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.
The preparation materials for this mission were A+. We had all the pre-planning materials to make for such a successful trip!
We arrived in Antigua the first night and stayed at a hotel. We had that evening to explore the area. The hotel was nice and conveniently located to the square. The next day we were shuttled in reliable comfortable vans to Las Buenas Nuevas, the compound that we stayed at for the trip in Panajachel. There were 13 of us in 2 homes and we had plenty of room. The homes were very clean and comfortable. The location was wonderful...we looked out at Lake Aitlan with 2 active volcanoes on either side across the lake. The complex was gated and very safe. On the way to Panajachel we had the opportunity to stop at the Chichicastenango market. I enjoyed this time to explore and experience an open market in Guatemala.
I can't say enough good things about Mission Guatemala and the work they are doing in the community. Our hosts, Tom Heaton and Dave, re-enforced the fact that with any opportunity to interact with the children or people of the area, stop your work and just BE THERE! They are very down-to-earth and you feel like you know them from the beginning of the trip. They made this just the best mission experience! The food at the compound we were served was terrific!!! I had prepared myself for the type and amount of food that I might be served while I was in Guatemala, but I'd have to say it was worth 4 stars. Tom and Dave also took us to dinner one evening at a local restaurant with a marimba show.
On the last day we traveled to Guatemala City to a hostel. Four of us were in one small bedroom (it is a hostel so we were prepared), but the location was only 1 minute from the airport! The food was also very good. (The owner of the hostel was perhaps not the most organized, but he was personable and a great cook!)
Overall, I just couldn't have asked for a better trip!!! The people and children of Guatemala will always have a place in my heart. I learned so much from Mission Guatemala. Thank you!
I have nothing but good things to say about Mission Guatemala and the work that Tom Heaton and his team are doing there. I have done many US trips but this was my first international project. Even here in the states the accommidations can be bad, the job preparation and details can be poorly handled and you can leave a work site feeling like you didn't really get to show the face of Christ to anyone but your own team. At Mission Guatemala we had great accommidations and Tom had the details of travel etc. all worked out. We were free to do the work needed while interacting with the children in the schools and the people of the communities. I left knowing that our group would be remembered long after our week was over. We can't wait to go back and continue the work God is directing through this mission! Cindy
This is an amazing organization. Tom Heaton has a passion for helping the people of Guatemala and he puts his passion to work through projects that impact the people directly. While I was helping at the misison I sanded and varnished furniture that will go to the people now living in the tent city. I went to the tent city myself and saw the conditions and the need. I also wired metal supports for the feeding center in Nueva Esperanza. By the end of the week the supports were already up and surrounded by cement. Direct action and immediate results. I also went to a school in San Andres were the misison is donating $ for a school wide activity. The goodwill Tom is creating will have lasting affects.
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!