Dispatches from Guatemala
It was a wonderful final day. Classes concluded in the morning and the medical team did physicals here at the school. The concluding assembly was a tearful event with the many goodbyes from the children. We were presented with gifts and all the children got some clothes to take home and a goody bag of games.
This evening we had a final worship service with communion. Many pictures were taken and e-mail addresses were exchanged.
Tomorrow we will clean up our cabin and start the long trip home. It has been a blessing to be here, and we are also very blessed to return home to our families, friends, and many supporters. God's presence has been felt all week and we are anxious to share the many stories.
Today was a warmer day, and everyone enjoyed soaking in some sun in between assignments. The word emphasized at the opening assembly was "diligence."
The medical team had its last mission for this week in the rural villages. Libby performed magic tricks to entertain the kids, and Kerrie taught the kids "Jesus Loves Me" in English. Several sets of twins were seen today. Tomorrow the medical team will stay here and do physicals on the school children.
The sewing class completed their bunnies, and the woman are almost done with their purple curtains. At least 15 homes in the dump area will now have purple curtains. One husband sewed the curtains while mom sewed clothes for the kids.
The new medical room is coming together. The man in charge from New York, Bruce, teaches woodworking. The plumbing line continues to be dug and pipe is now laid to the medical building and new building.
Last night Lynn treated us with pineapple upside cake. Tonight she has made cupcakes. After worship, we will view a video on the history of Guatemala. The chocolate fairy did return as well. Everyone had a kiss on their pillow and several extra kisses were found throughout the cabin. Thank you, TR, for negotiating this with the chocolate fairy. (This was undoubtedly TR's greatest, if maybe the only, accomplishment of the week so far.)
The English class and PE class continued their regular classes. The PE team also sorted clothes so each child would get a new outfit at the closing assembly.
The week has gone fast. Love to all our family, friends, and supporters.
We back late today! We ended the day with an Ash Wednesday service and a video about the founder of the school. We will send a longer e-mail tomorrow and hopefully some pictures. We are scheduled to get Internet service here at the school tomorrow. All are healthy and happy.
Love to all our family, friends, and supporters.
From the field - Tuesday's report
Today was another fabulous day. It rained a little last night, and we were surprised that it sprinkled briefly in the morning.
PE taught the kids a signed song in English --Jesus Loves Me. They did sack races and the kids laughed and had a blast. The group is getting very attached to these kids and it will be hard to say goodbye.
The carpenters are getting cabinets up in the new medical room and the plumbers are moving right along with the water line.
The computer instructors had longer classes today and were amazed at how fast the kids catch on. They knew how to do something that Carolyn didn't know how to do. Jim, another computer geek, is getting Internet access and Web cam for Kari.
The sewing class had 15 women come this afternoon to make curtains. They are all using the large purple spools of fabric we brought. They are so proud to have these.
The medical team joined with World Vision today and saw 125 infants and toddlers in a Mayan village.
The chocolate fairy left chocolates on everyone's pillow yesterday and this evening we received wonderful notes of encouragement from folks back home. Our ONLY disappointment on this mission trip so far is that the chocolate fairy did not return today. TR is taking this problem up with the chocolate fairy. The evening worship singing report -- still off-key, but joyfully off key.
Today we met the kids! Participated in the opening on responsibility and then shared breakfast together. Then the teams went their separate ways.
The medical team travelled to a school 40 minutes away. The road was so steep most of the crew had to walk in order for the van to make it up the hill. They saw 200 hundred patients. They gave out vitamins and antibiotics.
The PE crew had the kids draw out the shape of their hands and label with their names. They were then to write the name of their favorite class, animal, color, food, and what they wanted to be when they grew up. We had kids who wanted to be pastors, doctors, teachers, vets, and construction workers. Played lots of games outside and the PE instructors are limping around tonight.
Lynn in the kitchen had a ball and is learing all kinds of new recipes. We are all grateful for the chow. Some of us have made good friends with the kitchen crew and now know where the stash is.
Sewing class began their bunnies. Several of the team can now add seamstress to their resume. Woman came later in the afternoon and sewed curtains.
In English class we learned the alphabet. colors, and "what is your name." We did numbers, and " how old are you?" With the older ones we did the months of the year. The homework assignment for three classes was to find out how old is Pastor Linda Healy and Mr. Robert? They guessed Linda to be 85. Seems they were only off a couple of years.
Today was the grand opening of the new computer lab. Carolyn made a HUGE screen. It is a challenge for them because they have no interpreter.
Others did carperty making cabinets for the new medical room and some worked on plumbing.
The day ended once again with worship talking about team. Unfortunately we were back off-key tonight.
All are well and very happy and a good tired. Love to our family, friends, and supporters.
This came from the field late last night:
We left at 7 a.m. for worship at 8:15 in Guatemala city -- 15 miles away. The service was contemporary with the youth praise band and a Skype guest missionary from Spain.
Walked through the poorest area of Guatemala which is known as the dump. The residence are squatters and we were able to see the inside of one home which was about 200-square feet with people currently living there. They make their living salvaging the trash and selling it. The kids enjoyed the candy we gave them.
Next we went to the city of Antiqua to shop at the market. Laura beat us all at shopping. Laura's friends on her gift list should be grateful. Everyone helped the economy of Antiqua and enjoyed being out with the locals.
The bus ride home was an adventure. The one hour ride became two hours when we had to back down a hill because of a road closure and also hit carnival traffic in San Pedro. All have arrived and we are settling in for some rest.
Tomorrow the students arrive and the medical team will go out and have a clinic in San Pedro.
Hello to all our family, friends, and supporters.
Today we unpacked and organized the supplies we brought. Medical team is partnering with World Vision for our three day outdoor clinic to see three hundred children under the age of five. Computer lab got set up. Sewing teachers figured out how to make bunnies out of socks as a class project with the students. PE teachers set up for outdoor sports.
Tomorrow we will attend church, tour the dump, and shop in Antiqua. Classes begin on Monday with students and medical team goes out.
Our singing improved tonight and we shared devotions and a homemade cake.
Everyone is spiritually and physically healthy.
"We are here. Tired but safe and happy. First group to ride in new bus. Took tour of school, had supper, sang off key. Please let everyone know we are here." -- The Guatemala Mission Group
PS: If you would like to pray for the group by name, here is the list so that each can be prayed for.
We are: Michael Dean, Milly Rivera, Linda Warehime, Bill Koontz, Lynn Wilson, Terri Rae Chattin, Adriana Roa, Joanne DeSalvio, Erika Desalvio, Linda Healy, Erma Dyson, Suzy English, Brenda Martin, Libi Driggers, Rudi Williams, Kerrie Brown, Carolyn Koontz, Karen Erskine-Valentine, Natalie Duggan, Henry Walter, Bob Platz, Ashley Francis, Laura Schlote, Jessica Brown, and Gloria Kripowicz.
A Prologue: Mission Trip to Guatemala with Pastor Milly Rivera
The Hispanic/Latino Initiative of the Western District is sponsoring a Mission Trip to the Mi Refugio School in Guatemala from Feb 20-29 29 with the Rev. Milly Rivera. Several Pastors from the Western Region are going on this trip, along with lay leaders from various churches and our district superintendent, the Rev. T.R. Chattin. Please keep this group and the mission school in your prayers.
Mi Refugio is a non-denominational Christian elementary school located on 13 acres of a former resort in the town of San Pedro, outside of Guatemala City. The school has been educating and ministering to desperately poor children that live next to the garbage dump for over 20 years.
Mission activities include construction at the school, teaching in the on-site sewing room or bakery; and work in the dental clinic, and medical/educational ministries.
Leading the tour will be Michael Dean, of Trinity UMC in Frederick a veteran of three trips to Mi Refugio. Michael can be contacted for further details at email@example.com . He is available to give a presentation to your church or missions committee.