A group of Veritas Academy students is currently at Village of Hope in San Lucas, Guatemala, ministering to the children there and in the surrounding village. We're posting the team blog updates here so that our whole Veritas community can join in praying for them and see what God is doing in and through them during this trip.
Monday, June 4
Posted by senior Alexandra Furlong
We are on day two! It started with an amazing breakfast of eggs and fruit, and then a quiet time of journaling and reading scripture in the beautiful Guatemalan mountains.
The topic that we pondered was differentiating between joy and happiness. After our quiet time, we did role playing.
The role playing dealt with the many struggles that come for all involved in adoption or foster care processes. Some of us were the biological parents, some were the foster parents, and some were the kids. The role playing was emotionally really hard. We learned about the chaotic and traumatic process of how kids are taken out of their home, and often separated from their siblings. We saw how kids struggle with where their loyalty lies, either with their foster parents or their biological parents, and their struggle attaching with either. We learned about how hard it is for the biological parents to get their kids back even if they are trying to, and how hard it is for Foster parents to take care of kids that are in their care. There is a lack of resources and support for both parties.
After the role playing we had lunch, and then the hard work began. Some painted, others swept away the ash from the volcano, and others dug up and hauled around dirt and rocks. Ash laying on the trees rained on the people working outside, and the people painting were covered in white drops. We made a pretty messy bunch, so we cleaned up before we met with the kids for the first time.
We had a short Bible lesson with them, and then began making medals to be awarded on field day. Once the kids were done, we had some time to play with them.
We pushed some of the little ones on swings, and played soccer with some of the older ones. After we were thoroughly worn out from being demolished by the older kids in soccer, we ate dinner. Soon we will have our group devotion.
It has already been a life changing experience, and I look forward to the week ahead. We are seeing so much strength and joy here, even in the midst of poverty and suffering, and we are seeing people who are truly willing to leave everything and follow God. The Lord has been with us through everything, and will continue to be. Vamos!
Tuesday, June 5
Posted by 2018 graduate Laura Lielbriedis & sophomore Serena Hartzler
We all woke up this morning refreshed and ready to work again! A group of us continued to move rocks to form pathways and create a space for the kids to sit and chat under a large leafy tree, while others moved compost from the top of the property down to the garden. It was hard work under the hot sun, but it was rewarding to see the fruits of our efforts. By the end of the day, the space to sit under the tree was finished and all the compost was moved to the garden. Unfortunately, we had to stop the work partway through the afternoon due to an oncoming storm.
I was part of a group who helped Village of Hope staff deliver food as a part of their orphan prevention program in the morning. As we listened to the stories of these families and prayed with them, we could see a glimpse into the work God has been doing through village of hope. One family has a daughter living with a disability, and Village of Hope came around this family and built a new house for them. However, it was a sobering and humbling experience because we were able to see the conditions that most of the world lives in.
Please continue to pray for the health and safety of the team. Thankfully, none of us have been hit with illness, which is a blessing! Pray for the children and staff at Village of Hope that they may have strength and grow closer to God. Also pray for the families that some of us visited today; please pray for their health, as many of them are experiencing illness, and that God will continue to bless them through Village of Hope. And please pray for those who have been affected by the tragic volcanic eruption and those who continue to be affected. Please pray for the Guatemalan government as they deal with this tragedy. As the week wears on, many of us may begin to be tired and may feel like grumbling. Please pray that God will encourage us and bless our work.
Thank you for coming on this journey with us!
- Laura Lielbriedis
Today was one of the most incredible days I have ever experienced. At 9:30 a few of us headed out in a van with a packed lunch. Our plan was stop at the grocery store and buy food for four families in a village. We brought this food along with gift bags full of toys to these families. After the grocery store we went to a clinic where we picked up 2 more people to help us deliver the stuff.
The first family we visited was a family of nine children. All of the boys had a skin disease, the newest born had a double clef palette, and one had cancer in his nose. We got to pray over this family and they were so thankful for the provisions.
The second place we went was a smaller family. One of the little boys had a bone disease that made his bones break really easily. Their grandfather was sick as well. This family was overjoyed at us praying for them and were very grateful for the provisions.
The third family we visited had a little son that had urine issues. He had to get surgery and his parents were very nervous. Leaving their village was something they rarely did. This family was so appreciative of our prayers and provisions.
The last family we went to had pigs and dogs. They were making tortilla dough. They were very kind and the children were around our age. Fortunately it did not rain until we were about to leave.
All these families were very kind and hospitable despite the fact that they didn’t have very much. We were able to make new friends and grow in our friendships with each other. This experience was amazing and it will stick with me forever.
- Serena Hartzler