When thirty people commit themselves to making a difference, a lot can happen in the span of a week. Just ask the team from Timberline Windsor that recently returned from Guatemala. By dividing their time between multiple projects, they were able to impact the lives of orphans, single mothers, an older couple raising their grandsons, and countless others. In addition to the team from Windsor, there were also groups from Michigan and Kentucky with their own projects in the same area. The three teams were blessed to spend time together in worship, surrounded by others who had traveled so far and invested so much in order to serve the Lord. They also attended a local church service and were encouraged by the message and the prayer time.
One main focus of the Windsor team was with Justin and Diane Herman, Timberline Ambassadors serving in Guatemala full time, at House of Hope where currently eight children, ages three weeks to eight years, are being lovingly cared for. In addition to precious time playing with the children after hearing their heartbreaking stories, the team painted a supply shed and another outbuilding, replaced dying plants, expanded the greenhouse, added raised garden beds, built a large chicken coop, and constructed a giant covered sandbox for the children to play in. Between the eggs and larger garden, the children will have a good food supply.
Smaller groups from the team were able to spend time daily with George and Vonda Sisneros, more Timberline Ambassadors, and participate in their work building relationships in the village of El Rosario. One highlight was seeing their daughter Cecilia healthy and with a sparkle in her eyes again. Each day started with a trip to the local market to purchase groceries and deliver them to families the Sisneros’ are ministering to as well as spend time praying for them.
Team members were excited to tour the future permanent location for the Vencedor Boys Academy and play soccer with the local children. During the school days, they were able to compare the normal public school classes with George’s Boys Academy classroom where the boys listen attentively and memorize Bible verses in both English and Spanish. Near the end of the week, the team was able to travel to Lake Atitlan where some of the single mothers George has partnered with get their yarn for the handwoven scarves, blankets, shirts, and table runners that support their families.
Two members of the team joined a nurse and doctor from Michigan to see people in the villages that the Hermans work in. Of the thirty patients treated the first day, most had GI infections and skin rashes due to the general lack of hygiene in the area. Medically, they were able to help those who were sick and over the next several days saw dozens more patients in the same village where other construction work took place.
The final group split their time between building stoves and a house, when not otherwise engaging the local village children in a game of soccer or doing VBS activities with them. A few team members started out by building a stove for a family that had been cooking over an open fire and went on to build five more. In addition to cleaning up the air a family breathes, a stove uses 30% of the normal fuel requirement, allowing the family more time for other tasks like farming or paid jobs instead of gathering wood.
The remainder of the team began to build a house for an older couple who seemed to be raising their three grandsons in a shelter consisting of a single sheet of tin and plastic tarp walls. The grateful patriarch watched the entire process with a growing smile and took great care to keep the area clean. On their last day, the local pastor led a house dedication service before the family could move in.
As one team member said, “This has been such an amazing week. We came down with so many plans and goals, but we have received way more than we have given. The people of Guatemala have such a love for God. No matter what you do for them, they recognize that it is God that is providing to them and we are simply a vessel to provide it. It was my absolute pleasure to be able to come to Guatemala and represent Timberline Church. Thank you so much for having the faith in our team to allow us to do this.”