Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala pronounced (Ywate' mala), is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, Honduras to the east and El Salvador to the southeast. It spans an area of approximately the size of the state of Ohio and has an estimated population of 15,806,675. making it the most populous state in Central America.
Although Spanish is the official language, it is not universally spoken among the indigenous population, nor is it often spoken as a second language by the elderly indigenous. Twenty-one Mayan languages are spoken, especially in the rural areas.
The religions of Guatemala are very diverse. You have the Mayan culture that believes in many Gods, the Catholic Church brought in by the conquistadors of Spain in the 1500’s and the Evangelical Church. When Spain conquered Guatemala around 1510 they setup every town with a Catholic church and a municipal building in the center of every town. This is still there today. The Catholic church is still very strong especially in the smaller towns but the Evangelical church has surpassed it in active members. It is predominant in Guatemala City and the larger towns. There also exist a mix of the Mayan religion and the Catholic church. Some of their Mayan rituals are practiced on the Catholic door steps and even inside of the churches.
Guatemala is known as the land of eternal spring. This is especially true in the highlands. The temperature is the same year round, controlled mostly by the elevation. The temperatures at night are around 50 and during the day in the upper 70’s. With the volcanic soil this creates perfect growing conditions. You would think that with the fertile soil that there would be no poverty but Guatemala has the highest poverty in the Western Hemisphere. It is a staggering 46% country wide and as high as 80-90% in some of the rural areas. The problem is the diet consist of mostly starches, a little vegetables and even less meat.
We invite you to join us in Loving and Serving the least of these in Guatemala.