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A documentary on Guatemala’s struggle to repair itself and its people following a 36-year civil war.

On the morning of June 18. 1954, the US CIA dropped leaflets in Guatemala City demanding the resignation of the president. Guatemala was ravaged by Civil War for the next 36 years. But hope is rising. In the midst of incredible odds, victims have been transformed into champions who willfully embrace the pain of their past to help repair the next generation. This is their story. Shorty – a former gang member who is now a pastor, and Tita – a woman who started a school in Guatemala’s most notorious slum have joined forces to repair La Limonada.

After years of infertility, our dream of having a child came true in January 2006 when we traveled to Guatemala to meet our son Micah. Guatemala, just a short flight from Atlanta, is a land of diversity with ancient Mayan ruins, Spanish Colonial architecture, beautiful beaches, volcanoes, and lush rainforests. However, 75% of its population lives below the poverty line. Around 20,000 children live in orphanages, and at least 6,000 more are on the streets of Guatemala City. Issues like gang culture, chronic malnutrition, poor education, and lack of resources trap many Guatemalans in poverty.

In January 2008, these statistics became real to me. I visited a maximum security prison with a missionary friend to meet gang members. Entering a locked-down section of the prison filled with tattooed gang members, I was struck by their stories of struggle. While many had committed serious crimes, I couldn’t stop thinking about the circumstances that limited their choices. That night, I realized that my Guatemalan sons, or even I, could have ended up in that prison.

Adopting two sons wasn’t enough. I felt compelled to respond, so I gathered a team and returned to Guatemala to explore these stories. I asked why people join gangs, why children live on the streets, and what causes poverty and slums. I learned that the roots of these issues lie in a 36-year civil war that ended in 1996, which destroyed families and forced people to create slums to escape violence.

Despite the odds, hope is rising. Victims have become champions, using their past pain to help the next generation.

The film “Reparando” has significantly impacted leaders Erwin “Shorty” Luna and Tita Evertz, resulting in funding, special projects, speaking engagements, and numerous volunteers. Hundreds of ministries and churches use the film to promote their work in Guatemala, recruit volunteers, prepare mission teams, and provide historical context on Guatemala’s social challenges.

One notable example is Living Word School in Mixco, Guatemala. After watching “Reparando,” principal Yadira Arriaza Morales contacted the Center for Transforming Mission (CTM) to expose struggling teens to the leaders and work in La Limonada. She showed the film to her students and selected 15 to visit La Limonada, meet Shorty, tour the area, visit schools started by Tita, and meet local families. The visit, arranged by CTM, was a huge success. The teens, who were at risk of joining gangs, selling drugs, and dropping out of school, were inspired by Shorty’s story and the spirit of service in La Limonada.

Shorty shared his dream of opening a large school for children on waiting lists in La Limonada. Yadira and Shorty found a vacant building that could be used as a school. Yadira, who knows the owner, is negotiating to reopen the building as a school. With Tita’s involvement, they are now planning to start a fully accredited school in La Limonada.

Joel Van Dyke, Athentikos board member and Director of CTM in Guatemala

  • Grand Rapids Film Festival
  • Kansas International Film Festival
  • Omaha Film Festival
  • Mexico International Film Festival
  • Oaxaca Film Festival
  • ICVM Film Festival

FORM: Documentary, Feature
GENRE: Drama, Reality, Social Issue, Biography
NICHE: Third World, Social Justice, Latino
RUNNING TIME: 70 Minutes
LANGUAGES: Spanish, English
SUBTITLES: English, Spanish
DIRECTOR: Scott Owen Moore