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March 28, 2014

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Review from Guidestar
March 28, 2014

Opal house to me means Holy Ground. This space is truly God centered. Will and Diane are an amazing couple. Their faith and trust in The Lord is unbelievable. I have never experienced anything like Opal House in my life. The children are angelic and so full of love and kindness. Opal House will forever hold a place in my heart.

I came here to visit my 22 year old daughter Maren, who has been living and teaching at Opal House for three months. Her experience here has changed her life forever. I am forever grateful to Will & Diane for making this possible for Maren. Today I experience great love between the children and Maren as she said good bye to each of them. What is happening here at Opal House is truly God's work, and I am so very blessed to have been a part of it. Pam Talcott (Seattle, WA)

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not do a thing. God has everything under control!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

March 28, 2014

more

Review from Guidestar
March 28, 2014

For three months I lived at Opal House. Jan.-Mar. 2014. I was a volunteer/intern at the school. I came to Opal House to improve my spanish, appreciate the culture, and help teach the children. I wanted an experience that was going to push me out of my comfort zone, and challenge me to try new things. I have never been out of the United States before, and coming to Guatemala was quite scary for me. The fear of the unknown took over. Needless to say, arriving at Opal House...my expectations were exceeded. At the beginning, I was blown away by the beauty of this place. Then, I was blown away by the beauty of the people and the culture. Opal House became like a second home to me. I was part of the Opal House family. Living at Opal house was not much different from my home in Washington. Warm water, clean houses, comfy bed, amazing food. But the people and the culture was definitely different. I quickly grew to appreciate the culture, and love the language.

I would come back to Opal House in an instant. I want to return as often as I can. There is something so very special about Opal House. Will and Diane became like second parents to me. And Jackeline was like a sister. The children impacted my heart more than anything ever has. I changed as a person, and I discovered my relationship with God. My time here in Guatemala flew by quickly, but I embraced every day. There is so much beauty in Guatemala, but especially at Opal House. God is shining his light here, and Will and Diane are following. The Montessori school is educating children ages 3-6 years old, and using the beautiful montessori method. And in the afternoons I was also part of the religious education classes, and preteen growth classes. This was the most life changing and rewarding experience of my life. I would recommend an experience like this to anyone. Especially Opal House. I never truly understood until I lived it and experienced it myself.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I only hope this mission has the opportunity to grow. Everything that is currently happening at Opal House is amazing, and truly being ran as best as it can be. In the future, I only hope more people donate and volunteer there time at Opal House so it has the chance to grow and impact more lives in Guatemala.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

March 28, 2014

more

March 28, 2014

Although I was not involved in the actual founding of Opal House I became aware of it during its formation when I was with Dr. Will Boegel on a Healing the Children surgical mission team to Hanoi, Vietnam in 2007 with both Will and my youngest son, Ryan. The idea sounded both lofty and ethereal at the same time. It seemed so radical for two people to give up their comfortable American life-style, exit their “comfort zone” and pour their lives and their souls into the hands of God, trusting in his/her design and providence.

A few years later, I volunteered to participate in a Rotary project in Guatemala with members of the LaConner Rotary Club close to my home. We had partnered with “Child Aid”, an NGO out of Portland, Oregon dedicated to promoting literacy, to ship a container of 23,000 Spanish language educational books to be distributed to schools and libraries in many towns throughout southwestern Guatemala, including a Rotary-sponsored traveling library bus. Our team of Rotary volunteers ended our project by helping to catalogue some of these donated books at a school library in Yepocapa. This was only a couple of hours drive from Lake Atitlan, so after the project, I decided to visit Opal House.

By then Will and Diane and a handful of temporary volunteers had done an enormous amount of building renovation and farm restoration. I was pleasantly surprised to find a working avocado farm high above Lake Atitlan (5,400’ ASL) facing NW where every day hidden coffee plants were being uncovered from the bushes in the shade of the avocado trees. Local people were being employed and paid more than the average local wages. The potential seemed endless.

Diane was helping take the children of very poor local single mothers into her free day care so they could be safe and get improved nutrition while their mothers could work. They taught health and sanitation to the neighbors in Agua Escondida and worked at finding a way to clean their water supply or share theirs from Opal House. Will was volunteering two half days a week at a free clinic in the Hospital Parroquia de San Lucas in the town of San Lucas Toliman, 20 km away. (The hospital has since been named in honor of the recently-deceased local parish priest: Hospital Obras Sociales de Monsignor Gregorio Schaffer.)

Probably the most impressive thing about Opal House is the beautiful chapel built on the edge of the vista of the lake. Through its panorama windows, one is exposed to an almost surreal scene of water surrounded by volcanoes with villages sprinkling the shoreline. Lights and stars twinkle at night.

Will and Diane quietly work their service to the local people, from micro-financing and donating useful equipment such as sewing machines to simply helping as needs arise for the local Mayan people. They have since built a two-story school and have a Montessori program for pre-schoolers, with plans to get certified to teach elementary grades. This is Diane’s pre-occupation.

My involvement expanded when Will asked if I would bring surgery teams for foot and ankle deformities and problems, relative to our specialty. This year marks the third year in a row that I have brought a team to San Lucas Toliman to deliver free surgical care to those in need. We come for a little more than a week at a time and have operated on 23-35 patients each visit, mostly children with clubfoot and neurological or post-traumatic deformities. Without Will accumulating these patients through his free clinics and contacts, these children would never get the care that changes their lives and opens up opportunities. Will does a tremendous amount of work before abnd after each of these surgical missions.

I have personally seen many good works done through this Opal House charity. The doors to Opal House are always open – to the curious and to those seeking a chance to provide humanitarian care to improve the lives of others less fortunate. For some, the experience is live-changing in and of itself. It has a tremendous impact on my own life.

Steve Miller

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Try to widen the message of their work. They definitely could do a lot more with a broader base of financial support.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

March 9, 2014

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Review from Guidestar
March 9, 2014

I have just returned from my third surgical mission to Opal House in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala.
Once again we were able to perform safe, state of the art and life changing orthopedic surgery in what must be the smallest hospital in one of the smallest cities in Guatemala.
Opal
House Administrators Will and Diane Boegel find time in their never ending days to also function as surgeon and surgery technician. They find Guatemala's broken children, born disabled or injured
and offer them life changing surgery. I don't think one can put a value on helping a young person out of a wheelchair to where he can communicate eye to eye, or straightening the club foot of a teenage girl where she might begin to imagine herself as being like the other girls in the village. Yet in my thirty years of medical practice the work of Opal House is the most meaningful of my career.

Dan Baldini, Seattle



More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

March 2, 2014

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Review from Guidestar
March 2, 2014

I have just returned from a week at Opal House. What Will and Diane are doing for the children of their region (and by extension the families and community) is truly amazing. Their vision is to educate this community through the children to improve their health, their nutrition, their education and their infrastructure. My contribution was medical - but their full time work is so much more than that. This beautiful place is bringing so much to this community -- it is truly inspirational.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More resources to help feed and clothe and educate more of the many needy kids living here.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

January 22, 2014

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January 22, 2014

Last year I was able to spend a week with Will and Diane at Opal House. It was an amazing time of encouragement. I felt like a part of the family and a part of their vision. It was so refreshing to be around two people who feel so passionately about what they are doing and about following the call that the Lord has placed on their life. I helped out with a variety of projects--planting/re-foresting, helping with the after school program, cooking, serving breakfast to the children that come before school, cleaning, organizing, gardening.
During my stay, It was evident that to me that the Lord is using them to bring His light to Guatemala.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

January 21, 2014

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January 21, 2014

I prepared myself for what I thought would be a long and difficult week during my first visit to Opal House. However, it proved to be just the opposite. I was amazed at how fast my week went by in my simple service of others. I enjoyed the experience of the Guatemalan people. It was clear that they appreciate all the efforts of Will & Diane whether it's provided through medical care, educational programs, nutritional meals or gainful employment. Opal House has become a source of hope for the local Guatemalan community. The experience of Opal House has changed me; Iife's purpose is to love and serve others. Opal House provides the door in which you can fulfill that need.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not change a thing!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

December 21, 2013

more

December 21, 2013

My daughter and I had the privilege to visit Bill and Diane last summer for a week. We were both very excited about the trip as we had never been to Central America nor to a Mission of this type. The countryside is beautiful and when we arrived at Opal House I was amazed at how organized everything was. During the course of the week that we were there we experienced first hand the daily schedule of the school, the teachings, the lessons that Diane and the teacher had prepared and most importantly the genuine care and concern that Bill and Diane have for the children and their families. Their mission to provide a well balanced meal, hot water for showers and schooling was their daily priority. Not to mention incorporating God's message in their daily rituals. In addition, the grounds were well kept and it was obvious that there was a large effort to give back to the land and to use the natural resources.
It takes a strong person to carry out this mission and I believe that Diane and Bill have the backbone and fortitude to deliver not just their message but God's as well. Keep up the good work.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

November 25, 2013

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November 25, 2013

I have had the privilege of three volunteer trips to Guatemala to actively participate in the development of Opal House into a place of refuge and learning for woman and children. Both Will and Diane are most gracious and hospitable hosts to both guests from the United States and the Mayan women and children that they serve. They have rededicated their lives to create a fully sustainable farm with a chapel and a school all to serve the native people in a rural area of a Guatemala. They have fully integrated Opal House into the local community and work collectively with the local Catholic Church in San Lucas.

My personal experience through the first two trips was life changing as we worked hard during the early stages to improve existing buildings and create a habitable and hospitable environment for the bigger vision of Opal House to unfold. On the third trip I brought my entire family and the experience and hospitality were of the highest quality. My girls both know Spanish and actively participated in the Sunday children's programs.

I have known Dr. Will Boegel for over 20 years and Diane for the last 7 years and both have exemplary character and commitment to service.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

November 22, 2013

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November 22, 2013

My wife and I had the honor of volunteering at the Opal House for several months in 2010. The founders, Will and Diane, have a genuine passion for educating and empowering the impoverished families living around them in the indigenous highlands of Guatemala. They take a multifaceted approach to help lift people out of poverty. Rather than simply providing handouts in a paternalistic manner, the Opal House attempts to humbly walk along side the people and learn what they truly need for long term mobilization. Whether they are providing food for locals through the organic farm and animal husbandry program, educating children in their school, or providing free medical care, the Opal House is tackling the tough issue of poverty from the ground floor.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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