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St. Luke's March, 2017, construction mission trip to Guatemala is from March 18 to March 26. The work will be centered in Chontola 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, March, 2015 and April, 2016. Videos of many of these trips are available here. Most of the population there is indigenous Mayan. The area 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 with students that various team members sponsor. Look here for the itinerary. See puravida.org for more details about mission trips to Guatemala.
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.
March 18, 2017
The trip has started! There are 25 missioners. Here's what the luggage on the bus looks like in Denver and in Guattemala City
March 19, 2017
The morning started in Antigua with one of the volcanoes spewing ashes. We drove to Chichicastenango and spent much of the day shopping for souvenirs and food for the next few days. Normally, we attend the local Methodist church for Sunday service; today, however, they were having a funeral service so we stayed at the hotel.
March 20, 2017
Ken Fong, Betsy Keyack and Chris Unger visited the Caserio Rosario school to prepare for Wednesday's Bible Camp. They discovered that it can again be called the "cornstalk school": the school has grown so now they've split the third grade students into their own classroom made of cornstalks.
The missioners split into two construction teams. One worked on a new home near the church in Chontala for the Ordonez Perez family (photos below). The other team worked near Pastor Jeronimo's home in Chontala on a new home for the Mateo family. Both teams are putting in foundations (the hardest part of the job!).
Things generally went well. We had one reported injury: Betsy Keyack teased one of the parrots at the hotel and was badly bitten in response.
March 21, 2017
A lot of progress was made at both houses today. Both locations have lots of young children present, and the missioners are really enjoying building relationships with the families. Many of the children are also helping with the construction of their homes.
The photos below are from the Mateo family home. The working conditions there are poor; the new home is being built on the side of a hill, and there is very little room to work.
We also had a number of good visits with sponsored students today.
March 22, 2017
Today was "Lemoa Day." The morning was spent conducting a bible camp at the Caserio Rosario school, also known as the "cornstalk" school. Although almost nothing went exactly as planned, it was a real success. All the missioners and the students had a great time. Indoor activities included decorating the individual photo each student got, and outdoor activities included a bible story, singing, tattoos, jump roping, and soccer. The event ended with the students teaching our team an interactive song/dance.
Then we visited the Nutrition Center in Lemoa. 80% of the 0 to 5 year old children in Lemoa are malnourished. The Nutrition Center is making a dent in the problem, providing a morning snack and healthy lunch for about 20 children. There have already been noticeable improvements in their health.
After our lunch, we had more student visits, and some team members visited a local Mayan ruin. Finally, we visited Sisters Helen and Connie; they have been in Lemoa for 30 years, helping the community. They served "communion" (lemonade and chocolate chip cookies). They will visit St. Luke's on Palm Sunday.
March 23 and 24, 2017
We spent most of Thursday and Friday adding to the rows of cinder blocks at the two houses. We feel good about the progress made, and about the relations we've established with the two families. At the end of the day Friday, we blessed each home.
Tomorrow, we head to Antigua to visit the EcoFilter water filter manufacturing plant and to do some sightseeing. Then it's back to home on Sunday! It's been another wonderful mission trip.