Youth ministry in Guatemala: Study of Mark’s gospel gives students hope
“We have spent the last 17 weeks walking chapter by chapter through the book of Mark,” said Luke, a CMF team member working as a youth pastor with the Guatemala ministry that serves orphaned, vulnerable and disabled children through neighborhood community centers.
“The hope was that through personal reading of the Scripture and our class time, the students would get to know Jesus,” said Luke. “All of them read Mark more than once and some up to five or six times.”
Making it personal
The students wrote about their feelings, questions and reflections in personal notebooks shared only with Luke and the other teachers, and many opened up about their struggles with self-harm, sexual abuse, anger, depression and rough family lives.
Student Jania mentioned in her notebook that she had “a beautiful experience in the Bible class. I imagine myself in the lives of many Bible characters, which brings me closer to God.”
Jonatan said the Bible class “helped me learn to be a better person every day,” while Rose learned “that Jesus really loves me, and I can trust Him.”
Sheily feels that the study of Mark changed her life.
“I now know that He is the beginning of my life and the end,” she said. “Before my moments were empty, but now I have hope in life and that makes me happy!”
Opportunities for encouragement
“Some of the stories prompted students to speak with us,” said Luke, “and we were able to counsel and pray with them.”
Every few weeks, the class would have one big question that led to an art activity that helped them express their feelings. The art projects culminated in a beautiful painted cloth mounted on the frame of a cross and hung on the wall, serving as a visual reminder of what the students learned in the Mark study.
“It was a pleasure to watch our students grow throughout the series,” said Luke. “They asked hard questions, learned to enjoy time in Scripture and met Jesus! They learned that the stories of the Bible are for them and that they have a God who loves them as His sons and daughters.”