The founders (a married couple) have been in the ministry for decades. They have primarily been preachers, but Frontlines is their main ministry now. I believe their daughter did go on the board a few years ago and a new director is also becoming involved as the founders are older and probably won't be able to continue the work themselves much longer.
I have had the opportunity to work in several different areas on the trips and things have generally been very well organized and with good attention to preparation. There is always someone to go to with a question or problem and there is a feeling among team members of being part of a family by the end of the trip. Going back to Campur feels like going home for a family reunion. There are some people who have been going to Guatemala for many more years than I and still come back every year.
Unlike some organizations that work with just medical needs or are involved in evangelism, Frontlines usually has three different teams each year. They have a medical team that works in the village that the mission is based in as well as outlying villages where people are too far away to walk to Campur. There is a construction team that either helps to build a church or works on the construction of the children's home (Casa Heidi). There is also at least one and sometimes two evangelism teams that go out into the mountain villages to work with children. It has been wonderful to see the relationship with the local Kekchi people build over the years that frontlines has been going there. There are two locals, Santiago and Pedro, who are like team members themselves. There is a local Assemblies of God Church that Frontines works with and there seems to be a great relationship with the pastor of the church.
The children's home has taken a few years to build. Frontlines is not a big organization and they depend on donations, which of course affects what can be done for construction. There is now a guatemalan couple (a doctor and a pastor) that have moved into the children's home to get programs going while the rest of the construction is done. I have given a significant amount of money to Frontlines over the years and have never had a concern about how the funds are handled.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
I have seen tumors removed by volunteer doctors, cleft palates repaired, medicine given to people who can't afford it, churches built, the message of God spread to villages where no one else would ever go.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Find a fountain of youth so the founders could stay on forever. I trust that they made a good choice in the person that has been chosen to take over the main functioning of the ministry, but it won't be quite the same without them. They have a special touch and the presence of God is definitely seen in their lives.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?
Hot showers and no spiders, lol. Seriously though, under the conditions of that area, they do a great job. The conditions are not always easy due to the area, and it's not for someone that wants to minister during the day and stay in a hotel at night. You'll stay in a cement block "dorm" with crude but sturdy bunk beds, foam pads for a mattress, intermittent hot water for showers, etc.... For new people, it would be good if they had a better understanding of how much money they need during their stay
Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)
Absolutely! I have met many new friends through the trips and can't wait to see them again each year. It's like seeing family at Christmas. I have been amazed at the strength, fortitude, patience, and diligence of the local people. They have so little but they are still happy. They are so grateful to get a bag of vitamins or to play with us. Every year when I come back home, I have a much greater appreciation for all that God has blessed me with. I have so much, and yet complain. They have nothing and they smile. I love seeing people grow and change and although we can't talk (they speak Kekchi), we can share a smile and a hug that says welcome back.
How did this volunteer experience make you feel?
Like I could do something to make a difference in someone's life. To let them know that someone cares... that God cares.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?