I was part of a church mission group that worked on three different projects. One was installing stoves in homes in remote locations that had no means to get safe cooking facilities. I worked on a project to build cabinets and desks for an elementary school and the third profect was helping to build a house for a displaced family.
Mission Guatemala has established a medical clinic with a doctor and a dentist, a pharmacy and a pre-school for 90+ children. All are clean, well managed and provide despirately needed services. They have also built a feeding building at the school which feeds all the children a daily meal and provides help to the families as well
I was able to be a part of a team that assembled stoves (wood burning) in some of the neediest homes in the Panajachel area. I also assisted with other work such as working on the foundation of a local home as well as sanding & varnishing tables for a feeding center. Our team worked hard not only getting the stoves assembled but also took time to interact with the families we were helping. It was exciting to see the homes & really feel like what we were doing was going to make a difference in their day to day lives. All of our accommodations (lodging, meals, transportation) was completely taken care of and always timely. The "fun day" was also well planned out and fantastic!
I went on my first mission not knowing what to expect. I was one of thirteen people from Johns Creek United Methodist Church trying to help the people of Guatemala and make a difference. I think they helped me more than i helped them? I was installing stoves in the mountains. The stoves were vented out through the roof to help the quality of air in the house. Most of the children & some of the adults had running noses and coughs. I was shocked to see a foot or more of smoke in the ceilings of the houses. The people were so grateful for the stoves. ( helping them use less wood & the health benefits.) I enjoyed seeing the excitement in their faces. The experience was incredible and look foward to coming back. Tom Heaton & Dave Burns were great host & have the passion it takes to make Mission Guatemala work. The whole week went smoothly & our group was lucky enough to see the opening of the food center. It was a good experience seeing the children sing & dance. Then we were served the first lunch in the new center. God Bless, Allan Chandler
This was an amazing trip and the best trip I have ever taken. Tom inspires me and he takes great care of his mission teams. Very well organized, great meals, very safe and a chance to help others and create new friendships. We also had translators.
I came to Guatemala thinking I was going to help others and in tern this experience has helped me. We not only worked for the people but we worked with the people. The people from the regions we visited were friendly, willing to help and work along with us and we were able to make true accomplishments along the way. We showed God's love through doing not just telling. In the short time we were there, we were able to work on foundation of a home for a family who main provider was diagnosed with Arthritis and we were able to dig a 8 foot latreen with just shovels. We helped paint parts of the clinic, and childrens school, build benches and table, put up wood buring stoves, and interact with the community to show love and caring. We even had time in the evening to shop in the stores and eat different variety of foods. This in turn was helping their economy out and providing food on tables for the merchants selling. I am thankful and have been thanked by many in the community and surrounding communites. The children were so interested in learning from us they picked up carpentry skills just by us allowing to participate in te work with us; giving all of us a sense of accomplishments. Thanks to all that went with me and my daughter. We are excited to see the changes that have occured on our next trip back.
I spent a week in Guatemala with Mission Guatemala. Even though a week is such a short time I feel that our group was able to make a lasting impact on the futures of San Andres and Nueva Esperanza. Tom and Dave do an excellent job of working in and with the community to identify real needs that can be met by Mission Guatemala and the teams. They also involve the community in some of these projects empowering people to help each other.
I have done many years of volunteer and mission work and can honestly say this is one of the best experiences I have had. David and Tom are not simply there to give the people what they think they need but instead to listen to the voices of the community to find out what the community thinks they need. Their relationship with the community far exceeded my expectations and I felt the work we did was not just busy work but a critical part of a larger picture. Everyone on staff was helpful, kind and considerate both towards us and towards the people of Guatemala. I would recommend this mission to anyone.
My experience with Mission Guatemala was nothing short of glorious! As a volunteer I was able to bring my entire family so each of us was able to help the people of San Andres and Nueva Esperansa according to our individual talents, and experience special private moments to carry in our hearts for the rest of our lives.
The flexible schedule enabled us to "roll" with the weather, their needs etc. and still achieve our goals of painting the clinic, digging a foundation, and building furniture with the local people. It was this type of local interaction that was the "magic" of the trip. We worked hard and were rewarded with sincere heartfelt emotion and smiles of appreciation. We were sad when it came time to leave our new friends.
I have a fresh understanding of "do all the good you can" and will continue "as long as I can" because of Mission Guatemala.
Mission Guatemala is a fabulous ministry. In less than a year they have started a medical clinic, dental clinic, pre-school and feeding center that are really making an impact on the in and around San Andreas.
Tom and his team have a real passion for helping the people of the area and work tirelessly. They work to understand the needs of the community and look for ways solutions that engage the people being helped.
Twenty of us served from Lafayette, Indiana for one week. The first day was a little slow as we tried to match our skills and abilities with the work that needed to be done. During the week we built tables and benches for a feeding center, cleaned and painted buildings for a medical and dental clinic, leveled and prepared a home site for construction.
I was impressed with how Mission Guatemala works in partnership with the local people. The most rewarding part of the experience was the contact we had with local people. Because our last two work days were school holidays school children helped with the benches and tables for their feeding center. Now whenever they eat there they will be able to say, "I helped build these tables and benches."
Our group returned just over 24 hours ago and I could not wait to share what a wonderful mission this is. I am on fire about all of the service that Mission Guatemala is bringing to the communities of San Andres and Nueva Esperanza. I highly recommend this organization and encourage you to go and "do all the good you can". It makes a tremendous difference in the lives of people who really need help and are incredibly gracious and proud.
Everything we did there was wonderful. It was a great experience to do all the things we were able to do. Even though they said they didn't feel like they were not very organized I thought Tom did a great job in keeping us all informed on what was happening and what we were going to be doing for the day.
Tom and Dave do a great job at providing work for volunteers, even as Mission Guatemala is a new organization. Their work there is also providing for the needs of so many people in San Andres, and now, Nueva Esperanza, a town across the street from San Andres. I had the awesome opportunity to watch and help the feeding of the students in that town. Too cool! Every weekday, Mission Guatemala's food clinic provides lunch for 100 kids right after school. It was such a blessing to be a part of that!
The clinic is led by some guys that are truly working out of their genuine love for the people of San Andres, and it's definitely made me rethink what it means to "give." It's been an awesome learning experience and I hope to come back soon.
Mission Guatemala is doing fantastic work in the area of San Andreas. In addition to providing medical assistance, physical care, and nutrition, Mission Guatemala is uniting and embracing many United Methodist congregations in Indiana, USA, which are sending vital medical supplies and volunteers. More recently, Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg, IN packed over one ton of medical supplies for MG. Mission Guatemala is a great work of God that is providing hands-on help to those in need.
The success of this organization beyond this first year will depend entirely on which Mission Statement Tom decides to follow. Outsiders coming in to start projects that someone else is expected to complete usually enjoy the time they are in Country but nothing ever gets completed. It ends up being a trip for the sake of taking a trip. If however Tom focuses on facilitating medical trips and is able to connect usable physicians with patients in need, then I would expect the efforts of Mission Guatemala to bear fruit. - jim r.
Our church congregation in Nashville, Indiana has been amazed by the transformation Mission Guatemala has made in the last year under the leadership of Rev. Tom Heaton. What began as prayer for a small Mayan village in San Andres has developed into a site with a medical clinic served by a multi-lingual doctor and a facility for preschool. Strong support is allowing a dental clinic and a nearby Feeding Center to take shape. Rev. Heaton has a gift for skillfully matching needs with resources. Dave Burns has the energy and know-how to get projects done.
Mission Guatemala provides realistic opportunities for churches and individuals to make a difference in this poor area. In a few short months, donations have helped to hire local workers, and volunteer mission teams have been inspired to work on projects that will improve health, nutrition, education, and housing. Mission Guatemala reminds us that all of us are empowered to make a difference though our gestures of love.
Jeff and I had an incredible experience. The people of Guatemala are wonderful. We kept pinching ourselves "this is more like a vacation, than a mission trip!" Then it dawned on us.....We are the ones learning the lesson here!" The mission continues with us at home. "WE" are to spread the information! And we plan to do just that! Great time, great food, great leaders and great fellowship......who could ask for anything more?! First mission trip for us, will not be the last! Tom and Dave are on the "ball". They know what to do to get the most out of their volunteers! "Big Dave" and Tom are the best, between the both of them, you have your planner, your gatherer, your executer and all around good guys! A good time was had by all! I'll be back! Hasta la vesta.......Batman! The Boleys, Rhea Ellen and Jeff
I spent a week in Panajachel, Guatemala, working with Tom Heaton and the Mission Guatemala staff. I found the work to be both challenging and rewarding, and left with a true sense of accomplishment. After working for, and with, the local residents, I was truly impressed with their pride, work ethic, and open acceptance of the volunteers and their efforts. Tom and his staff have built an amazing relationship with the local population, based on trust and mutual respect, in a very short time and their progress has exceeded all expectations.
The local Mayan people were there working with us to improve their pre-school and Clinic. This was not a unique event. The same was happening with the building of a new school cafeteria at a different site up the road. There is huge potential for these people because of their desire to better themselves. There is no poverty of spirit, only a poverty of opportunity and basic living essentials. I look forward to watching the future progress of this Mission, still in it's infancy, and look forward to continuing to support it. My hope is that the many other missions currently in Guatemala will reach out to one another to synergize their efforts. My fear is that ego and self importance from well intentioned support groups may create unnecessary duplication, confusion, and ultimately cast a divisive atmosphere where so much good can be accomplished.
I had the opportunity to lead a team of 12 adults from my church to Guatemala to work with Mission Guatemala. My entire team was impressed with the work MIssion Guatemala is doing in the region of San Andres, Guatemala and the nearly immediate impact their work is making in lives around the area. Through Mission Guatemala's medical clinic, soon to be operational dental clinic, preschool, feeding program, and countless other services it became apparent to my team that the opportunities for Mission Guatemala to grow in meeting the needs of individuals in the area are endless.
As the leader of this team I greatly appreciated the way in which Mission Guatemala used not only our team fees to be in country but the ways in which it uses its donations of supplies and money to engage the local community and meet as many needs as possible.
I would highly recommend Mission Guatemala as an non-profit organization that is making a difference in the lives of the people of Guatemala. I would not hesitate to take another team there and am actually planning another trip this fall.