Guatemala Mission, APRIL, 2016

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 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.



John Church, Ryan Canaday, Jim Youll and Andrew Campbell in front of the arch in Antigua


Randi Sooter, John Williams, Sister Connie, Sister Helen and Edee Worth


Our mission team visiting the Sisters



Visiting one of the two homes we built in 2015




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.



The group entering one of the two caves we visited at Q'um'arkaj


Lance Willoughby in front of the second cave


Jeff Seefeldt doing his best to resist buying something in the market



Alicia Nelson shopping for ceramics in the market


John Church volunteered to read the scripture during the worship service




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.



Beginning our work on Francisca's house


Alicia Nelson and Jim Youll adding a layer of cinder blocks


Lucas, Francisca's son, helping Betsy Keyack and Ralph Lidge sift sand



Ryan Canaday and John Church adding a layer of cinder blocks


Francisca helping build her house


Ralph Lidge and Ryan Canaday putting mortar between cinder blocks



Alicia Nelson and Edee Worth putting mortar between cinder blocks


Jeff Seefeldt working on the foundation of Maria's house


Dave Money working on the foundation of Maria's house


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.



Beginning the day with a devotion


Nancy Copher and Glenn Hertzler playing frisbee while waiting to drive to the work site


Students playing with our parrot puppets



Ryan Canaday shooting rockets with the school children


Jim Youll and John Church playing soccer with the school children


Betsy Keyack reading to the school children



Andy helping Jeff Seefeldt and Sharon Williams sift sand


John Williams mixing mortar


Ryan Canaday and Ken Fong putting mortar between cinder blocks



Ralph Lidge playing with the local children


Randi Sooter and Andrew Campbell putting mortar between cinder blocks


Glenn Hertzler and Alicia Nelson working with rebar


Ken Fong taking student photos






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.



Students performing for us at the John Wesley School


Students performing for us at the John Wesley School


Dave Money speaking to the School on behalf of the team



Ralph Lidge playing with some of the students


Betsy Keyack and Ken Fong visiting with their sponsored student, Hilari


Ralph Lidge and Edee Worth putting mortar between cinder blocks



Ryan Canaday backfilling dirt


John Williams and Glenn Hertzler working on rebar


Alicia Nelson and Andrew Campbell working on rebar


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.



Students performing for us at the Caserio Rosario School


Students performing for us


Dave Money and Ryan Canaday telling the story of Noah and the Ark



Field activities included rope jumping


Nancy Copher helping with crafts


Randi Sooter, Edee Worth and Sharon Williams applying tattoos



Bob LoPresti shooting rockets with the students


Playing with the parachute


Playing with the parachute



Ralph Lidge playing soccer with the students


Jim Youll playing soccer with the students


A completed photo in a picture frame



Edee Worth leading group songs


Jim Youll adding another row of cinder blocks at Francisca's house




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.



Nancy Copher, Bob LoPresti and Lance Willoughby working on rebar


Andrew Campbell, Randi Sooter and John Church mixing concrete


Dave Money and Lance Willoughby working on rebar



Nancy Copher and Andrew Campbell pouring concrete into a U block


Blessing Maria's home


Our incredible progress on Francisca's house



Blessing Francisca's house


Serving each other communion during our final devotion