David and Sothomer at work in Cambodia!
5.24.2021: A recent update from David:
"Susaday!" (sauce a day) is a casual greeting in Khmer, the language of Cambodia.
Sothomear and I have made it out of the city of Phnom Penh after completion of the mandatory 14-day quarantine period and 4-week lock-down which was necessary to minimize the spread of COVID-19. We are expected to move into our bungalow in mid-June.
The socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on Cambodia is still devastating businesses and people. With significant reduction in available work and reduced wages that directly impact the most poor and vulnerable people in Cambodia; the Khmer people have big hearts and still take the time to smile. GBS Institute provided COVID-19 relief supplies which included rice, soy & fish sauce, dried fish, salt, sugar and laundry soap. Sothomear and I had an amazing time working with our new friends to serve others!
Our relationship with God is personal and so is our obedience, GBS Institute is working with local team members to develop relationships and continuing to work on an action plan to quickly help those in need.
We love each of you and we are grateful for the support, prayers, motivation each of you give so freely give to Sothomear and I.
Donate to the Cambodia Ministry at https://gbsinstitute.com/david-and-sothomear/
Introducing Jessica Graves, Director of International Capacity Development
04.29.2021: Jessica has been leading development teams to the highlands of Guatemala for the past 5 years. She has been instrumental in training national government extension workers in cattle production, aiding small holder farmers to raise healthier cows, and recently, in an effort to provide mothers a path to provide better protein for their families, trained highland communities in rabbit husbandry. We are thankful to add Jessica to the Institute team!
Here's a short testimony from Jessica...
My identity is in Christ, but He has gifted me with strong roots in agriculture. These roots were established in Vance, AL as I grew up on a small cow-calf beef operation. My mom and grandmother, both strong Christian women and farmers, have played an instrumental part in shaping me into the person I am today.
My heart’s desire is to enhance the capacity of individuals, families, and communities by way of agricultural education. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life has long-term implications. As such, I am particularly interested in working alongside pregnant and nursing mothers by providing culturally appropriate agricultural training aimed to empower women in a way that helps them address household malnutrition challenges. In many poverty-stricken communities, families have limited access to animal protein due to the costs of such food sources. This reality has motivated me to explore the use of rabbits as a small livestock species that provide families with access to an animal protein food source. It is such a blessing to see ladies’ faces light up as they gain skills and are encouraged as rabbit farmers. These moments certainly reaffirm my heart’s desire! My hope is to positively contribute to GBSI’s mission through a capacity development lens.
David and Sothomear arrive in Cambodia!
A recent update from David:
Good Morning from Phnom Phen Cambodia!!!!
A quick update, Sothomear and I on April 4th safely arrived at Phnom Phen, Cambodia. Currently we are in a hotel for the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. We expect to be free to travel on or about April 19th.
The socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on Cambodia has threaten development, tourism, manufacturing for export and construction. These sectors contributed more than 70% of Cambodia’s economic growth and around 39.5% of total employment. A total of 433 factories and tourism-related businesses across the country have temporarily closed down according to the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training leaving 135,000 garment workers and 17,000 tourism workers unemployed and in needs of basic life necessities. Our relationship with God is personal and so is our obedience, GBSI Institute has glorified God by allowing us to be present in Cambodia and empowering our service to help. We have raised additional funds to help serve the most poor and vulnerable people with food, clean water, and sharing God’s love! Working with our local team we are developing an action care plan to quickly help those in need.
We Love each of you and we are grateful for the support, prayers, motivation and each of you so freely give to Sothomear and I.
The Institute's response to Hurricane Eta
11.17.2020: Hurricane Eta toppled trees, destroyed bridges, washed out roadways and created mudslides severe enough to bury the village of Queja, located in the central Guatemalan region of Alta Verapaz. Even though the Red Cross has called the situation in the region a "major humanitarian crisis", aid response has been extremely slow and communities left to fend for themselves.
On November 13th, the Institute arrived with food and cleaning supplies for hurting families. The Institute places people who care in front of people who need care. Institute partners responded within 12 hours of the news of the crisis and provided the necessary funds for Guatemalan staff to properly respond to the need. We purchased food and cleaning supplies from local markets. Local groups (military response and community groups) were organized to package the aid. The mayor of the community then arranged the transportation to allow us to reach the hurting and deliver the aid.
Photos from the relief response:
Hernando arrives in Budapest!
10.03.2020: God's direction for Hernando is a ministry of discipleship. As the pandemic shuffled and postponed international travel, Hernando never wavered from God's path torelocate to Eastern Europe. Hernano left his home in the United States on August 29th and successfully cleared customs in Budapest, Hungary on August 31st. Read about the adventure and his latest update...
West Africa: Education Provides Hope in a Leprosarium
08.27.2020: In a leprosarium in West Africa, healthy children grow up in poverty, Yes, the children are healthy but live in the colony because one or both parents are victims of leprosy. The sick receive a stipend for food and are provided shelter by the government. Like healthy parents, these parents love thier kids and care for them with the means they have. Global Business Solutions Institute provides educational scholarships for the children confined to the leprosarium. These scholarships ($108 per year) provided clothing for school, books, sandals, and two tutors who come into the colony to reinforce the children's education. These children do well in thier studies, with some having the potential to pass entrance exams to enter college programs. These individuals have been raised among the poorest in a place that actively fights against hope.
Sign up to provide a scholarship at https://gbsinstitute.com/donate-give/
Guatemala: COVID-19 donations provide extended relief to families in need
07.23.2020: The Government of Guatemala has announced that the Covid-19 "State of Calamity" has been extended until August 5. With the majority of income producing activities at a standstill, the families in the areas we serve in the western highlands continue to struggle. Even the weekly market, the street-closing "Super-Walmart" of fresh produce, street vendors and household goods, has become unreliable. When we provided our first wave of relief supplies to hurting families in the highlands, our funds were limited to one distribution. Due to the response of Institute supporters, we have provided three rounds of relief supplies and are scheduled for a forth distribution this week.
Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola prepares for October 2020 medical mission to Guatemala
07.23.2020: Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola is preparing a medical mission team for the Western Highlands of Guatemala for a October 17, 2020 departure. Sacred Heart's partnership has provided multiple medical teams since 2016 consisting of physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and administrative professionals. These teams serve communities in difficult to reach areas which have little to no access to health care.
An Update from Sagar Sukka on his COVID-19 extended USA visit and his return to India:
Ministry During the Pandemic
06.15.2020: Guatemala's lock down has kept our teams from traveling and our Guatemala staff limited to very little movement within the country. Many of you who are reading this have worked in the western highlands to implement better practices and increase the capacities of communities with the goal of creating truly sustainable solutions to poverty and malnutrition. During the current crisis, our work has moved from development to relief, sending your donations to provide essential supplies to meet the immediate needs of the communities we serve. This week we distributed our second wave of relief supplies on (June 11, 2020).
Introducing Hernando and Katherine Montanta...
We welcome Hernando and Katherine's ministry partnership with the Institute. Heading to Hungary to live out their ministry, thier objective is to help awaken believers in Jesus Christ experience the abundant life that Jesus came to give. Hernando began his discipleship ministry in 2014 and has been active training believers in Cuba, India, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nepal, and Hungary. Hernando and Katherine will become full-time missionaries in August of 2020 and will be based in Hungary which will allow them to serve several countries in Eastern Europe. Learn more about Hernando and Katherine...
Mississippi State University...another great week in the Western Highlands of Guatemala:
For the forth year in a row, MSU students spent their spring break teaching and training Mayan communities in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Each year these students arrive in Guatemala with a wealth of knowledge from personal farming experience along with what they have learned from their instructors...all mixed with a genuine love for people. This year 20 students continued training over 30 families in rabbit husbandry, training thier student colleagues introduced last year. The families that were trained last year had found success in the raising of rabbits for food and income so they returned for a refresher course in the basics and a new "rabbit 202" course where students provided training in hide tanning and a demonstration of how to make marketable goods like infant booties from a finished hide. A yearly tradition for the students is the end of the week "cattle round-up" where the students put their roping skills to a test to aid local cattle farmers in providing vaccinations for their cows, something these farmers do not have the resources to do.
(this picture is from the round up...no, this cow was not harmed during the vaccination process! And yes, this is a female student handling this cow - Go MSU!)