For Miguel Velasco, FH leadership training has been a great opportunity to gain new knowledge. He comments that everything he has learned since beginning to attend workshops in 2008 has continued developing his pastoral ministry and helped him to grow into an exemplary leader in the community and a good pastor to his congregants at Emanuel Church. Friends, leaders, and congregants describe him as a participative person with humility and respect towards the other leaders of the community.
Miguel participates in FH trainings every two months and replicates the lessons he learns to his church so that members can also practice them. He regularly visits members to follow up on what they have learned and encourage them toward positive change. The workshops he’s involved in emphasize acts of service and love to help the needy.
Miguel also likes to participate in the meetings scheduled by the leadership of his community to discuss topics of interest with the aim of seeing his community sustainably and fully developed.
At 48 years of age, Miguel is not only a husband and a father to four children under the age of 16, he’s also a full time pastor and full time blacksmith. Miguel runs his own blacksmith and glass workshop producing mostly doors, windows, and balconies. During the height of COVID-19 this year, it was difficult for him to make ends meet as demand for his business dramatically dropped. This also affected the community members he employs in his workshop who depend on the business for their livelihoods. Currently, he is making an effort to slowly reopen his business.
Thankfully, in addition to his workshop, Miguel’s family grows a home garden with tomato, güisquil (aka “pear squash”), peppermint, and other vegetables and has 20 acres of land they use specifically to cultivate corn and beans and to pasture their cow and her calf. These diverse resources are getting them through this tight time and enabling Miguel to continue to support their children’s education.
“The topics that have been taught at the church leadership level have been of great interest and blessing; they have strengthened the lives of each participant. During the time of the COVID-19 pandemic it has been very difficult to work face-to-face with them, but thank God for technology, constant communication has been achieved through phone calls,” Juan Osorio, an FH Guatemala facilitator, explains how FH has continued to support leaders like Miguel through the pandemic.
According to Miguel, before participating in FH leadership training, his community participation was irregular and he tended to focus more on his family and the church. But now, he is one of the active community leaders concerned about the development of his community. “I feel very happy to contribute my effort to benefit the families of my community, to ensure its development, and also to be a blessing for the members of the church. I am very happy to see behaviour changes in my family and my neighbours,” Miguel explains.
“Thanks to the sponsors of FH Guatemala and especially to the brothers in Canada for taking us into account,” Miguel adds. “For the trainings that FH has shared with us in order to know the purposes of our life and of the community in general, we always keep them in prayer, one for the other. God bless you.”