By: José Martín Chom Hernández

My name is José Martín Chom Hernández. I was born on November 25, 1983, to Christian parents in the village of Chixocol, Guatemala.

From an early age, my parents instructed my siblings and I in the Lord’s ways. Their teachings were reinforced by my experiences with Living Water Adopt-A-Child (LWAAC) and the resources God blessed me with through this ministry. At nine years old, I registered with the LWAAC Chixocol feeding program, the first feeding program founded in Guatemala. I loved the family environment that the feeding program fostered. We were no longer nine children individually trying to stay happy and alive in the face of extreme poverty, but a collective group working together to succeed and thrive. I still remember my child number, CH0554, and have kept the last attendance card I received from the feeding program.

The days that I attended the feeding program were my favorite days of the week because it allowed me to eat full meals without going hungry.

We were so poor that my mother had to add cornstarch to the eggs every day to make enough small pieces of food to feed our family. On feeding program days, my classmates and I would race from the school to the feeding program door, tripping and shoving to be first in line. The feeding program allowed me to eat nutritious meals that I could not get at home. In fact, I often hid pieces of meat in my pockets, cap, or rubber boots to share with my mom and dad.

I loved the Bible classes at the feeding program. They taught us the word of the Lord in dynamic ways that broadened our horizons and opened our minds. I was around eight or nine-years-old when I began to learn about the life of Jesus. The teacher spoke of a wonderful man who was willing to give his own life for all the world, including me. I was taken aback after hearing of his selfless act and how he suffered so that everyone else could be saved. That afternoon, I decided to give my life to Jesus and take him as my Lord and Savior.

After devoting my life to serving the Lord, he guided a missionary named Janet Armstrong to help me receive the education to become an Evangelism teacher. She would sell bracelets and necklaces that my classmates and I made to foreigners who visited Guatemala. Afterward, she would give each of us an envelope with the earnings.

It was an enormous blessing because it provided me with the economic support I needed to stay in school.

Having always had a passion for music, I began to get involved with the local Liberty Church in Chixocol by helping lead songs and minister to my peers. I learned how to play a small instrument called a “guiro / guira” then moved on to play drums, bass, guitar, piano, marimba, and a little bit of trumpet. After basic school, I studied and worked hard to get a Bachillerato en Ciencias y Letras Certificate (the equivalent of a high school diploma).

In 2002, God opened the door for me to become an evangelism teacher at LWAAC, one of my greatest dreams in life. God gave me the privilege to minister to several young people through music about His Word.

I teach in the same classrooms where I gave my life to Jesus as a child and play a key role in leading children to the same Lord of my life.

The stories I teach inspire these young people to become men and women of God who serve the Lord as musicians, teachers, and leaders in their churches.

LWAAC is my second home, helping me grow physically and spiritually every day. They continue to work diligently to fulfill their mission to “change the world, one child at a time.”

This ministry and my mentors within it taught me the importance of discipleship and how to put my values into daily practice.

I continue to serve LWAAC alongside my wife of 14 years, Gregoria Gutiérrez, in Jocotenango, Sacatepéquez (about four hours from Chixocol). We love to invest our lives in service to God next to the LWAAC International Director, Papa Steve, and his wife, Mama Ana McDaniel, two beautiful individuals who continue to mentor me and lead this wonderful organization.