<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=555992007905156&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Interested in supporting our work in Guatemala? Click below to find out how. 


The poverty of the people of Guatemala is pervasive, deep, and debilitating. More than half of the country lives below the poverty line, and 25% of the country lives below the extreme poverty line, which means they earn and live on less than 2 dollars a day.

This poverty particularly affects indigenous groups and rural Guatemalans. Over 75% of rural residents live in poverty, while 80% of indigenous peoples live in poverty and 40% of these indigenous peoples live in what is considered extreme poverty. Their profound poverty leads to issues like chronic malnutrition, unsanitary living conditions, lack of access to schooling, and high rates of infant mortality.

Guatemala is also one of the most unequal countries in terms of wealth distribution. Some estimates suggest that the top 5% owns or controls 85% of the wealth in Guatemala, and Guatemala is ranked 13th in the world for income inequality.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus must always be present in our memory; it must form our conscience. Christ demands openness to our brothers and sisters in need—openness from the rich, the affluent, the economically advanced; openness to the poor, the underdeveloped, and the disadvantaged. Christ demands an openness that is more than benign attention, more than token actions or half-hearted efforts that leave the poor as destitute as before or even more so.”

— Pope St. John Paul II


While neighboring Latin American countries have illiteracy rates of around 7%, almost 20% of the population in Guatemala is completely illiterate. 50% of the population has received no more than a primary education, and has difficulty composing short sentences or doing multiplication problems. The rates of illiteracy or little schooling are even higher for indigenous Guatemalans, rural Guatemalans, and women.

Symbol 26 – 2.png


Symbol 27 – 2-1.png


Conditions in the schools that do exist are very primitive. Less than 15% of classrooms nationwide meet the minimum standards for sanitation, water access, classroom materials, and furniture, and in rural areas, 0% of classrooms meet the minimum standards. Because most families live below the poverty line, there is little money to cover any costs associated with schooling, and dropout rates are high as boys and girls leave school in order to help their families make a living.

The people of Guatemala, particularly the poor and marginalized, desperately need the opportunity that learning and education can bring.

Basic education is the primary object of any plan of development. Indeed hunger for education is no less debasing than hunger for food: an illiterate is a person with an undernourished mind. To be able to read and write, to acquire a professional formation, means to recover confidence in oneself and to discover that one can progress along with the others.”

— Pope St. Paul VI


Guatemala is racked by conflict and violence. In 2017, Guatemala ranked as the country with the 5th highest homicide rate in the world, with nearly 100 murders committed in this small country every month. Over 45% of all homicides are related to drug trafficking activity, and 60% of all Guatemalans own a firearm of some kind. Much of this violence is related to the organized criminal activities of dominant gangs that control large sections of the country.



Symbol 31 – 2.png


This gang activity, usually centered around drug trafficking, but encompassing other activities like extortion, kidnapping, and money laundering, rips apart communities and preys on the weak and vulnerable. Warring gangs roam the streets of Guatemala and threaten the safety of all. Children are recruited young off the streets and brought up in the way of violence, rape, and extortion.


Imagine a very large number of babies, crying weakly and perpetually because they are hungry. 1 in 2 Guatemalan children under 5 years of age is suffering from chronic malnutrition. This means 50% of children in Guatemala are facing long-term physical consequences because they don’t have access to enough food and/or to food with the right nutrients. These consequences include: 

  • Permanently stunted growth
  • Slowed brain development
  • Weakness
  • Susceptibility to illness

In some parts of the country, malnutrition affects up to 90%

Symbol 35 – 2.png




The mothers of Guatemala desperately need resources and education to feed their children better, especially in the precious first two years of the child’s life. In fact, in the US, the infant mortality rate (IMR) is currently 6.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. Contrast that number with Guatemala’s IMR of 27.8, and you begin to see why our missionaries in Guatemala, especially Fr. Maxi Charitable Derisseau, are working tirelessly on the Bethany Maternal Child Center of San Benito Lachúa.


Our team is working tirelessly to help provide support for various projects in Guatemala from providing meals to the poor, education to children, and shelter to families. At this very moment, our missionaries are helping those suffering from issues of poverty, violence, malnutrition, and many more. 

Even through times of hardship and despair, our brothers and sisters in Guatemala find opportunity, happiness, and motivation to make the best out of every situation. We ask that you consider joining us in providing support and care for our brothers and sisters in Guatemala this Easter! 

I'm Ready to Help!


The influx of drug trafficking in Guatemala in recent years has surged through a country already struggling with poverty and crime and made it doubly dangerous and wretched. Not only does the drug trade account for more than 40% of homicides, it has created large groups of drug users, addicts who often start using drugs in their teens. 


Each year, nearly 400 tons of cocaine is moved through Guatemala on its way to the United States. This is about 75% of the total cocaine supply that comes to the United States. As it moves through the country, dealers pay their middle men, runners, and hitmen with cocaine, fueling the problem of addiction. Drugs are sold freely on the street, and treatment centers in Guatemala City for addicted teenagers are packed tightly with patients. 


Guatemala’s many sufferings are due in large part to corruption and weakness of her leaders, political, security, and military. The government has historically served more as the instrument of private citizens than as the impartial and just caretaker of the common good. The rise of organized crime and drug trafficking is due to the reluctance of the government to undertake the needed criminal reforms, and because many government officials are complicit in the work of the drug traffickers, taking bribes and gifts from their tainted money.

This corruption is widespread, at every level of governance. Guatemala’s judicial system is weak and lacks resources to enforce prosecution, her police force is made up of poorly trained and isolated officers who are often compromised by the gangs, and government and security leaders often leave positions of official power and join gangs or start their own crime syndicates.

With corruption and graft on every hand, Guatemalan citizens have no defense against the violence of the gangs and no recourse for their material needs.

“Democracy in Guatemala must be built-up as soon as possible. It is necessary that Human Rights agreements be fully complied with, i.e. an end to racism; guaranteed freedom to organize and to move within all sectors of the country. In short, it is imperative to open all fields to the multi-ethnic civil society with all its rights, to demilitarize the country and establish the basis for its development, so that it can be pulled out of today’s underdevelopment and poverty.”

— Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992


The struggle to find water dominates the lives of many Guatemalan women. Walking for hours each day to locate water, these women still end up carrying home jars of contaminated water from unprotected sources which can cause terrible illnesses, like Hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and bacterial diarrhea. According to the World Health Organization, diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people worldwide than all types of violence or war. Children are especially vulnerable to these diseases.

Only 5% of wastewater in Guatemala is treated, and sewage flows into surface water and rivers, contaminating the water sources that rural Guatemalans rely on for drinking water. More than 40% of rural Guatemalans do not have access to water in their homes.

In addition to the struggle to find clean water, many Guatemalans are affected by terrible air pollution in the urban areas and by the necessity of cooking over open air fires in the huts of the poor in rural areas—in the cities, air pollution comes from unregulated vehicles and in rural areas, smoke from cooking fires. The leading cause of premature death in Guatemala is respiratory infections or illnesses.


 Are you ready to make a difference in the lives of the marginalized families in Guatemala? Don't wait any longer — learn how to make an impact today! 

Make a Difference!


In a nation filled with extreme poverty, homelessness is a perennial challenge. Gang violence and destitution drive many, especially women and children, from their homes and force them to make their way on the streets.
This problem particularly affects children. Just in Guatemala City, between 1,500 and 5,000 children roam the streets alone without a home, adult protection or supervision, and without schooling. Many of these children turn to lives of crime out of desperation, or inhale the fumes of shoe glue and paint thinner to escape their pangs of hunger and hopelessness.

“The case of the displaced and of refugees in Guatemala is heartbreaking; some of them are condemned to live in exile in other countries, but the great majority live in exile in their own country. They are forced to wander from place to place, to live in ravines and inhospitable places, some not recognized as Guatemalan citizens, but all of them are condemned to poverty and hunger.”

— Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992


UNICEF estimates that there are 370,000 orphaned children in Guatemala. These precious little ones have either lost their families due to violence or sickness, or in many cases, they have been abandoned because of the difficulty of providing for another mouth in times of extreme poverty.

Some estimates suggest that one child is abandoned in Guatemala City every 4 days. Utterly vulnerable, these orphans are either left on the streets, picked up by one of the private, charitable orphanages, or sent to one of the crowded public orphanages. These public orphanages are disgracefully neglected, and staff routinely physically and sexually abuse their charges.



One infamous orphanage, the Virgen de la Asunción, became international news after 40 girls died in a fire. The orphanage was built to house 400 children, but was being used for more than 750 children.

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

— Nelson Mandala


Fr. Maxi

Fr. Charitable Derisseu is one of our missionaries and currently the parochial vicar for El Calvario parish in Coban, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. He primarily ministers to the Q’eqchi-Mayan people in his region. In his words: “They lack access to health clinics, schools, electricity, and even water. Despite this, I discover happiness and joy on the faces of the people we encounter.”

He visits the different villages of the territory, more than 120 small communities, and his efforts are often supported mostly by local women:

Often [mothers and wives] go before us on our visits to the villages, and they evangelize and witness to young and old through their way of living. They are steadfast, wise troubadours of the Good News: the feminine face of God transmitting tenderness and love.

In urban areas ravaged not just by poverty but constant violence and disease, many of our missionaries, like Father Charitable Derisseu, evangelize by walking alongside the poorest of the poor in every conceivable way, sharing the real dangers of their daily life and alleviating material burdens as much as we can.


Symbol 66 – 3@2x.jpg
Symbol 67 – 3@2x.jpg

Missionhurst is actively working in Guatemala to help support those affected by poverty, poor health care, gain violence, lack of education, and much more. With many neighborhoods suffering from poverty, hunger, marginalization, and violence, our missionaries remain actively present among the marginalized people to evangelize and be evangelized by the poorest of society. 

Currently our missionaries are working hard to provide meals to those living in extreme poverty, education to the many children who need it, proper medical services to the women and infants, and labor and supplies for improvements to the main Bethany Center in Cobán. Fr. Maxi, Fr. Thomás, Fr. Felipe, and their teams are working very hard to spread love and the word of God to those we are serving in this region. 

During this season of Easter, Missionhurst asks that you consider joining us in providing prayer and support for our brothers and sisters in Guatemala who are facing devastating obstacles one day at a time. Fr. Maxi, Fr. Thomás, Fr. Felipe, and their teams need our helping hands and voice in order to accomplish the following this Easter: 

  • Provide meals to the large number of individuals and their families who are living in extreme poverty.
  • Provide labor and materials to assist with completion of critical improvements to the main Bethany Center located in Cobán.
  • Provide much-needed medical staff and services to the Bethany Infant and Maternity Center in the village of San Benito Lachua.

Over the next month, our goal is to raise $5,500 to help save lives in Guatemala.

Will you help us? 

Yes, I Want to Help!

Get to Know Those We Are Serving in Guatemala


Janeth Dalila Caal Choc 

Janeth is currently a 5th grader who resides in the Aldea called Salawim. She loves school, is a member of the chapel choir in her village, and is a leader in the youth group in Salawim. Janeth has also been a Bethany Center scholarship recipient for 2 years.

Read Janeth's Full Interview

J: Before starting, good afternoon to everyone, and also thanks to Fr. Maxi that he has given us the opportunity to be able to study. I ask God for blessings for him so that he continues to help us and to give us a scholarship. I invite many people who study, to keep studying. I have the goal of graduating, and I want to reach my goal. Thanks to him for giving us this opportunity to study. I also have friends as well that he is giving scholarships to, their names are Julia Marizza, Wilfred Grayson, Jubita Olga, and Almaida Quiterio, and my name is Janeth Dalila. I give many thanks to Fr. Maxi, that he is helping us so that we are able to study. And I ask as well that he give us another opportunity to for another year that we can study so that we can get to where we want to be. I have to reach my goal and I want to go wherever. I also have duties in the Catholic church, I am a girl missionary of this center and I say that all year I have to study and also I have to participate in the church. Not only in the school, not only in other parts, but also in the church you have to follow in the way of Christ and all of that we are going to be following and studying.

CF: Share with me some examples of what you are doing as an evangelist for young people.

J: For example, I always, every Sunday, when Sunday comes, I am there singing and passing on the word of God. This Sunday, never has this happened there, but this Sunday yes I did. So I want I want to say to many kids, many young people, to do what I am doing. For example, some people waste their lives and that is not a step towards God and I want to tell them not to do that. To not waste their lives, that they may stay on the way towards God. That they go to church every Sunday, that they go to school, that they study, that they get to where they want to go (3:35-4:07).

CF: Perfect. Thank you very much. Thank you for sharing your life.


Rosa Adelina Chocooj

Rosa currently resides in the Aldea San Benito Lachua where she is a primary school teacher. In addition to teaching, her family runs a convenience store located on the main highway in front of their home. She and her husband have three children that she loves dearly.

Read Rosa's Full Interview

R: Before anything, good afternoon, my name is Rosa Adelina Chocooj. I live here in a part of San Benito Uno. Before, I was from San Benito Dos, on the other side. In October, it will be the one year anniversary of my living in an actual house. Presently I am living with my three children and with my husband, Uni Erda, he’s the owner of the house. I feel happy to be here with my family and also to be involved in the church. When I was a girl I liked to share in these experiences because my parents also were leaders in the church. It’s been five years since my mother passed away and now only my father is alive. He has stopped helping the church because he cannot obligate himself to that because he contracted a mental sickness, and he still has it today. But thanks to God he has stabilized because he is alive still and I thank God for that, for the miracle he has done. In the case of my mother, God wanted her to find rest. We cannot do anything about this, but thanks be to God and also to them that they led me onto a good path because now I am helping the church. I think that although we can’t help 100 percent, we do what we can. We are looking for the salvation of each one of us and I think it is already in our hands. As a part of this (salvation), I am a coordinator of music, I have a duty there, I’ve already been helping with this duty for four years and I am also participating. Also, sometimes there are difficulties and obstacles but you always must lift yourself. I do not get discouraged, sometimes yes, but I know that God does not leave us alone. He does not leave us alone because without the faith we cannot live. This is why I feel happy and thankful as well to the parish because they also are trying by some manner to visit us more than anything. So in that way the change starts with us, not with the parish and not with the church, because we are the church. And that’s why, although the parish is small, and although we do little, it is something.


Mynor Hugo Cu Cacao

Mynor has been a leader in the parish of El Calvario for 7 years and is currently serving as the coordinator of the Parish Council. His role requires him to fulfill many responsibilities on a daily basis. He currently resides in a small village outside of Coban, Alta Verapza, with his wife and three children.

Read Mynor's Full Interview

M: Good afternoon, my name is Mynor Hugo Cu Cacao. I live in Coban. I support El Calvario, I am, for the moment, coordinator of the parish counsel. Before, I was collaborating with the evangelization. I was coordinating the pastoral evangelization of the parish, coordinating activities in many different sectors. The parish has 15 sectors which we went organizing in capacities of formation in the communities. So my work is also like a missionary in the parish and also formation.

CF: And share with me your hopes to administer and the vision of the parish. It is very extensive, I know, but what are the most important things that you can share of your priorities and your vision and your hopes?

M: Well, from the Diocese of VeraPaz we have taken a method of evangelization with some objectives. Our hope or vision that we have as a parish is based on the objectives of the diocese. Apart from the evangelization, of the preaching and the stance of the church, we have taken the objectives of the Santa Mision, popular here in Alta VeraPaz. It is the integration of human development to ensure and make aware to the members of the community the respect and value of human dignity. So it’s the respect of adults, youth, and children, well not only respect, but also the valuation, it’s how we can grow the integral human dignity. Because, we can’t be in the church worshiping God if we don’t notice how we affect the rest of humanity. So in this objective we also have the clear hope that we will have that human dignity, wherever it may be, whether it is in the community most far away from the town or in the town. Our hope is that we make people conscientious of the fact that life needs to be lived with much dignity, because there is also a lot of abuse against life, in the communities, and even also in families. We are also taking an objective of taking care of the environment because it has a lot to do with the life of the people, with the cleaning, the decontamination, the deforestation, and all that. So, this is the vision that we have also as a parish. To make the communities conscientious of the fact that if we deforest our area, at some point we will have consequences. So we have those hopes to be a church in these times and in these moments with an objective to point our efforts towards social reality as well. That is what we hope to see in every community and every person and family as well.

CF: Please share some examples of how you are doing these things.

M: In terms of the human dignity that I talked about it’s more giving formation and giving reflections on the subject. In terms of the environment, we have invited our brothers to do working days of cleaning and countering deforestation. It’s about actually doing something and not only speaking about it, and we have started to do this, we have started doing some practical things in each one of the communities. Starting from the church, it doesn’t matter to us what the others say what the others think. These are some examples and some activities we do to promote to give a little. With my church as well we enter the situation. In the city it’s been a little harder because there are many classes of people, but we’ve tried.

CF: Can you share what’s happening in the development of the experience of being a community with Christ through the people that you are evangelizing to?

M: in the development…

CF: Is there development in the community? And a goal, as well?  

M: Yes, okay, yes we’ve noticed, and have been given stories as well, that some communities are taking steps to develop as a community, but not much, not in all. Because sometimes there are some conflicts between the members, the families, and neighbors as well. But always we’ve tried and we have had some experiences as well of reconciliation and we think this is good, that it is an experience that we take and that is shared with other communities that yes, difficult moments can be conquered. Because there have been moments in various communities where sometimes in a moment we see good development, that there is good participation, a union in the church in Christ. But sometimes suddenly conflicts arise for some or another situation. But what’s most important we think is that, okay, after a time the people reflect and realize that okay that is how things are. So their have been reconciliations that have allowed people to return and continue anew.

CF: Thanks be to God. Perfect.



Prayer is the most powerful tool that any of us has because it calls forth divine aid from the Ultimate Helper. When you unite yourself with your brothers and sisters in Guatemala through fervent prayer, you ease their burdens and bring them to Christ who shows infinite compassion to the poor and oppressed.


Fasting helps us build solidarity with others who are suffering and teaches us the value of what we give up. It also helps us to pray more deeply and fervently. Unite yourself with the poor in Guatemala by experiencing the same hunger and weakness that they endure regularly. Try offering up a meal for a displaced family, or substitute a simple meal of rice and beans once a week.


Prayerfully consider making a donation to support Missionhurst’s efforts in Guatemala. Your financial support, even the smallest amount, can make a real difference in the life of a child, a mother, a family, or even a whole community in Guatemala. Your prayers, your advocacy, and your donations are all needed and appreciated.


Enter an amount to give


Enter an amount to give per month