Dennis, by most standards, is a typical 4 or 5-year-old, full of curiosity who loves his mom deeply. We met him during the playground build in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. He lives just down the path from the church where our Impact Team was serving that week.

Like most small boys, anytime there is construction happening, they want to know what is going on. Dennis is no exception. In his innocent, quiet demeanor he didn’t stand out like the other boys who were running around, yelling and playing. Dennis stood quietly, peeking around the corner of a block wall where we were working inside. Dave, one of our volunteers, noticed Dennis and walked over toward him. He stepped back out of site, not knowing Dave’s intentions.

As Dave squatted down to began to talk to Dennis, he slowly began to trust Dave, and came closer to him. Before long, Dave was trying to introduce Dennis to the rest of the team, but Dennis shyly slid back behind the wall again. So far Dave was the only man he trusted at the site. Later we began to realize why.

This area of Chimaltenango is not typically kid-friendly. It’s a very poor area where the overwhelming majority of kids grow up without fathers, and end up in a life of prostitution, gangs, or drug dealing. It’s not safe place for a child, and there are very few fathers or adult men; even fewer role models who positively influence children.

Near the end of our day, Dennis took Dave’s hand and pointed toward his family’s “home.” He wanted to take Dave there to show him. Hand-in-hand, Dave and a couple of other team members walked the short distance to Dennis’ home. They met his mother and family. No father, just the mother and kids—precious and beautiful.

Grace of God Church, who was our partner for that project, was planted by Pastor Armondo and his wife Mayalin, to “offer the hope of a transformed life through Jesus Christ” to the kids in that community. Their dream is that one day, some of the kids they reach will grow to become Pastors and Bible teachers, and begin to transform their families and community for Christ.

Our prayer is that the playground and the KIDStory training we brought to them will give their church two very effective tools for making an impact in Dennis’ life, and in the life of hundreds more just like him!

Thank you for helping us impact kids like Dennis with God’s transforming hope!

–Mike Young, Regional Vice President
Impact Team Leader – Guatemala Team, April 2016

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