Relationships are like seeds; once planted, they can grow and flourish and produce lasting fruit beyond the planter’s expectation.
Such is the relationship of Donnie Dalton of Thompson's Station, Tenn., and Osmar Jimenez, FCA’s leader in Guatemala. From the seed of one relationship planted 18 years ago, hope has sprouted for over 90 families in Guatemala this winter.
Dalton connected with the country back in the ‘90s and went on his first trip in 2000 where his heart grew for the country and its people. It was on one of those trips where he met young Jimenez when Dalton’s church team helped add on to his family’s home. They stayed in contact over the years, Dalton encouraging the interests in his life. As Jimenez grew interested in soccer, Dalton would send him shoes, balls and even a jersey, and would, most importantly, speak life into him.
“I saw him grow up and get in FCA, where he blossomed,” said Dalton. Jimenez, who started full-time with FCA in 2018 and is now the FCA National Director for Guatemala, continues to impact his home country through the influence of coaches and athletes, with Dalton a supporter in every sense of the word.
“Being a supporter doesn’t always take money, but time and encouragement and friendship,” said Dalton.
His continued interest in Guatemala magnified this past year when COVID-19 hit and Dalton kept receiving photos of white flags hung outside homes, signaling a lack of food and desperate need.
“Every time I sat down to eat it bothered me,” he said. “I had plenty to eat. It broke my heart. I talked with a guy who went on trips with me and he asked, ‘What are you going to do about it?’”
Dalton was given a check for $1,000 and he spread the word through his men’s Bible study and Sunday school class at Grassland Heights Baptist Church in Franklin to raise more funds to purchase food for Guatemalan communities. At the same time, Dalton reached out to Jimenez with an offer of funds if he knew people who needed supplies.
Jimenez immediately came up with 30 families in need and got to work organizing the purchase of food supplies and gathering volunteers to assemble bags and distribution. Each bag was hand-packed with beans, rice, flour, oatmeal, tomato sauce, cooking oil, eggs, milk powder and other items, then distributed to those whose struggles were amplified from COVID-19. “They went into neighborhoods no one wants to go in because of gangs,” Dalton said. “Osmar chose people he worked with and knew personally from his past.”
"When you start to have compassion, you can't stand it until you do something."
- FCA Guatemala Supporter Donnie Dalton
As the hands and feet of Jesus, Jimenez, along with his parents and a group of volunteers, observed firsthand the deep physical and spiritual needs met that came from the kindness of Dalton and his church.
“I see God in people’s faces,” Jimenez said. “The Bible says everything you do for His little ones you are giving to Him. And to see Donnie say he can’t come visit now but can use this money to help, it is one of the greatest miracles to see God working through him in the ministry.”
He added, “These families were really in need, didn’t have the money and were not working. It was really hard to see, but it was a blessing to have the church and FCA working together.”
Overall, 4,100 pounds of food were delivered to 72 families totaling 161 people. It is a multiplication of generosity God used to connect the hearts of His children. From a seed of friendship planted almost 20 years ago and a simple question of, “What are you going to do about it?” has brought the love of God through tangible means making a way for families from a devastating year.
The outpouring of investment from members of Grassland Heights Baptist Church, friends and family has awed Dalton, as they made another distribution around Christmas and money continues to come in for food. “It’s changed the life of my church and is incredible what’s taking place: people give with their hearts.”
Dalton’s heart for the people of Guatemala and his service to the Lord led him to connect with Jimenez, a trusted friend who is himself fueled to love his neighbors. “It’s tremendous to partner with Osmar,” Dalton said. “Osmar has a love of children and a love of soccer, and that’s why he’s with FCA. I see it.”
FCA Guatemala continues to serve local communities while advancing the mission of its ministry. Please pray for the team to grow in God for personal and ministry action, and the provision to reach more coaches and athletes.
Want to contribute to FCA Guatemala’s efforts? Donate here: FCA Guatemala
Visit www.fcaworld.org to learn more about what God is doing around the globe through FCA.
Photos courtesy of Osmar Jimenez and Donnie Dalton