|Lake Amatitlan, Guatemala, Holy Trinity Monastery|
From its founding more than 150 years ago, through its seizure by the government of Guatemala and its return to a descendant of the founder, Orthodox Christian nun Madre Inés Ayau García, in the 1990s, the story of “The Hogar” and its impact on the life of children and adults involves one miracle after another.
The miraculous happens frequently at Hogar Rafael Ayau (HRA). But, like so many miracles in Scripture, humans sometimes play a role. So when Catherine Fuller was looking for a way to record the wonderful singing of the children at Hogar Rafael Ayau and needed equipment, she contacted Ancient Faith Radio. She’d already tried recording the children herself, but the equipment available just wasn’t up to the job. She was hoping AFR would have better equipment.
“She contacted us to see if we might be willing to record the children,” said Bobby Maddex, Operations Manager for AFR. “And then paid for our trip herself. It was a very generous gesture that evidences how dear The Hogar is to her.”
“The Hogar” as most people call it, is an Orthodox Christian orphanage smack dab in the middle of the most dangerous of Guatemala City’s twenty-one zones, Zone One, and not far from the giant sinkhole that opened last month.
“The sinkhole took place in Zone 2, which is just a few miles from the Hogar. The sinkhole occurred on the heels of the Pacaya volcano eruption, which covered both the monastery and orphanage in ash. It has been a rough couple of months down there,” says Maddex.
In May of this year Maddex left for Guatemala, bringing along a portable digital recording device, in case it was needed. He shares what happened next,
“While there, it suddenly occurred to us that we should try to capture audio related to the orphanage and monastery to see if a documentary might result from it. The recordings turned out to be a lot better than we could have ever hoped for.”
So two miracles have arisen from the trip: the originally planned recording of the children’s singing, and an audio documentary now available on the Ancient Faith Radio website.
Hogar Rafael Ayau was begun over 150 years ago, by Dom Rafael Ayau, under another name. In the 1970s the Guatemalan government seized the home, renamed it “Hogar Rafael Ayau”, then neglected it. The miraculous story of how God used a member of that same government to effect its return in the 1990s (to an Orthodox Christian member of the Ayau family) is told in the documentary.
|The new orphanage building under construction, with the Holy Trinity Monastery (upper right).|
“It costs $35,000 per month to just run the orphanage, and that money comes from outside donations,” says Maddex.
Besides praying for current needs the nuns are praying for an additional miracle: the successful completion of Hogar San Miguel, a new orphanage in the mountains outside Guatemala City. Moving the seventy children currently at The Hogar to the new location will provide them with fresh air and more space than the historic constricted downtown location.
The Hogar downtown will continue to exist, however, both as an intake point for orphans and as an Orthodox Christian learning center for the growing number of adult Orthodox Christians in Guatemala.
Current plans are to offer for sale the recently-recorded CD of the children’s singing, with all proceeds going to raise money for the ongoing work at The Hogar, for the new learning center, and to help support the monastery, which the documentary shows plays a major role in the lives of the HRA children. All labor on the CD is being donated in-kind, that is, at no charge.
“My father, John Maddex, the CEO of Conciliar Media Ministries, produced the CD, and Matthew Dorning, the marketing director of CMM, is doing all of the cover art. The CD will be sold by Friends of the Hogar, though a sale date is not known yet.”
The HRA has a long history of God miraculously providing for their needs. When asked whether the CD could become a major income producer for the HRA and its ministries, Maddex replied,
“I doubt very much that the CD will put a major dent in the $1.6 million needed to complete the new orphanage, though I hope that it does help in this regard. That $1.6 million is on top of the $35,000 a month, incidentally. And that $35,000 just barely covers the basic needs of the orphans. If anything, the orphanage needs more assistance now than ever.”
Maddex also says the connection between Ancient Faith Radio and HRA will continue.
‘We will stay in close contact with the nuns, as well as with Friends of the Hogar, their official fundraising organization. Our visit impacted us greatly, and we are willing to do just about anything to help these children.”
Plans are being made to return to the orphanage to record a CD of the children singing Nativity music. It is hoped that the nuns will give permission for some of the children to be interviewed for a follow-up documentary, though, as Maddex put it, “they are understandably quite protective of the children’s privacy.” The documentary, “Miracle in Zone One,” sheds light on that protectiveness.
Source: Ancient Faith Radio Press Release