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Guatemala Mission Trip Day 6

For our final day in Guatemala, HopeChest emerged us into the Guatemalan culture to learn about the historical background and beautiful aspects of the country. 

Our day began by departing Tecpan and heading to Antigua. Antigua is a small city surrounded by volcanoes in southern Guatemala, renowned for its Spanish colonial buildings. Many of the buildings have been restored, but some have been left in ruins following a 1773 earthquake that ended Antigua’s 200-year reign as Guatemala’s colonial capital. 

Our first historical piece of architecture that we visited was “The Hill of the Cross,” or “Cerro de la Cruz.” It’s a large concrete cross that was built in the 1930s mounted on a hill overlooking the city, with a view of “Volcan Agua,” or the “Water Volcano.” Each of the 37 volcanoes in Guatemala has a specific name and a specific purpose for the country’s agriculture. 

One of the uses is for harvesting coffee, utilizing the rich volcanic soil. 

Our second stop was at the historic Antigua coffee plantation. We learned the ways that God has used these erupting mountains to create a moist, special soil to create a unique blend of coffee. 

While there are many struggles in Guatemala, it is impressive to see the ways that God has provided a mean of finance through many coffee plantations and opportunity for agriculture. Our guide was filled with passion and gratefulness for the soil and coffee plants the plantation has been able to grow and produce over the years. 

But the perhaps main reason we headed to Antigua was to experience the city’s historic shops and meals that were offered around the ruins that still stand. We had the opportunity to emerge ourselves with the members of the community and learn more about God’s children here. 

It was a great end to our trip as we had the opportunity to explore more of God’s creation. Another day and experience that put our lives in perspective. 

As we head home tomorrow from this wonderful week, we have reflected on all that God has done to open our eyes and work in our hearts. This was a trip that happened to work out because of the Lord’s will in a very last minute manner. We are extremely grateful that the timing, resources, and partnership with HopeChest came together and worked out accordingly to God’s will for us to visit this beautiful country. 

These children will forever be printed on our hearts and we are so excited that our churches will have the opportunity to partner with these care points for the next five years. We feel so blessed that God has called our churches to be the footprint in these communities. 

We ask for continuous prayer for these people once we return. But before we go, we would like to share some of our thoughts from this week.

Highlights of our trip:

  • “I’m thankful that God provided me the opportunity to share Jesus with the children of Ambi.” - Bill Muehlman 
  • “My highlight was seeing the relief and thankfulness from the directors of AMBI in knowing that our churches have partnered with them. Hearing their hearts for the children and vision to change the community around them was truly inspiring.“ - Brandon Boos
  • “I’m thankful for the opportunity to show the love of Christ through relationships with the kids. Their joy in our presence was a gift from God to me. I’m thankful that God provided me the opportunity to share Jesus with the children of Ambi.” - Jason Reitz 
  • “The home visits were incredible. The families were so grateful and humble. Their love for Jesus was overwhelmingly evident! They were generous and showed such happiness that we came to their homes!” - Stacy Diekmann
  • “My highlight was being able to see life from a different perspective. I believe that we often don’t have any perspective of our own trials and hardships because we are so wrapped up in ourselves. Being able to pour into others, learn about others’ lives, and encourage the leaders to persevere through their extreme circumstances was life-changing. I’m grateful and humbled that God would provide me with the opportunity to serve him in this way!” - Shelby Boos
  • “This week will forever change my life, my perspective on life, and my faith in the Lord. Visiting the homes of the families in Tecpan will forever be an image in my mind. Seeing families with so little, be so grateful and gracious towards us and God is something that I could never have imagined. It has made me grateful for so many things that I’ve taken for granted. I am so humbled by every child and adult I’ve met, and I am encouraged by the strong women and leaders who have been called to sacrifice their lives to carry out the Lord’s mission in these communities. Before I came on this trip I thought I would be serving to help others, but it turned out that God’s plan for me was to learn and be humbled as these children of God poured into my heart. I will forever be thankful for the lessons I’ve learned.” - Hanna Yates 
  • “It’s impossible for me to pick one highlight. But some of my most memorable moments happened when I played with the kids. We broke through the language barriers and just had fun, especially jumping rope!” -Julie Sostak

Thank you so much to all who have prayed for us this week. Your prayers and support have poured out into the children and families in this community as God continues to work and change hearts.


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Guatemala Mission Trip Day 4

Today was our first day visiting and worshipping with the children of Tecpan, Guatemala. We quickly learned the geographical and cultural differences between Verbana, our previous location, and here. 

After driving more than 6,000 kilos up into the mountains, we are visually seeing the differences as we’re surrounded by volcanos, mountains, and endless fields for farming.

While the views are beautiful, it is evident that the fields are the most important part of this community, as it provides all financial means and job opportunities for all members living here. 

As opposed to the “city vibe” of Verbana, we are not immersed into a more native Guatemalan culture where Spanish is the secondary native language behind Cakchiquel. The landscape of homes has changed where the primary surfaces are concrete and dirt, with little surrounding walls and protection. We learned that males typically are pulled out of education after the ninth grade, and females do not often get to continue school after sixth grade. Working in the nearby fields and housekeeping are the primary focuses to survive and provide at an early age. It’s a cultural expectation.

We arrived at the school in the village to meet the children of the new Ambi location: a smaller group than what we had worked with in Verbana. There was no electricity, and the playground was an open dirt area, but there was still somehow a smile on every child’s face.

It’s been a common theme throughout our trip: While there may be cultural, financial and historical differences and theme remains the same: Our shared love for The Lord. 

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” - Hebrews 12:11.

This verse has truly become visible for us during our time here. We met our second Ambi leader at the location who has sacrificed her job, family, and opportunity elsewhere to commit her life to serve the Lord’s purpose for her. Her purpose is to carefully discipline and transform this community through love and discipline to the children within this Ambi location. 

While her two years of creating this new culture within the care point has been a difficult and long process, God has worked through her and the staff to produce a harvest of righteousness within the classroom. We were able to witness it today first hand. 

There is no use of “I,” but instead “God.” It’s his power and love that has reaped this harvest. While we have had the chance to play soccer, jump rope and paint nails with the beautiful children here, we are only servants who have no idea the magnitude of God’s plan for here. 

Prayer requests that we ask for during this time:

  • Continued health and energy for the team members and all Ambi staff who serve on a daily basis. 

  • The opening of hearts in the children in Tecpan as we continue to worship with them tomorrow.

  • Prayer that the children feel love, gratitude, and support that they may not receive at home.

  • Prayer for God to work through leaders here who can teach the children their worth in God’s eyes.

  • Prayer for God to provide food and resources for these children.

  • Prayer that the children can make an impact through their hearts for the Lord in their homes as they have the opportunity to share with their parents.

  • Prayer for our chance to communicate with families on our home visits tomorrow as we have the chance to share the gospel.

  • Prayer for the children to know that their worth lies outside of farming, housekeeping and cultural norms in the community.

  • Prayer for the children to know that God does not love them differently based on their gender.



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