Guatemala Blog - DAY 4, 2019

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Que onda mis amigos!

Today is Wednesday March 20th and it was probably one on the best, yet longest days of the week! The day started off with an early breakfast full of fruit and delicious cereal at 6am because we had a long two-hour drive to Buena Vista, which translates to “Good View”.

The road to Buena Vista includes scenic routes of four main volcanoes (two of which are active) and concludes with a nice drive through a sugarcane field. Buena Vista is nothing like you’ve seen before… it is truly a scene from National Geographic Magazine. This lovely little village is located in the Pacific Coastal Plain, which resembles the nostalgic humid heat of Florida.

After unpacking the van, we were able to use “el bano” and get a move on! Our time in Buena Vista started with a field trip to the local school. Again, this was nothing like we have seen before.

Classrooms were intermingled with each other, children were running around eating fruit and popsicles, and the teachers were congregating in the center of the “organized chaos.”

It was a low for most of us today to experience these alarming conditions for an educational institute, but as Toni put it in our debrief over dinner, “at the end of the day, the Guatemalan children are still kids, and they all just want to play, be with their friends, and learn about Jesus.”

After the school adventure, we embarked on some different house visits. I had the opportunity to go see my sponsored student, Exequis Salvatierra. When we first arrived he sadly was not there because he had to be up at 3am to go work in the sugarcane fields with his father.

I did, thankfully, get a chance to talk with his mother and she was kind enough to tell me about how much of a hard worker he is and that even though he has to get up so early to go to work every day, he still maintains good grades and attends church every day.

I later had the chance to get to talk to Exequis in person and during our thirty minute conversation I learned about his work, his studies, and his loving family. There in no doubt in my mind when I say that he is a humble, hard working, and motivated young man that is not only achieving his goals, but also providing for his family and being an amazing role model to his younger siblings and the other young people in Guatemala.

After my seemingly short talk with my sponsor student we took pictures, hugged it out, and then we unfortunately parted ways again, not to see each other for a while, but God willing I hope we will be able to come back next year so I can see how much we both have grown, not only in our studies, but in our faith walk and our love for Jesus.

There were two other house visit groups that went out which included Stacey visiting her sponsor child’s family, and another that met with a woman who has a very sick mother-in-law.

These home visits, which took place in vicinities that we wouldn’t consider a home upon first glance, were incredible per usual. The average homes in Buena Vista are held together by corrugated metal and old wooden posts so it an eye opening experience, no matter how many times we walk through those doors.

When the home visits concluded, we were able to take another field trip to the river and to see rubber trees where Exequis also works. He single-handedly tends to 300 of the trees a day! Our pal John-Michael even walked away with a “homemade rubber bouncy ball.” Ask him about it; he’d love to talk to you! We finished the day with successful faith lessons for both the kids and the teens!

Combined, we saw about 150 children today! Incredible! We are officially all back safe and showered after quite a warm and dusty day. Thank you to our friends and family back home for all of the prayers and support. We will continue to shine the pure light of Jesus here in Guatemala for the next two day so stay tuned for more blogs to come!

Buenas Noches!

— Joe Griffin 

Guatemala Blog: DAY 3, 2019

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Hola mi jente!

Hope all is well back in Florida! Today is Tuesday, March 19, 2019 and I am physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted! But I cannot thank my Father enough for the way He is stretching us here in Guatemala!

Prior to coming on this trip my biggest prayer was for my girls, Karla and Elizabeth, to receive spiritual breakthroughs. I prayed for God to fill them with a hunger, a fervent passion and a thirst for Him. Hallelujah and all Glory be to God because today my prayer was answered! This afternoon we got the opportunity to visit our sponsored child and the girls both immediately fell in love with him. His name is Axel Eduardo, he is eight years old and in first grade. He lives in a little shack in a small village called, El Rincon. His family home had old mattresses for walls and a metal sheet for a rooftop. There were nine family members living in the home. Although their home was small the family was so grateful for it and praised God for the little things they had.

While getting to know Axel Eduardo we found out that he enjoys school and one day hopes to become a police officer. We asked him if he had any prayer request and he told us that his prayer request is for God to keep us safe and protected. He walked up to the girls and gave them a big warm hug. At that very moment is when my girls finally witnessed and felt the real love Jesus has for them. They realized how powerful God’s love is and how much He desires them.

Axel Eduardo didn’t ask for a new toy, or food and water for his family. He asked for protection over my girls. This is when Elizabeth and Karla broke down in tears and realized that God is Faithful and Gracious. They couldn’t believe how God took them from Sorrento, Florida to a small village in the high mountains of Guatemala to show them how much He loves them through a beautiful little boy.

For me this moment was so special. God is amazing and supersedes absolutely everything. For the next couple of days I just want to totally drown in His love and His presence. I praise God for stretching us, loving us, reviving us and showing us real love through the Guatemalan people!

Please continue to pray that God would continue to open the hearts of everyone on this team.

~ Yansi Verdel

Praise report!

On this trip we have had 5 people decide to sponsor kids through Groundwork Guatemala’s sponsorship program which makes for a grand total of 16 sponsored people including last years trip! (Side note: School is “free” in Guatemala but it is a requirement to buy a school uniform and school supplies in order to enroll in classes. Although this may sound like a simple expense in the States, here in Guatemala it is a significant burden that leaves multiple families with the tough decision of paying for a uniform, which in return would leave the family with no money for food, water, etc…. OR have the child drop out of school so that they can start “working” and help to put food on the table. These are the choices that the Guatemala people face every day in this country.)


An incredible thing that Groundwork does is assist multiply families that are faced with this expense so that children can receive an education and parents do not have to choose between food, or a bright future for their kids. One hundred percent of the sponsorship proceeds go directly to the Guatemalan children so that they can receive an education! PRAISE GOD!!!

Thank you for your continued prayers!

 ~ Blake 

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