Guatemala Mission Trip 2013

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Our Guatemala Swansong - for this year...

You know that MasterCard ad running for decades now?

The first one was a young dad seated in a major league baseball stadium saying:

2 tickets  $80

1 new mitt in case there’s a fly ball in the stands  $75

2 hot dogs and 2 cokes  $15

1 summer afternoon with 10 year old son:  priceless.

 Well, this is our version.

  • 16 mission Covenant participants to Guatemala
  • 5 dormant volcanoes in the distance
  • 2 local committees of women in the rural communities asking for stoves and recruiting their neighbors
  • 1 year for each family to sell enough eggs to save the $20 for their cost of each stove
  • 1 team bus (ours) holding steady in 32 switchbacks up and down a gravel road, on a mountainside
  • 31 bug bites, 12 scrapes and countless forehead bumps among us plus1 near encounter with a machete
  • 0 snakes
  • 2 skinny dogs at every Guatemalan home
  • 64 peanut butter and jelly lunch sandwiches we packed for our lunch during the work week
  • 1 Ash Wednesday evening imposition of Guatemalan stove soot on our foreheads
  • 7 Covenant team members taking turns sharing group devotions in our hotel
  • 15 Covenant participants discovering Nick Potter is a mechanical genius and a newly minted Eagle Scout
  • 4 ½ days of walking uphill with our backpacks and tools
  • 50 stove and water filter parts, carried to remote homes weeks before we arrived, all intact
  • 64 new stoves we built in adobe homes
  • 64 fewer trees needed per month because of the new stove efficiency
  • 64 prayers read aloud in Spanish around the new stoves, blessing the household
  • 320 children over the week, some following us from house to house
  • 2,000 gorgeous vistas of mountains and sky
  • 8,000 smiles given to us, and laughter, and any assistance we asked for
  • 18 pairs of hands held in a circle to sing “Go Now in Peace” in a busy restaurant on our last night
  • Continuous blessing of you, the church that sent us to be the hands of Jesus


God changing lives, including ours:  priceless

With awe and appreciation to the team-goers and the Covenant team-senders,

Pastor Victoria


Texts from Pastor Victoria while the team was in Guatemala

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013

Our work days are finished!  Tomorrow 7am but to Antigua. 

The team each gave me words to send to Covenant for the website.

Barb: amazing; beautiful grateful people

Chuck: outward bound; up and down.

Linda E.: happiness being here

Randy: warmth and love

Ron: humble enlightenment

Vickie: better than remembered

Kelly: touched amazed, unforgettable

Katie: joyful enlightenment

Victoria: Energy spent lovingly

Nick: peace, joy, adventure

Carolyn: blessed and humbled

Lori: surreal

Rian: unity and God’s faithfulness

Jim: interesting!

Linda W.: feeling blessed; humbleness

Beth: love, laughter, hope


Awareness of the profound miracles of existence. 

In Guatemala I (Kelly) became a godmother.


My soul is full,



Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013

8:35 pm and what we call the symphony of dogs (barking) has begun.

For us, an easier work day helped by experience.

Also a turkey walked over and sat on my (Victoria's) feet as I stood near the bus. 

A goat on a string supervised our outside stove work.

Singing as we work, Motown, etc.

Lots of laughter and amazement and hugs from the lady of each house.

But how can it be that all our homes are uphill?

Ash Wednesday and we used stove ashes on our foreheads.

Today the hotel lost electricity and water but restored by evening.


Monday night, February 11, 2013

Long day. 

Steep climbing day. 

Construction and praying day. 

Wonderful day.

Everyone intact and telling stories over dinner.

Our life together is not without quirks.

An Apostolic church is adjacent to our hotel.

Right now a soloist is singing “How Great Thou Art”

VERY loudly in Spanish.

I was also singing that to myself today.

But it’s 9pm and last night their service lasted until 11pm.

Got to respect their enthusiasm

but God help us with our 5am wake up.


Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013

Out in the country now.  They tell me the hotel is nicer than they expected.  The road sign says 4 stars, it must mean something else here.  All 16 of us did one demo stove, crowded into a kitchen – success!!  The owner-mother was so happy she sang for us and prayed thanksgiving to God.  The house had barbed wire for a clothesline, no pins required.  Tall as we are, yet no one was snagged.  More adventures tomorrow as we divide into 4 teams and start our house assignments.  Stars were dazzling in the night sky.


Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013

Got in early to Guatemala City.  All luggage here, too.  Off to a great start.  One night in airport hotel.  Open balcony and warm temp is a treat.  Enthusiasm all among us.  Tomorrow is 6 hr drive to highlands then also our first stove demo.  Then Monday, we’re in the villages! 


The Guatemala Mission Team will go to Guatemala February 9-17, 2013.

The following are on the team:

Pastor Victoria Millar, Chuck & Barb Albee, Ron Cramer, Randy & Linda Eisel, Vicki Kwasny, Katie Matteson, Kelly Miller, Nick Potter, Carolyn Scherer, Lori Scherer, Ryin Schoenwald, Jim Stills, Linda Webster, Beth Zimmerman

Guatemala Commissionoing

Generosity for Guatemala, 
Enormous Thank You From the Mission Team to Guatemala

We, the Covenant February-Guatemala-bound team, needed about $16,000 to buy stoves and related on-site materials.  The charity we serve, Helps International, in October drove the 6 hours to the highland villages, held an outdoor town hall meeting, and set up a demo stove, extolling its virtues.  Families signed up and committed to their share of the cost ($20) for an indoor stove, an outdoor stove and a water filter.   At that point, the Covenant team was committed to install stoves in 64 homes, our cost $230 each.  In the church gathering space, the mission team set up our (electric) stove demo, info sheets, photographs and laptop movie and prayed Covenant would “buy” stoves for the people in Guatemala.  The mission committee had already voted to give Guatemala $10,000 (the lion’s share of their 2013 $14,000 budget).  Thus, the team had $6,000 to raise out of the $16,000 stove cost.  Our team voted that every $1 donated beyond the $6,000 would be returned to the mission committee for its mainly local grant giving (as opposed to covering any of our personal Guatemala travel expenses).  Here’s what happened in our plans for 8 weeks of fundraising.  Week 1, good start, $4,693 in our fund, including our well-attended Guatemala lunch café proceeds.  Those must be the really interested givers, some had been asking to buy a stove for months!  Week 2, cumulative total $5,731.  Great, we’re on the right track.  Week 3, cumulative total $13,418!  Oh my Lord—we barely need anything from the mission committee!  Week 4, cumulative total $17,099!  Unplug the electric stove, hide the wooden envelope box, we have more than we need!*  How can we thank you?  We’ll bring you photos of the families and homes to whom you have given clean air, warmth and saved time from foraging for firewood since the stoves are highly efficient.  Bless you for Christ’s compassion and for helping them to share health on God’s good earth. 


In awe, The Guatemala Mission Team


*(with the permission of a few donors, the team is considering how the $1,000 excess raised could be spent on the families, e.g., books for a village school or solar flashlights for the homes without electricity).



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