Guatemala Mission, MARCH, 2019

St. Luke's March, 2019, construction mission trip to Guatemala is from March 23 to March 31. We will be working with local people to build 3 homes: for a widow in Chichicastenango; for a family in Xatinap; and for a widow in Lemoa. 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, April, 2016, March, 2017 and March, 2018. 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 spending time with children in a Bible school program and with students that various team members sponsor. Look here for the itinerary. See for more details about mission trips to Guatemala.

Click on any image below to see a larger version.

The mission team and our Guatemalan team members


March 24, 2019

We arrived in Chichicastnango, Guatemala, after traveling from Denver for a day and a half. We arrived in Guatemala City last night and spent the night in Antigua. Today we did a little shopping in the world-famous Chichicastenango market and attended a worship service in the local Methodist church. We notice a number of incremental improvements in Guatemala: our chicken bus is new, and the wifi at the hotel is much improved. Tomorrow we start our construction work on 3 houses!

Joining up with our newly remodeled chicken bus at the Guatemala City airport

Robin Peterson, Andrea Mezger and Rita Arthur at our rest stop

Lunch in Chichicastenango

Renae Parra speaking for our group at the Methodist Church service


March 25, 2019

Today was our first day of work. We split into three teams to work on building houses in Lemoa, Xatinap, and Chichicastenango. We also visited the Caserio Rosario school (the "cornstalk school") to prepare for Wednesday's bible camp.

1. The house in Xatinap

2. Ron Miller and Sandy Teel setting a concrete block in the Xatinap house

3. The Lemoa house

4. Glenn Hertzler and Lanch Willoughby setting a concrete block in the Lemoa house

5. Bill Barnard and Rowe Helman putting mortar between concrete blocks

6. Betsy Keyack reading a Spanish picture book to students at the Caserio Rosario school


March 26, 2019

Our second work day in Guatemala was very productive. Individual group members continued to meet with their sponsored students. And at the end of the day, we visited Mary Knoll Sisters Connie and Helen. (Helen will be 100 years old in January!) Sister Valentina was also there, and she gave the group an overview of the Lemoa Nutrition Center.

1. Orval Seaman mixes concrete at the Lemoa house

2. Lee Seaman and Ann Bennett trowel the concrete into the row of U blocks at the Lemoa house

3. Edee Worth reads to the children at the Xatinap house

4. John and Andrea Mezger building one of the forms for pouring concrete at the Xatinap house

5. Sister Valentina talking to the group about the Lemoa Nutrition Center


March 27, 2019

The weather has been nice until today. It rained in the morning and was dry but cold in the afternoon. We did our bible camp at the Caserio Rosario School in the morning and were surprised by the firecrackers-and-balloons greeting that the students and teachers gave us. They put on a program to welcome us, capped off by a dance by the teachers. Then we did crafts with the students in their classrooms; outdoors, we had to simplify our activities due to the rain and ended up dancing and playing with our parachute.

Then, after lunch, we continued work on the three houses.

Being greeted at the Caserio Rosario school

Ann Bennett telling a bible story

Sharon Williams helping a student with crafts

The students playing with our parachute

Teaching the students some new dances

Sister Valentina at the Nutrition Center

Jerry Hertzler laying a concrete block at the Chichicastenango house

Steve Winterfeld laying a concrete block at the Chichicastenango house

Sandy Teel laying mortar at the Chichicastenango house

Jennifer Winterfeld carrying a concrete block at the Chichicastenango house

Progress at the Chichicastenango house


March 28, 2019

The weather improved today, and it was perfect for work on the three houses. In addition, the meetings between the team members and their sponsored students continued. In the interactions with the Guatemalans we have worked with and met this week, we have had many meaningful experiences.

There have been a few health issues and accidents at the various sites (we had to use the first aid kits every day!), but no problems have been very serious. We are a happy and productive team.

In the evening, we joined with the other mission team staying at our hotel and held a joint communion service, led by Bill Barnard.

John and Andrea Mezger meeting with their new sponsored student

Rita Arthur and Renae Parra putting mortar between cinder blocks

Progress on the Lemoa house

John Mezger playing with one of the girls at the Lemoa house

Jennifer Winterfeld and Bill Barnard offering communion to Glenn Hertzler


March 29, 2019

Today was our final work day in Guatemala. In the morning, we split into three groups. One went to the home of Sisters Helen and Connie to help them with miscellaneous chores (including picking coffee beans from their trees). The other two teams went to the Lemoa and Xatinap houses to add more layers of cinder blocks. We have already made as much progress as we can on the Chichicastenango house; the rest of the work is too high for volunteers -- our local Guatemalan builders will put the roof on that house and finish it after we are gone.

In the afternoon, we visited some completed homes (so that we can see what we're trying to build). Then we visited all three homes and blessed them.

Tomorrow we'll spend a day sightseeing in Antigua before heading home to the US. It's been another great Guatemalan mission trip!

The team blessing the Xatinap house

The family who will move into the Xatinap house

Blessing the Lemoa house

The Lemoa house family

Blessing the Chichicastenango house

The Chichicastenango house family

Our progress on the Chichicastenango house