Heroes in Zone 18

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. – John 1:5

On my recent trip to Guatemala City, I learned firsthand what life is like for poor children from the toughest parts of town. Gang activity, domestic violence and extreme poverty are daily realities in the infamous area known as Zone 18.

Carlos and Karla Miranda, a young husband and wife team, are courageously serving this community that most of the world has forgotten. Cross Catholic Outreach partners with these heroic missionaries and their ministry at Camiando Por La Paz (Walking for Peace), in the most dangerous corner of Guatemala City.

At the center, 60 children are provided with a daily meal, tutoring, and those who are in the most financial need are given scholarships to a local private school. Each Friday, children have the option of participating in Holy Hour, a service that includes prayer, Scripture reading and meditation and worship.

Growing up in one of the most dangerous areas of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Carlos knows the determination it takes just to survive. When he found a branch of Camiando Por La Paz in his hometown, his life took a path he would have never expected. He was mentored by the priest who founded the ministry, learning to value education and the growing strong in his Catholic faith. When he had the opportunity to become a missionary to Guatemala City, he jumped at the chance to help children .

“I do this out of gratefulness for what was done for me,” he told me.

Carlos, Karla and their son André.

Carlos, Karla and their son André.

As I spoke to this dynamic couple, I was inspired by their faith, commitment and sacrifice to the people of Zone 18. Instead of focusing on their own lives, they are choosing to invest the early years of their marriage in their society’s most vulnerable citizens. Each day, they selflessly serve their community, all while putting personal safety at risk. In fact, they have even taken two of the neighborhood’s children into their home to raise them as their own.

Just like the name of the center suggests, the Carlos and Karla are choosing to walk in the peace of the Lord in the midst of chaos. Please join me in prayers of protection for the Miranda family as they shine the light of Christ in the midst of darkness.

-Catherine M.