We like to describe ourselves as ordinary people partnering with God to accomplish the extraordinary.
We, Gerry & Barb Normand, were Canadian business professionals for many years mainly in operations, logistics, sales and marketing, and leadership development.
Over the course of our travels and experiences we have witnessed slums, poverty, sickness, social injustice, and many other realities of the world we live in.
We decided several years ago to dedicate the rest of our lives exploring ways we can help make a practical, emotional and spiritual difference in the lives of people whom God loves.
While on vacation in 2005, we were reading Rick Warren’s book Purpose Driven Life. We were inspired by “Day 36: You Were Made for a Mission. God is at work in the world, and he wants us to join him.”
This chapter rocked our world and was instrumental in us co-leading a one-week short term mission trip in February 2006 to the impoverished indigenous village of San José el Yalú located in the municipality of Sumpango Sacatepéquez Guatemala.
Our first international serving experience ignited a flame that eventually led us to serve those who were suffering in Africa as a result of war and disease.
From June 2008 to December 2009, we lived and worked in Bunia and/or Isiro N.E. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with a Swiss-based Christian humanitarian relief NGO called MEDAIR.
After returning from the DRC, we felt the pull to return to Guatemala and visit the same village that kick-started our desire to serve in missions full-time. A 2010 trip turned out to be a pivotal time of charting a new direction in a new country of service.
Directing the education program for a ministry focused on integrated development enabled us to understand the need for solid education support programs for students eager to learn and change their future.
With our move to Sumpango Sacatepéquez, nearer to the nine villages encompassing the town, and the blessing of a large multi-functional facility, we sensed it was important to expand from meeting the basic needs of a student (tuition and materials) to an enhanced program.
Thus, the creation of Asociación PILAS Student Ministry!