This great nonprofit provides a very meaningful experience with the Mayan culture in rural Guatemala. It gives volunteer work teams a great 5-weekday experience working on projects--primarily building projects--that village people choose and that get visitors working along side local Mission Guatemala staff, who do an excellent job of guiding the visitors on how to do things and learn new skills. They provide safe and very pleasant lodging for teams and all the meals, which are very good. Their "River House" is a mile outside Panajachel on beautiful Lake Atitlan. They also arrange really good cultural experiences--including opportunities to buy locally-made items and respectful exposure to a Mayan religious ceremony--on the weekends and a couple of weeknights. Its staff--both the indigenous folks who make up the majority and the young-adult Americans who guide the programs--host the teams well and are very accessible to interact with. They arrange everything needed, including transportation to and from the airport and essential transportation during the week. They also help arrange easy, inexpensive rides into Panajachel in the evening for those who want to do this.
Joseph Easley, Evansville, IN
At Mission Guatemala Mar. 25-Apr. 2
I served on a Mission Team for Mission Guatemala in 2011 and again last week (2017).
Mission Guatemala is exemplary in the way it serves the needs of the Mayan people in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. It is extremely obvious that MIssion Guatemala works hand in hand with the people it serves in order to connect with the true needs of the people on a grassroots level. In other words, in everything they do, Mission Guatemala reaches out to the various communities to seek out their needs, and then find ways to address those needs in ways that are sustainable, financially responsible, efficient and effective.
I'm impressed with Mission Guatemala in so many ways, not the least of which is that they take great care as they expand their outreach in any way, so that it's sustainable both for Mission Guatemala and the affected community. For example, as Mission Guatemala expands its daily nutritional feeding programs for children, leaders from the individual Mayan community take over responsibility for most of the logistics of the program, while Mission Guatemala provides the financial resources. This allows Mission Guatemala to continue to expand it outreach.
Likewise, Mission Guatemala employs people from the Mayan community in all types of roles including worksite engineers/guides, cooks, medical center doctor, etc etc.
Lastly and importantly, it is obvious time and again how responsible, thoughtful, strategic, and frugal Mission Guatemala is with the donations it receives. We can rest assured that Mission Guatemala is indeed 100% "on a mission" to faithfully serve the Mayan people living in Guatemala's western highlands - people who typically earn $2/day, live in very humble home structures, are very family-oriented and extremely hardworking, reside in a country with meager infrastructure, survived a 30+ year civil war (genocide) in which 200,000+ Mayan people were killed, and who continue to be discriminated against as they seek employment. Mission Guatemala provides educational opportunities and some basic needs (e.g. nutritious food for children) which are readily evident on their website.
Bottom line: This is an extremely well-run, financially responsible, heart-in-the-right-place organization. I feel so blessed to be a part of this as a week-long volunteer and ongoing financial donor.
Mission Guatemala not only provides a much needed resource to the communities it serves, but does so in a superb manner. The organization is committed to a long term relationship in the communities and does an excellent job of taking time to share this objective and the different programs and projects being supported. The work is important, but time and opportunities were provided to interact and understand the local culture. Very rewarding and refreshing to be a part of an organization that is dedicated to the people first and understanding needs.
This was my first mission trip out of the country and I cannot say enough about how well the staff organized the trip. Communication was excellent from how to plan for the trip to how to prepare for a week of servant-hood. The facilities are top notch (basically a small resort) and all aspects of the visit are planned and communicated. All travel is arranged, all accommodations and opportunities for visiting the local communities and businesses are planned a head of time, all language translation needs are addressed and the support for the work sights is excellent.
The organization skills of the Mission Guatemala team made the trip easy, the work made the trip rewarding, and the people I met will make me come back.
I had the most amazing time working with the Mission Guatemala team. They have perfected their work. They truly are helping give the community's they work with a hand up instead of a hand out. While working with them I was able to work side by side with their construction crew and build amazing relationships. They also allow you to see the local culture and to better understand it. The perfect mix of hard work and fun times :) I would absolutely recommend this nonprofit to anybody, whether your looking to volunteer and join the team or just spend a crazy week helping others in need :D
Our trip was extremely well organized. A nice balance of hard work and play. I respect how Mission Guatemala used local businesses, people to help the community. Our translators were excellent and fun to work with. The accommodations were comfortable and food excellent. There is so much love and dedication to this organization and wonderful to see directly how this benefits others. I've told everyone about the good work and hope to be back for the next trip our church organizes.
What a fantastic week we just had at Mission Guatemala. I left a piece of my heart at the River House in Pana and also in San Andreas at the worksite. This was our (Argyle, Texas United Methodist Church) first experience with this mission organization and they did not disappoint. We were able to contribute physical labor hours to the project and they contributed fantastic insights into the local people and into the Mayan culture. I would STRONGLY recommend anyone that is looking for a mission opportunity to work with Mission Guatemala!
Mission Guatemala is a very well organized organization. I was very impressed on their ability to find the needs in the community and help to meet and exceed those needs. I look forward to returning in the future to help continue their great work.
Wonderful organization! Not my first international mission trip but by far the best construction trip I've ever done. The team at Mission Guatemala was well organized, flexible, and passionate about bringing long lasting help to their community. Our team of eleven had a profound experience and would reccomend this trip to any group looking to serve in Guatemala.
My experience with Mission Guatemala was top-notch. My team was a group of nutrition students and two of our professors. During our 9 days in the country we got to work closely with Mission Guatemala's social workers to tour the feeding programs they sponsor and teach cooking classes to junior high school students. Our experience was perfectly tailored to us so we could use our specific skills to best serve the community. In getting to work alongside the Mission Guatemala employees, I believe we were able to truly do some good in the community. All of our days were planned very well to best utilize our time. We were never without translators to help us communicate. The team at Mission Guatemala takes good care of the incoming missionaries.
I returned to Mission Guatemala after an amazing experience last year. I come with a university, but also brought community members so they could have this experience. I so appreciate the kindness and care Mission Guatemala gives to meeting all your basic needs-beautiful lodging, delicious meals, clean comfortable vans. Having all these needs met let us focus on the service work we came to do. The employees were also attentive and caring-checking in with the groups frequently to see if all needs were being met. I highly recommend this organization to anyone considering service work in Guatemala.
Mission guatemala was such an amazing place! Beautiful, spacious rooms, incredible meals and a super helpful staff created the perfect setting for us to serve from. Every detail was handled, so we could just focus on the work we came to do. The relationships they have formed and fostered with the community added so much to the experience. I was initially nervous about traveling to Guatemala, and this ended up being a life changing experience. I can't wait to go back-thanks Dave, Tom and Diego!!!!