Why Guatemala?

A few real stories of real orphans.


Celeste has one eye that is damaged.  Her parents took her to a witch doctor who screwed up her eye.  Bad.


This is Paula.  Her Mom left to go to the hospital for some kind of eye surgery.  She has not bothered to return.  Paula is now an orphan.


Juanita suffers with blindness and MS.  However, her confinement to a wheel chair was courteousy of her Mother beating her.


Marvin was abandoned when he was less than 2 weeks old.  He knows no other home than the orphanage.


This is Melee (on the left).   Melee is short for “Miracle.”  She was found in the trash when she was a few days old.  Her parents threw her away.

Her parents threw her away.

Look, let me shoot straight with you.  These are not kids from some late-night cable advertisement.  There are a thousand stories, just like the ones above.  These are real kids.  I touched them.  We laughed together.  I looked in their eyes.  They looked in mine.

We are here because these kids need hope.  We are sad, tired, happy, enraged, hopeful, and angry.  It is an exhausting kaleidoscope of emotions which are not soon sorted out.  However, take this to the bank:  exchange is gearing up to make a huge impact in Guatemala.  I will be investing some of my life there and I invite you to do the same.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.            – James 1:27

I feel some world-changing religion coming on.  Get ready.

For more info on our recent trip to Guatemala check out Wigg’s World and Elsblogger.

Guatemala Fri-Sat

101_4080 Friday and Saturday were packed.  Friday we spent some time at Antigua and then at a state-run girl’s orphanage called Manchen.  Over 120 girls packed this place.  It was my first time there and I was a bit freaked out.  After a tour we painted the girl’s nails.  It was a great excuses to talk to them one-on-one.  Stories that encouraged and enraged me.

On Saturday Morning we spent considerable time with leaders of Buckner Ministries.  They shared their dreams for the future and we shared some of ours.  Although the details are not in stone, I was greatly encouraged.  Sitting around the table with them, I was again confident that God is calling exchange to dig deep into Guatemala.

After the meeting we hit a whirl-wind tour, including . . .

101_4140 Babies home.  Here we hung out with some of the cutest kids in the world.  All of these kids are “true orphans” meaning that the parents have no rights and they are legally adoptable.  This is where Juan Pablo lives until John and Emily Wiggins can get him legally adopted.  Watching them interact with him was awesome.  God is doing some great work in the home.  Picture:  Mariah with Estuardo and Danny (AKA “Buzz Lightyear”).

101_4156 Transitional homes.  Once orphans are a certain age, the state kicks them out of the orphanage.  Most of them are forced back to the streets.  Buckner has transitional homes that takes young men and women and helps educate them and prepare them for independent living.  It is a tremendous ministry with exceptional results.

101_4161 Clinic.  We toured a clinic owned by Sergio (some clinics are privately owned here).  Sergio provides medical care to low income people.  It is a fantastic ministry that survives on dated equipment, donated supplies, and a tremendous staff.  I was again blown away by the passion of people who give up a high paying job in order to make the name of Jesus famous.

Dinner.  We ended the night with a long dinner with the team.  I have no doubt that God put this team together for this time.  It has been a pleasure to travel, pray, talk, and dream with them, and I know that it is just the beginning.

For more info check out the bog of John and Emily, as well as Jody’s blog.

Guatemala Thursday

Guatemala Thursday Intro from longyear on Vimeo.


Above:  Orphanage with Ambrosio.


Above:  Mariah helping some of the boys color.


Above:  San Gabriel boys.  We stopped by here in the afternoon.

For dinner we joined John and Emily Wiggins and took 4 orphan boys to McDonald’s.  John and Emily had brought the boys costumes, so the Superhero’s invaded Mickey D’s.  We had a great time.

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We ended the day with a great team devo, prayer and talking.  This is a fantastic team and I am proud to be here with them!

For more info on the day, check out Jody’s blog.

Guatemala Tuesday

After some long days the team slept in. As we were getting up we heard the town rocking with a parade just outside the hotel.  After the parade, we hit a late breakfast and helped set up for the dedication ceremony.  At 2PM a 3-hour service began.  We understood very little, but it was great to be part of the celebration. 

After 50 years of work, there is a New Testament printed in the Ixil language.  Any way you look at it, that is pretty cool.


Above: Parade


Above: Set up for the dedication.




Above:  Our MCC team with Ray Elliott, 1st translator of the Ixil New Testament.

For more updates, check out Jody’s blog.



Dig this:  When Stephanie and I were in high school, Ray and Helen Elliott came to our church camp and talked about their ministry.  They said they moved into a village and started loving people and translating the New Testament into their language.  Starting in the 1950’s, it was their dream to one day hand people a Bible in their language.  Today was that day.  Stephanie held in her hands a New Testament in the Ixil language and gave it to a student.  She handed the dream of an audacious and dangerous couple to a young man. 

The moment was thin.  I wish you could have been there.

Guatemala Monday

Breakfast with about 30 other gringos followed by a ride on a “Chicken Bus” to Light and Life School in Saquil.  The school was built by Helen Elliott.  While her husband Bill worked on translation of the New Testament, she had a dream that school children would one day be educated and learn about Christ at the same time.  Today I saw her dream.  It was amazing.


Above: Chicken bus to Nebaj.  A well used old school bus on some beat up roads.


Above:  Light and Life School outside.


Above: 1st grade at Light and Life school.


Above: The kids provided some musical entertainment for us.


Above:  Absolute beauty.


Above: Jody, Scot, Mariah, Nate, Rachael and some of the students.


Above:  Ray Elliott.  Ray was the first white man to move into the Ixil village.  Starting in the 1950’s, he created an alphabet, a written language, implemented programs to help them read and write, and began translating the New Testament into the Ixil language.  We are here to celebrate that the New Testament is complete.  Ray and his wife Helen are some of my heros.

For more updates, check out Jody’s blog.