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St. Luke's April, 2016,construction mission trip to Guatemala is from April 15 to April 24. The work will be centered in Lemoa in the department of Quiché near the highland center of Chichicastenango. Our previous construction mission trips were in March, 2005, March, 2006, March, 2007, March, 2008, March, 2009, March, 2010, March, 2011, March, 2012, March, 2013, March, 2014 and March, 2015. Most of the population there is indigenous Mayan. Lemoa was especially hard-hit by massacres and destruction of villages during the years of "La Violencia", guerrilla rebellion and army repression which ended just recently in 1996. We will be working with local people to build 2 homes for needy families. We will also be spending time with children in Bible school programs and at the John Wesley School. Look here for the itinerary. See puravida.org for more details about Lemoa.
You may contact the missionary team while they are in Guatemala by sending email here.
Click on any image below to see a larger version.
April 16, 2016
The team arrived in Antigua, Guatemala, last night. We spent the morning driving to Chichicastenango, where we'll be staying for a week. In the afternoon, we visited the Maryknoll Sisters, Connie and Helen, to hear about the history of the area and the needs of the people in the Lemoa area. We also visited one of the homes that we built last year, since it was only a few minutes walk from where the Sisters live.
April 17, 2016
The team split up and did different activities this morning. Some went to visit the Mayan ruins at Q'um'arkaj (near Santa Cruz del Quiche). Others went shopping in the world-famous Sunday market in Chichicastenango. And a few visited the colorful cemetery overlooking Chichicastenango. In the afternoon, we attended worship services at the local Methodist Church.
April 18, 2016
Today was our first day of construction work. Half of the team worked on Francisca's house; the foundation had already been completed by an earlier Pura Vida mission team. The other half of the team worked on Maria's house. There, we had to start at the very beginning, laying the blocks for the foundation of this house. We've had good weather so far. Everyone is well, although actually doing physical labor in the sun may have worn down a few of the missioners.
Ken Fong spent the day shooting video for a Pura Vida scholarship "success story" for a fall fundraiser video.
April 19, 2016
We made a lot of good progress at both houses today. Those working at Maria's house (near the Caserio Rosario school, or "corn stalk" school) had a chance to play with the school kids during their break. While it's been dry so far, we had a very heavy rainstorm hit just as we were wrapping up the day's work.
Ken Fong and Betsy Keyack took photos of all the students at the Caserio Rosario school, in preparation for the Bible Camp on Thursday.
April 20, 2016
The team spend the morning visiting the John Wesley School in Santa Cruz del Quiche. We were very moved by the students and how far the school has come since its early days. Some of the missioners met with their sponsored students at the school.
We worked on the houses in the afternoon. Progress on Francisca's house was hampered by a large avocado tree blocking all traffic on the road between Santa Cruz and Lemoa.
April 21, 2016
We spent the morning conducting a Bible Camp at the Caserio Rosario school. It was one of the best organized camps we've ever run; having the teachers lead crafts for their students and having them maintain order for the field activities helped everything run smoothly. The students, teachers and missioners all enjoyed the camp.
We continued to make good progress on the two houses in the afternoon, although we had to break a little early because it started to rain. Quite a few missioners met with their sponsored students.
April 22, 2016
Today was our last work day. At Maria's house, we finished the foundation (yay!) and began laying the above-ground courses of blocks. At Francisca's house, we also made great progress; we ran out of cinder blocks at the end of the day.
We wrapped up our work by blessing the two homes. Sisters Connie and Helen joined the entire mission team, the local construction team, and Maria and her family and gave a blessing in front of the house. We then drove to Francisca's house. Just as we got there, the heavens opened up and most of us couldn't even get out of our vans. A few brave souls dashed through the torrential downpour and went into Francisca's old house; Reverend Ryan gave a blessing for her new home.
We finished our evening devotions tonight with communion.
Tomorrow we leave for some R&R in Antigua before returning home on Sunday. The local construction team will complete Francisca's house soon. The St. Luke's youth mission team will work on completing Maria's house when they come to Guatemala in the summer.