World of Difference

Welcome to Guatemala, where you’re helping prevent violence against women and girls and bringing peace to communities.

A man and a woman smiling and laughing
A stamp illustration that reads "Guatemala: World of Difference"
A stamp illustration that reads "Guatemala: World of Difference"

Welcome Bienvenida Bienvenida ( English translation ) ( English / Spanish )

Welcome

You’ve arrived in Guatemala, which – despite being the first Latin American country to recognise it as a specific issue – still has an average of around 140 daily reports of violence against women and girls. But your support is helping many communities to look to Jesus as a model of gentle, respectful behaviour to help men and women live in harmony.

Come with us and see a World of Difference in Sololá, Guatemala, where churches are encouraging communities to live in peace and love.

Watch this video to see the difference your support is making in Guatemala

How your support transforms lives

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Guatemala in numbers

You're helping address violence against women

Transforming lives in Sololá, Guatemala | Warning: contains mentions of violence that some readers may find upsetting.

A man and a woman on a scooter

Pastor Armando with his wife, Concepción.

A stamp illustrating gender

‘I grew up in a home where we had to obey my parents, especially my father,’ says Pastor Armando, from Cristo Salva Church of Central America in San Juan La Laguna. ‘If we didn’t obey him, he would get a whip, a stick or leather strap. He didn't care if it was on our back, our feet, our head or our face.’

Pastor Armando’s father died when he was 12, but he carried his childhood experiences into his marriage. ‘I replicated those practices with my children and with my wife. It was very hard.’

But God was working in his life and Armando began to realise his behaviour was wrong. ‘I abused my wife and my children because I had that habit of being a “macho” man. A change started when I accepted the Lord. It was not sudden – I gradually changed.

‘I’m often sorry because I sometimes mistreated them so much. But I wasn't sorry at that time.’

Eventually, a total transformation occurred and Pastor Armando started to help others in his community to turn away from their abusive behaviour...

Alongside praying, fasting and seeking God to change, Pastor Armando also attended Transforming Masculinities workshops run by Tearfund’s local church partner, Acción Médica Integral (AMI) San Lucas. ‘I started to become aware of my attitudes,’ he says. ‘I started to understand the gender role that I was practising and was able to change. God is helping me to improve. I want to improve because we’re not perfect. But we are on the right path.

Five men sitting in chairs talking

Pastor Armando volunteers in his community to lead and facilitate change with respect to gender norms, gender equality and the role of faith.

Transforming Masculinities is a Tearfund programme that encourages positive, healthy behaviour in men and promotes gender equality to more effectively address sexual and gender-based violence.

‘The Lord cleansed me, my heart and my mind. I repented about the way I was treating my children. When my children were five or six years old, I completely changed my character. My children are now grown-up men and women. We appreciate and love each other very much. We talk to each other, we share, we play, we joke and we do everything as a family.’

‘We help people to understand that everyone is equal and that God created them,’ says Prabu Deepan, who helped to develop the Transforming Masculinities. We ask what difference that makes in all our relationships: marriages, communities and in the church. Are we constantly upholding those values? It’s about total transformation.’

A family eating dinner
A man washing up

Top: Pastor Armando serving his wife a cup of coffee with breakfast. Bottom: Washing the dishes after having breakfast with his family.

Accepting the need to change his life has encouraged Armando to support others to be counter cultural. ‘I can share my experience and recommend that leaders and pastors do the same. God’s eyes are not like human eyes. Those of us who have grown up in a violent, macho, discriminating environment used to see things differently. We believed that men have more authority over women and that men can do whatever they want with women. But in the light of God’s word, we cannot think that.

‘The word of the Lord can transform us. As pastors, because we preach, we have more opportunities to teach this. We can use our example to let others know that God can transform. In his mercy, God uses us as instruments to teach people how to change their behaviour. How to better treat other people: women, girls and children. Everyone.’

This transformation has made a huge difference to Armando’s home life too. ‘I now help my wife more with household chores. I can make the bed, mop the floor, wash clothes and do the dishes. I can even season the food. If women can do it, so can men!’

‘If women can do it, so can men’
Pastor Armando
A family photograph

Pastor Armando and his family.

A woman and two children

Olga and her family.

Fighting for the rights of her family

Olga’s husband abandoned her when she was six months pregnant with her second child. He was furious that she had taken an extra job teaching at a local school so that they had enough money to feed and clothe their children.

‘He started telling me the children were not his,’ says Olga. ‘When Neftalí was born he didn’t want to recognise him. So he left.’

Struggling to bring up two young children with no support, Olga was trained as a legal promoter by a Tearfund partner. She learnt about her rights to alimony, went to the city and paid for her husband to have a DNA test (she took out a mortgage on a plot of land to pay for it), which showed the children were his.

Along with money her husband was forced to pay, Olga has been supported by Tearfund’s partner, AMI San Lucas. ‘They gave me five chickens: two hens and three roosters. Now I have 20. Thanks to that, I’ve been able to get by.’

Olga also supports women in her community to know and claim their rights: ‘I support my community by telling women that yes we can. We women can. Don’t let others violate our rights, because we can exercise our rights. I tell them not to wait for someone else to do it for us. We can do it ourselves. We just need a little support and advice.’

Thank you for supporting women like Olga: regular gifts like yours are helping women to claim their rights.

A woman and a child gardening

Olga and her daughter, Rocio (7 years old) work on their vegetable garden.

People walking down a path

Cipresales village, Guatemala.

Song of happiness and joy

Take half a minute out of your day to listen to nine-year-old Pablo from Guatemala sing This is the day that the Lord has made in his local Mayan language, Tz'utujil. This Christian song, well-loved across the world, is based on the words of Psalm 118:24.

Total Time

Total Time

Here is the English translation of Pablo’s singing:

This is the day
This is the day
The Lord has made
The Lord has made

Day of happiness
Day of happiness
And joy
And joy

This is the day that the Lord has made
Day of happiness and joy

This is the day
This is the day that the Lord has made

‘The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad’
Psalm 118:24
Landscape of green rolling hills

Revisit previous destinations

Take a look back at all the other amazing World of Difference destinations here.

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Thank you for blessing people in Guatemala and across the world through prayer and giving. Soon we will take you to a new destination.

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