Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) missionary, Edwin Pier, has been serving in Guatemala since last year. Mr. Pier’s story will be one of many that we profile throughout the year to keep you informed regarding the many ministries of the missionaries that you have sent to witness for Christ. Last December, he filed the following report detailing the incredible work that is being done at the Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala City.

“Dad” Work
My Spanish continues to improve thanks to the generous help of the kids and Hogar staff. Although it still has a long way to go, it’s allowed me to be called on to take a larger role in assisting Erica and the Nannies in keeping the boys in line, especially in church.

In September, we took the boys on a hike up the active Pacaya Volcano to see the lava. We only made it halfway up due to the weather and new lava over the trails (10 ft deep in places). It was too rugged and sharp for our younger members to scale. We did get close enough to see some of the new lava, though

In November, a team from Minnesota (St. Mary’s OCA and St. Mary’s GOCA) visited the orphanage. The men from the team took the boys on our first visit to the Parque Ecolo’gico Senderos de Alux (ecolcogical park) near Guatemala City. Fr. Chris led us all in a hiking chant, “Somos hombres” (We are Men!) as we stomped and hiked the trails of the Park.

Construction Trades, Carpenteria
The boys completed their first carpentry project: Tool boxes. This project taught them the fundamentals of reading and interpreting simple plans, measuring and laying out rectangular figures and curves. This was followed by learning how to cut, finish, and assemble the pieces. It turns out one of the biggest benefits of these projects is that the kids are really learning how to understand and use fractions—the tangible applications seem to help their comprehension of this aspect of mathematics! Volunteers, Luke Naame and Stephen Bober from, Wichita, Kansas assisted in the carpentry classes! Both girls and boys are now working on the second project: a nail box.

The Invernadero (greenhouse) project for Professor Claudia’s Doctoral project was completed in late September as well! This has been a great learning project for the kids as we went through all the fundamentals of house framing. The kids learned how to lay out, excavate and pour the foundations in concrete. Then they were taught how to lay brick, measure, cut and assemble wood frames for walls and rafters for the roof.

Applied Computer Skills
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) classes are now held entirely at the Hogar in the room dedicated to the Smart board (a fantastic interactive screen donated by a team from Indianapolis). We are working through an exciting teaching manual, “Mapping Our World” from ESRI. The course teaches the students important geographic concepts including, physical geography (e.g. tectonic plates, earthquakes and volcanoes, climate, vegetation, ecosystems), Human geography (population patterns, processes, political geography), and how these two elements interact. The lessons are framed in the context of a formal step by step geographic investigation process that lead them from constructing a Hypothesis, through constructing queries for data tied to map features, to analyzing the data and developing plans of action based on the results of the investigation.

Other Duties as Assigned
This coming year I will assist in the long range Facilities Planning for the orphanage annex at the monastery. There will also be a continued investigation into, and repair of, the Hogar water system. A proposal for storm water drainage and disposal near the church will also be proposed.

“As I see it, one of my responsibilities is to be your representative here; I am your presence with the nuns and children”. Your contributions enable me to be here and act in your name, to extend your community to the children and staff. Please help me in this task by going online to http://www.ocmc.org/giving.php and making your donation there to my name under long term missionaries. Thank you!

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is the official international mission agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). Its purpose is to encourage, support and facilitate the establishment and development of self-supporting, Eucharistic Orthodox Christian communities worldwide, thus incorporating the person into the fullness of a life in Christ. For more information on OCMC’s long-term missionaries, contact the Mission Center at 1-877-463-6784 or by e-mail at missionaries@ocmc.org.

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