COLORADO SPRINGS – “What Matters” is an interesting phrase. Devoid of punctuation, it could be a statement, a question, or an exclamation. Regardless, it is important that we all know what matters . . . what really matters.
What Matters Ministries and Missions is the faith-based organization founded by Ivan and Kim Tait in 1997. Their ministry originated in Africa, where it continues to flourish. For this particular article, Missions Box chooses to focus your attention on their ministry in Guatemala through Casa Angelina.
Daughters Kindra and Bethany and their husbands are integral to the Guatemala ministry. What Matters in Guatemala is rescuing orphans, helping widows, and providing nutritious meals for many people who would otherwise suffer from malnutrition.
Factoid: Food scarcity is not a major problem in Guatemala. Having a healthy, well-rounded diet is.
Casa Angeline is the center of the What Matters outreach in Guatemala. The complex, which you can see in the video at the end of this article, houses an incredibly beautiful orphanage, a feeding center led by two trained chefs, a medical clinic, a school with 12 teachers, sustainable gardens, and athletic fields.
“When children are brought to Casa Angelina, they are not just provided for but are also rescued from a destructive path that would lead to the cycle of poverty, abuse, and brokenness continually repeating itself through the generations. Our goal is not to simply provide them with a safe place but to go beyond that and provide them with a fertile field to plant their dreams and, in many cases, to dream for the first time.”
To accomplish this, it is imperative that all staff members consistently demonstrate the love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ so that, as they share the Gospel with the children, it can be seen as an entirely different and supremely better reality than the one they had been accustomed to.
For most orphans, their first night at Casa Angelina is also the first time they have slept in a real bed of their own.
The children are given an excellent education and are offered the opportunity to pursue higher education after graduation from high school.
Widows in Guatemala suffer the same neglect and loneliness as others in developing countries. What Matters currently supports 94 widows. Casa Angelina staff and students go into the surrounding, impoverished communities. There, they seek out the widows who have little or no means of providing for themselves. Short-term mission teams are often engaged in building new homes for nearby widows.
In just one week, under the leadership of What Matters, a short-term team can build a secure, earthquake-resistant house to replace their previous home typically made from cornstalks and other meager materials. Each new home is furnished with a bed, table and chairs, and an efficient wood-burning stove.
When you get right down to it, having a consistent supply of nutritious food is about self-sustainability. If the ministries are to survive and truly benefit the community, the mission must have sustainability. That begins with food.
Casa Angelina grows its own vegetables and fruit using the latest sustainable agricultural techniques, including aquaponics. “A 40-ft. by 60-ft. completely enclosed vegetable house also contains two huge fish tanks. Simply put, the waste from the fish provide the fertilization for the plants that are grown in huge beds of flowing water, and the filtration from the roots of the plants provide clean water for the fish in the tanks.”
The food program includes provision for clean water and fresh meat.
“It has never been our goal to just rescue children from the streets, although we do. It is our goal to provide an environment in which our children can heal, flourish, and transform.”
For What Matters, Casa Angelina must always be
“spacious and captivating, it must be a place of safety and healing, the children must know what it means to belong to a family, they must be educated, they must receive professional help, and they must live in a quality that contradicts all they have known . . . a place where hope and love transform, where isolated children make relationships that help them become vulnerable again, where food and water are abundant, where choices for their future and health for their present are available, where there is space to exercise and explore, where the homes are something to be proud of, and where the dreams and hopes of our children can be reinstated and fostered.”
Much remains to be told about the What Matters Ministries and Missions and Casa Angelina, where the objective is “Turning Orphans into Royalty” as children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
We have only scratched the surface. Watch this short video to fall in love with What Matters.