My name is Samuel Montero; most people call me Sam.
I am from Bolivia, but I have lived in Guatemala for 11 years and am grateful that God gave me the opportunity to serve Him in this beautiful country. I have been on staff at HopeChest Guatemala since October 2018. I believe that God’s timing is perfect as He equips us to serve Him better. I studied business in Bolivia with a major in finance, after which I worked for a large airline company for almost 10 years. Then God called me to become a pastor, and I came to Guatemala to study at a seminary in Guatemala City.
As part of my job, I manage the projects and programs of our CarePoints. However, our main goal is the restoration of people through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I say this, I see how the Bible and Jesus’ ministry talks about restoration in a holistic way, even helping them find ways to transform their economy and address issues of poverty. This is why I love what I do. I can help people to achieve restoration in a theological way, but at the same time give them hope and answers for their basic needs, going beyond just physical needs to help them succeed in life through economic empowerment initiatives, empowering them to create small businesses.
I love how theology and business are tied together in my day-to-day job and how God has prepared me to accomplish His will in places like Pueblo Modelo in Guatemala.
Currently we are working on various economic empowerment initiatives. In Pueblo Modelo, Zacapa, we have a sewing class for 16 women from the community. The goal of this project is: “To empower the women at Pueblo Modelo, giving them the tools and teaching them the skills necessary to generate an income to support their families, while managing their time with their families, and learning how to be good stewards of their own money in a Biblical manner.”
The objective that we want to accomplish is to dignify the women at the community; help the mothers manage and balance their time for work and with their families; give them opportunity to constantly learn and grow personally and professionally; and share with them the gospel and disciple them, all while creating a source of income for their families.
This is a two-year program, where the women of the community learn basic sewing skills and create new products. During those two years, they will have a devotional prior to each class. In the second year, they will learn to master the art of sewing and will be empowered to buy their own sewing machine by paying small, monthly installments over the year. We will include training on personal budgeting, cost estimating, and help to design and establish a savings group to create a culture of saving. We will also encourage them and work with them to join an existing cooperative or create a cooperative that will help them achieve their goals.
Simultaneously, we want to offer something for the men of the community. One of the initiatives we have is a welding co-op. Through vocational training in welding, our goal is to give the men of Pueblo Modelo the tools and the skills necessary to generate an income to support their families; teach them to manage their time with their family; and learn how to have a healthy, biblical understanding of being good stewards of their money.
This 10-week program is designed to teach a maximum of six men. At the end of each term, they will have the opportunity to decide if they want to be a part of the cooperative or to work on their own. The objective we want to accomplish with this initiative is to give the men of the community an opportunity to have an income, to grow and learn consistently,and to support their families, all while providing discipleship and evangelism.
These initiatives are designed to help members of the community recognize the assets and opportunities that the community already has, study the local market, and help them try to come up with ideas that will benefit the people in the community. We believe that if they have local opportunities and they are discipled, their families, the community, and the country will experience change.
We need to train and develop local leadership. My goal is to help members of the community grow and succeed in their leadership, walking with them in this process. I want to train people as they go through this process to help me help them take over responsibility for all the community programs and see the community flourish.
My vision for Pueblo Modelo is it will really become that “Model Village,” an example for the rest of the villages in Guatemala, succeeding in life with Jesus as a center of the community.
Today’s blog is written by Sam Montero, Guatemala’s Program Officer who is overseeing the strategy of directly implemented CarePoints in Guatemala. If you missed last month’s blog about the concept of Pueblo Modelo’s, you can read it, here. Next month we’ll meet Dayrin, the woman who is leading the Pueblo Modelo community. Join us as we launch this exciting model in Guatemala and lift up the stories of its leaders!