Guatemala Mission, March, 2005

St. Luke's is conducting a mission trip to Guatemala, from March 3 to March 13, 2005, in Lemoa in the department of Quich near the highland center of Chichicastenango. 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 in a construction project, and will also be spending time each day with children in a Bible school program. Look here for the itinerary. See for more details about Lemoa.

(Click on any image to show a larger picture)

Our missionaries are (back row) John Williams, Gene Branch, Dawn Branch, Bob Davis, Rev. Janet Forbes, Suzanne Humphreys, Cathy Dunwody, Kris Eckberg, Jennifer Jensen, Betsy Keyack, Mark Ely,
(front row) Jan Stull, Laurie Gilbert, Sharon Williams, Ken Fong, Kathy Balu, Bev Sutmann, Terise Harrington, Andrea Mezger, and (not pictured) Dale Balu.

3/4/2005: The missionary team arrived around midnight local time in guatemala city, with only a few minor travel inconveniences

3/5/2005: Today, the missionary team traveled in vans to Chichicastenango, where our hotel for the next week is located. We spent about at hour in the nearby village of Lemoa visiting with the children at the Hogar del Nino orphanage, plus we visited the site where we will be doing construction work and running the bible camp.

3/6/2005: The missionaries spent the morning shopping at the market in Chichicastenango. In the afternoon, they spent a couple of hours playing in a field with the children from the orphanage. Then they attended church services at the local Methodist church.

Reverend Janet Forbes learning how to count in Spanish Local children Bev Suttman showing the local children their digital photos
Devotions Flying kites and playing badminton with the orphanage children Laurie Gilbert playing badminton with Adres from the orphanage
Cathy Dunwody with one of the children at church services

3/7/2005: The construction work at the Methodist retreat center in nearby Lemoa began today.  The day was spent on stuccoing, building a cooktop to make tortillas, putting tile up in the kitchen, and picking up trash around the grounds.

Putting stucco on the walls of the fellowship hall. Gene and Dawn Branch laying bricks for the tortilla cook top

3/8/2005: Today, we continued our construction projects from yesterday.  In addition, we began painting projects in the fellowship hall of the retreat center and at the orphanage.  At the end of the day, we also visited a school in the nearby town of el quiche', where some of the local children attend.

Terise Harrington and Bev Sutton painting the fellowship hall Visiting the school in the former site of the orphanage

3/9/2005: We continued all of our work projects this morning.  In the afternoon, we began our Bible Camp for the local children.  Everything went well; we estimated that about 200 children attended.  We sang songs in Spanish, played field games, applied tattoos, did crafts, read bible stories, and blew bubbles.

Jan Stull and Dawn Branch painting the orphanage kitchen Bob Davis applying a tattoo
Dale and Kathy Balu reading bible stories in Spanish Betsy Keyack closing the first day of the Bible Camp


3/10/2005: The mission team continued the construction projects in the morning, again.  We painted, tiled, applied stucco, chiseled away excess concrete, and prepared for pouring a concrete patio tomorrow.  In the afternoon, we conducted the second day of the Bible Camp.  There were about 200 kids at the beginning of the camp today, and as many as twice that by the end of the day.  We told bible stories with puppets, did face painting and crafts, played kick ball, and had gunny sack races.

John Williams and Kris Eckberg grouting tile in the fellowship hall kitchen Laurie Gilbert helping with gunny sack races
Betsy Keyack with "Rojo the bird" at the beginning of the Bible Camp

Andrea Mezger doing face painting


3/11/2005: Today was our final day at the work / Bible Camp site.  The main construction project of the day was mixing cement, passing it along a bucket brigade, and pouring a concrete slab patio adjacent to the fellowship hall.  This was finished by the end of the day.  We also finished the tile project in the kitchen.
We had approximately 300 children at today's Bible Camp.  The activities included handing out T-Shirts for the kids to decorate, teaching the kids to brush their teeth, and playing various games outside.  We ended the Camp with a water balloon toss and handing out tooth brushes and tooth paste.
Finally, we visited the orphanage one last time to say good-bye to the children.
Tomorrow, we head to Antigua for some sightseeing; Sunday, we fly back to Denver.  The mission trip has  been a rewarding experience for all of us.

Jan Stull and Suzanne Humphrey help with the concrete bucket brigade Sharon Williams teaching children how to brush their teeth
Jennifer Jensen handing out T-Shirts for the kids to decorate