us, Sharie reached out to the women’s group she attends Wednesday mornings at our local church, Casa De Libertad. The response was overwhelming. 10 women offered to help, plan, organize, prepare activities, make lunches and teach the classes. Seeing that our spiritual family had our back and watching them step in and make this an amazing activity, was incredible.

We have come to realize that one of the roles God has given us is to be facilitators. Many people have a heart for service, but are busy, have jobs, children to care for or don’t know where to get involved. As missionaries who have served for 12 years in Guatemala, we have the ability to help plug them in where they are ned and and help make it easy for them to serve.

The VBS ended up being one of the best we have done and we are looking forward to continuing classes on a monthly basis with the help of our local volunteers.

To see God pull together an accountant from VA, two missionaries, and 10 Guatemalan volunteers to pull off such an amazing event, reminds me that we are just one small cog in the big machinery of Gods greater plan.

Family Day

In other special activities this month, we took the girls from Fundaninos out for a day with our family. We visited a national park at Lago de los Pinos where we spent the day swimming, playing soccer and relaxing by the lake. For many of them it was the first time they had ever swam in a lake and they loved it.

In Many ways, these types of activities embody the heart of our ministry. As much as we work to meet their physical needs, help educate them, teach vocational training classes and impart life skills, the coreeverything we do is developing relationships based on the trust, respect and love they deserve.

Vocational Classes

Not much new to share here. We are just being faithful with our vocational training programs that provide the students with practical skills in carpentry, woodworking, engineering and culinary arts. The students continue to make good progress and really enjoy the classes.

Youth Group

We finished our Bible on faithfulness our youth group of girls from the orphanage Fundaninos. To close the topic, we had a competition where they had to look up examples of faithful people in the Bible and explain how they were faithful. I was impressed with their Bible knowlede and how much they had retained from our classes.

We are now going through a study called: For Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles.

It is a film series that explores the deeper meaning of Salvation. For those who have wondered, “What is my Salvation actually FOR?” Is it only about personal atonement, about getting to heaven, or something that comes later? Is it just to have a “friend in Jesus?” This series helps you discover a “new perspective,” the BIGGER picture of what it means to be “in the world, not of it. It does a great job explaining how we are called to fit into God’s Economy of All Things.

The students have loved going through the series and eveyone, from me, down to our 6 year old son Alex have enjoyed it.

Jul 18

Cadanino, Disabled Ministry Update, July 2015

Dear Friends of Cadanino;
We send this letter out, to let our friends know what we have been doing so far this year. God is working several miracles in our midst. Day to day we appear to struggle with the normal challenges of a disability ministry. There are many hardships and disappoicadanino 2015#1   ntments, but also moments of pure joy. Below we outline a bit of what we are doing and how we understand and conceptualize the evolving opportunities.
We view our paid staff as a large part of our ministry. Several of our employees are single mothers living in poverty. We hope to give them some help and a way to stabilize and improve the quality of life for their families. Ministering to this group has been one of our major and most daunting challenges. This year we have experienced significant turnover of staff. Though much of it is for the better it is always hard to see people go. We refer to most of our staff as teacher’s aides (or Niñeras). Our staff of 8 attends to and tries to stimulate the 25 children under the age of 18 during the daytime hours. We work closely with the government teachers and occupational therapists. We happily promoted, Marie Eugenia Valenzuela, to the position of team leader. She has been with us for three years and has a true passion for the kids in our care. The six teacher’s aides are, Griselda, Noemi, Silvia, Magaly, Glendy, and Yojana (a recently widowed 25 year old Mom mother). We also have Vivi teaching a Sunday School Bible based course on a part-time basis. We have great hopes for the continued success of this lively and dynamic team. Please pray for them and their families.
Susycadanino 2015#2
With mixed emotions we write of the transfer of Susy Aldana to a specialized children’s hospital for the disabled in Antigua, Guatemala. Arriving in 2009, Susy has been a favorite of ours and the entire staff. She arrived at ABI (Abrigo Bienestar Integral, — “The Center”) at 13 years of age. She weighed a little more than 25 pounds. As a result of her profound cerebral palsy and malnourishment, she was underweight, unable to swallow and her limbs were twisted and stiff. She had been raised to that age by an impoverished grandmother who somehow kept her alive. Susy is unable to swallow liquids or chew food because of her condition. She also suffers from scoliosis and continual respiratory ailments including bronchitis and respiratory pneumonia. It was a miracle that she had survived as long as she had prior to coming to the Center.
Since her arrival in 2009, Susy has been attended to by the staff of Cadaniño all of her waking hours. We incorporated physical therapy to improve her mobility and motor skills. Additionally, our staff very patiently fed her formula and liquefied food. Her inability to swallow and the challenge of keeping down her nutrition made it a very slow and laborious process. But a labor of love for our Niñeras. Within a few years she had doubled her weight (to almost 50 pounds) and improved flexibility of her limbs. She has a smile that lights up the room and manages to convey a wide range of emotions through her facial expressions and some gentle cooing. We often commented on how miraculous her life is and everybody is touched by knowing her. We wonder how she survived her early years and remain amazed at how many infections and viruses she is able to ward off.
After several years of consideration and research she has been transferred to Hermano San Pedro in Antigua, Guatemala. This long standing Catholic Ministry has broader staff and more specialized physicians to treat and develop a person like Susy. Though Susy is extremely popular and loved by our staff, we grudgingly admit that it appears to be in her best interest to live at this new home. The staff and expertise at San Pedro is better equipped to attend to the needs of a person like her. We have visited her in the new home and she appears well cared for and happy. We continue to pray for her and plan to visit her frequently.
Missionscadanino 2015#3
We continue to be blessed by mission teams from the USA. For the past five years we have benefitted from the missions teams from The Village Church. Under Kellie Shay’s able leadership we have learned from physical therapists, occupational therapist, special educators and fine loving folks from various walks of life. Their love and generosity in time commitment has made a big difference in the quality of life for our residents. Because of their annual visits, we have benefitted from continuity and ongoing input and vision. God has truly blessed us through their missionary vision.
Additionally, we have received a team of occupational therapists from Xavier University. Under the amazing leadership of Leah Dunn, we have learned so much about best practices in the world of occupational therapy. Their recommendations and insights have helped us structure our programs and classes in a way that really benefits the kids. Her team of students and teachers add a wonderful dynamic to our day to day challenges.
We always welcome teams of missionaries. If you know people who would like to take a missions trip please let us know and we will work to put together an awesome experience. God works through his people and there are so many joys and spiritual insights that people receive when they reach out and love a hurting population. No experience required!cadanino 2015#4
We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge and thank our Church here in Guatemala: Casa de Libertad. Under the pastoral leadership of our Pastor, Francisco de Bendfeldt, we have developed spiritually and faithfully in our programs and personal lives. Casa de Libertad is an Acts 29 Church and a growing vibrant community. Through our Church we are also part of the orphanage called Fundaninos. We benefit greatly from their experience and infrastructure as we navigate the different legal, cultural and spiritual programs that we are attempting to implement. The Bendfeldt family has been an enormous blessing in our lives here in Guatemala. We really lucked out when we connected with them in our early years working here.

Disabilities Ministry
In February a few of us had the good fortune to attend the first international conference on Disabilities Ministry offered by Joni and Friends in Agoura Hills California. It was wonderfully uplifting to see God’s grace and mercy pouring out on ministries and missions from all over the world. God’s hand reaches out with love that continues to help the broken and downtrodden while at the same time lifting up those that are in a position to assist. The insights and challenges we learned about during the three day seminar inspire us to do more. In fact, during our time there we started the early planning phases for our next project…El Arca.
Project El Arca
We hope to open a residential home for five of the adults that currently live in ABI. There are currently 65 residents in ABI, consisting of 40 adults and 25 children. Our Cadanino staff currently works with all 25 children during the day, providing enrichment, love and individualized development plans. However, several of the 40 adults are very high functioning and capable of living much more independent and productive lives. It is our hope to slowly help de-institutionalize several of the more capable adults. Several of them have aged out of the system, but have no family to welcome them back home. Fortunately, the government does not toss them out on the street, but unfortunately we have a growing adult population with very few resources. It is difficult to see such human potential without the desire to try to help.
Our initial plan is to rent a house in the immediate neighborhood of ABI. Thus the first 5 residents will be able to experience a home setting, yet return to ABI for classes and medical treatments. The plan is to rent and furnish a desirable house that will give them a sense of family and individuality. We are receiving encouragement from all quarters: the Guatemalan Government Social Services, our Church and our people (friends of ABI and Cadaniño) who know our population and environment. The folks that we are working with at the government are eager to see this succeed. We hope to be a model for future residential settings and strive to de-institutionalize as many folks as reasonably possible.
El Arca as a project is taking longer to get started than we would like. At first, it was concern for continued medical coverage. That seems to be resolved and now the challenge is to find a suitable home for the residents. We thought we had the perfect house to rent, but it fell through at the last minute as the owner was reluctant to rent to our profile of people. Please pray we find the perfect residence soon. We have a budget and a good idea on how to staff the home on a 24×7 basis. It will be a big step forward for us, so please pray for success.

Ingrid’s Quinceañeracadanino 2015#5
On a lighter note, we celebrated the Quinceañera of Ingrid Miranda in the month of May. She is one of the first children that we attended to and she quickly became my favorite child. Ingrid has low intelligence and a nearly uncontrollable seizure disorder. Her legs and arms are warped because of some childhood neglect or abuse. Though she can stand with great help, she will likely never walk. She has a warm smile and radiant eyes. For her 15 year old birthday party, we celebrated the traditional Quinceañera.
Replete with music, dancing and a religious ceremony performed by my friend Father Michael Della Penna, a good time was had by all. She wore a beautiful new gown and looked lovely. Though she did not really understand the cause or purpose of the celebration, she enjoyed the attention and affection she received.

Please pray for Guatemala
As we write this the Guatemalan government is struggling with Democracy and Corruption (at an even higher level than normal). The Vice President has been forced to resign and the current President is besieged with charges of corruption and theft. They are attempting to impeach him and he appears to be universally reviled. There are literally daily protest marches. Thank God everything has remained peaceful so far. In a country where corruption is a way of life, this administration has been exceptionally dishonest. It is very sad to see. Since we work inside the government orphanage ABI, we closely follow political developments. The Cadanino staff that we employ consists of eight people, but we work alongside 70 employees who work for the Government Social Services Department (SBS). They remain relatively calm about the current political maelstrom. While they are used to it, they remain concerned as well. General Elections are scheduled for September; we remain on high alert until a new government is in place.
I had the good fortune to attend my 40th high school reunion. They gave me a 10 minute slot to talk about our disabilities ministry. I prepared a 20 slide PowerPoint presentation that discussed what we are trying to accomplish. It was a joy to talk about our ministry to dear friends of 40 years. The feedback and insights I received were quite moving and thought provoking.
If you are interested in the IGNITES “deck” please let me know and I will email it out to you. Several of the more compelling slides are photos of special kids with complicated and moving stories. The pictures can’t convey the courage and dignity that these kids embody.

In closing we want to thank you for your continued interest and prayer. As always, you are invited to visit and see first hand what God is doing with this mission. Please follow us on Facebook and our blog. May you have a Blessed summer and fall.

Jul 07


L07_photo_June_2015 (7) lo resBy Timothy MartinyL07_photo_June_2015 (8) lo res

L07_photo_June_2015 (7)I never cease to be amazed at how God works. From the simple seemingly mundane things in life, to the marvelous workings of the universe, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

When we first came to Guatemala 12 years ago, a part of me thought it was going to be like an extended mission trip in which we would spend four months serving and then return to our normal lives.

How different things turned out. I look back over the years at the many places we have served, the people we have helped, the classes we have taught and, most importantly, the individuals we have helped to walk closer to Christ. What to some may seem like a discombobulated, random trek, I see as an amazing journey with each task building upon the last and each challenge better preparing me to meet the next. The obstacles and impossible situations I faced were actually God working to build my faith so that through His power I might be willing to take on seemingly unfeasible undertakings with limited resources, and succeed. At the end of the day I was simply following His plan. I understood that the work I did was His and His alone and that I served only to accomplish His will and to glorify Him.

When we started serving in Guatemala, there was one thing I knew; I wanted my service to matter; I wanted to serve, and serve well. Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Romans 12:11. I wanted to give the best I had to those whom Christ placed in my path. Over the years that has meant many things: delivering food, feeding the hungry, giving out clothes, building furniture for orphanages, painting walls in schools, teaching classes, setting up vocational training programs, helping other missionaries with their projects, assisting and transporting mission teams, engaging in mass evangelism, speaking on TV, praying with people, praying for people, sharing the Gospel on a personal level, teaching Bible studies, and in each and every case, sincerely trying, with my whole heart to do the best job I could at the task set before me.
There have been many times over the years when I have thought that the particular ministry I was involved in was the best way to serve, and if I only had more resources and better support, it would change the world.

Last week the teenage girls from the orphanage Fundaninos were in our home for the youth meeting and Bible study we hold. They surprised me with a father’s day card and shared about the impact I had in their lives, they thanked me for being there for them, for teaching them, spending time with them, caring for them and loving them. In that moment, I truly saw the fullness of the ministry God had given me. It wasn’t in the excellence of my classes or the perfection of my programs; it was in the hearts of the girls before me.
Of all that I had done for them over the years to prepare them for life and teach them God’s Word, the true value of the work I had done was in the relationships built with the abused, orphaned or abandoned young ladies who now saw me as a father.

One cannot demand such a title, and I never did. I never tried to be “their father”, I never tried to be “their dad”, but in all my interactions with them, I treated them with respect, I listened to them, I prayed with them, I cared for them, I engaged them on the topics they enjoyed talking about, I didn’t tell them I loved … I showed them I loved them. At the end of the day, that is much of what a father does.

Yes, I’m still passionate about my projects; I want to set up and run effective vocational training programs where we can teach these kids valuable skills that can enable them to earn a good living, I want to create jobs and businesses that provide good employment in a Christian work environment that pays a living wage to orphaned children who lack a viable support structure.

I want the orphanages and schools where I work to not just provide good care, but to strive for excellence in caring for those they are responsible for. I want to see the heart of the Church broken for the fatherless and believers giving of their time to care for the needy.

But, regardless how many of my other dreams come to pass, I know the essence of my calling, and it is the same regardless of what I do. My mission is to love the unloved with a love that flows from a God of love. My duty is not just to preach Gods love, but to demonstrate God‘s love. My passion is to see to it that God is glorified in all we do, because we are doing what He would have us do, how He would want us to do it.

Christ says in Mark 12:30-31, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

I have known that verse since I was a child, but the power of that verse is not just in knowing it, it is in living it. And, at the end of the day, if we have embodied that love in whatever we have done, we will have accomplished what truly matters.
Highlights from the first ½ of 2015
•    Launched engineering class at the orphanage Fundaninos and Taught 35 engineering, woodworking and carpentry classes
•    Launched weekly cooking club with students from the orphanage Fundaninos and taught 18 classes
•    Re-launched our educational programs at the Precious Moments School/Orphanage to include afternoon tutoring and computer classes
•    Our trained teachers at the Precious Moments School/Orphanage have taught 146 computer classes
•    Gave 22 Bible classes at youth group meetings held in our home and in schools and orphanages
•    Set up our educational training program on computers at two orphanages and a school
•    Gave Bibles to 175 students in Guatemala.
•    Worked with 3 mission teams in ministry
•    3546 hits to a site we created to promote and connect missions in Guatemala
•    Worked with our local church to remodel a classroom at a rural school
•    Was invited to speak on a Christian TV station and share about our ministry in Guatemala
•    Helped two students from Fundaninos to find work and coached them through learning to live independently yet successfully


For more information on the work done by Timothy Martiny please visit his webiste at


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