LF Social Services focuses on efforts that…
benefit our communities and promote social well-being by addressing the needs of our under-served and under-resourced citizens.
These programs promote the welfare of our communities by working to meet unmet needs of our most disadvantaged fellow citizens.
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Social Services include:
- Alleviating Hunger
- Emergency Services
- Ex-offender Job Placement
- Health Services
- Micro-Financing and Micro-Enterprise
- Prisoner Re-entry
- Racial Reconciliation
- Transitional Support
- Volunteer Engagements
Gang Chaplaincy, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Like many Christians in Guatemala City, Pastor William used to avoid all contact with gang members. After becoming involved with The Center for Transforming Mission Guatemala (CTMG), however, he realized he had a responsibility to love even his neighborhood’s most feared and despised residents.
For a year and a half, Pastor William daily visited a local prison in Guatemala City, Guatemala to share Scriptures with men from one of Central America’s most notorious gangs. Fearing for his safety, the guards would only let him meet with inmates for an hour and only from a place on top of the cells where the gang members were housed. But that wasn’t enough for Pastor William. He started asking the guards for a chance to physically share space with his parishioners and friends.
After numerous refusals, the guards finally agreed he could visit with gang members, one small group at a time. They still urged him not to meet with the gang leader and his most violent members. Pastor William, however, would not be dissuaded.
When they finally met face-to-face, the gang leader asked to hug Pastor William. The guards warned it could be a trick to kill him, yet Pastor William went for it anyway. As they embraced, the gang leader whispered, “Pastor, thank you for coming into our prison. Thank you for coming so consistently. Thank you for loving us when no one else would.”
“The training Pastor William received equipped him to go join the dance of the Holy Spirit in the prison and physically participate in the scandalous dance of God’s love,” says CTMG missionary Joel Van Dyke. “Anger and fear no longer constrained him. Pastor William had come to see gang members as people to love and learn from, not to avoid or chastise.”
Across Guatemala City, leaders like Pastor William are breathing grace into the lives of people typically cast aside. And, remarkably, leaders like Pastor William are being “breathed on” by the very people that have traditionally been rejected and cast aside. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, both leaders and those traditionally marginalized by them are entering into a much deeper encounter of the Gospel in very surprising people and places.