We worked with Mission Guatemala serving the mission in the community of San Andres. During our time there, we helped to build a playground for the preschool/feeding program, worked on furniture for a displaced Mayan community, began digging a foundation for a food distribution center, and took and printed photos for families. Mission Guatemala was great about offering a variety of projects to keep our team active and interested.
Additionally, Tom Heaton, the director of Mission Guatemala, has worked with local lodging facilities to provide some of the best lodging we've had on any of our volunteer mission trips. It was a great place in a location that allowed us to walk out the front door into the heart of Guatemalan culture.
Bringing 20 people on our team, we were the largest group that Mission Guatemala had hosted to date. They did a great job at handling such a large number. Honestly, I've seen few who handled large groups nearly as well. Of particular note was the fact that Tom and Dave (another leader in Mission Guatemala) made it a point to join us for meals and interact with the team on a regular basis. All told, this was one of our favorite trips.
The ladies (on our small team of six) painted a mural on the side of the preschool building and then went on to paint the walls of the future dental clinic. The guys, under Dave's expert supervision and guidance, built monkey bars and an eagle's nest which were the first equipment on the playground. The kids were so fun to watch as they explored and discovered just how they could climb all over everything! (Although it did cause some small problem for one or two of the moms who came to retrieve their little ones - the kids wanted to stay and play!)
Tom and Dave took such care of us, providing cooks, a driver and a wonderful place to stay that we felt very pampered. Having said that, it was my husband's and my first mission trip.
We were so very touched by the people, their dignity and depth of poverty that we will be forever changed. As Christ's hands and feet in this world, we are moved to continue to do all the good we can for all the people we can.
Work was rewarding as our team completed or started various components of three different mission-specific programs that ranged from basic feeding programs for children to medical and dental clinic operations. Our team also worked to finish primitave furniture for a tent community adjacent to the community where the mission site is located.
I found our Mission trip to be a wonderful experience. I was impressed with how well Tom and Dave treated us and organized our time. I personally was inspired by the chance to contribute my talents to help those families in Guatemala that need help. I was touched deeply by everyone involved in our trip. To see the hope and determination in the people who have such a hard struggle for even the most basic needs was truly humbling. I thank God for the chance to give back and to honor him with our work. Look forward to the chance to do it again.
What an amazing experience my husband Victor and I had this past week in Guatamala. Meeting Tom and Dave- who by the way are two of the most terrific people I have ever met- was an honor. They are so humble but are doing so much for so many. They really went above and beyond as our hosts. Our work painting and building furniture was fun- we came to know everyone so well and all worked in harmony. What a joy!
As someone who struggled a bit with the decision to go-- would I be able to be of help?, would it be awkward?, would my family survive without me?, I can tell you from the bottom of my heart I have no regrets. It was one of the best most spiritually rewarding experiences of my life. I am forever changed. God Bless Tom and Dave and all of the people of Guatamala!