Guatemala 2016 Update – Friday Finish Strong

(Friday, July 15, 2016)

Today, our family primarily concentrated on finishing up the house for Dolores.  In the morning, we completed the two side walls.  And after lunch and a short siesta, we completed the front wall of her house.

As we left the job site for the day, our new friend, Jose, was finished up the electrical work for the house with Marcella, one of Dolores’ sons.  And German’s father-in-law, Antonio, stopped by to install the two windows and the door.

Tomorrow, we should be able to finish up things on the house when we install the wood spacers on the walls to close up the gaps life by the boards on the walls.

Two cool things happened towards the end of our work day:

First, I sat back and watched as our kids worked together to hammer nails in one of the final pieces of wood on the front wall.  As I watched a feeling of warmth filled my heart, and I said to Leanne, “It’s so cool that our kids get to build houses for other people.”  As parents, we have an opportunity (and I would argue that we have a responsibility) to teach our kids the value of serving others.  There are many reasons for bringing your family on a missions trip, and one of those reasons is to help them experience service to others in need.

Second, as we said our goodbyes to Dolores and her family and headed for the door to her yard, I noticed her walking back to the house with two of her grandsons.  I snuck back in and looked in the window of the house where I saw her grandsons spinning around with joy.  As I looked over at Dolores, I noticed a big smile on her face.  She was happy.  I traveled all the way to Guatemala, and my trip was just made.  There is tremendous joy that comes when you serve others and when you help them find a piece of joy.  I think that’s what are family did this week.  And we get to do it all over again next week!


As we walked out of Dolores’ yard, we took a quick trip to the corner store to grab a couple of treats to finish off the day.  Leanne and the kids walked into the store, and I was stopped by a lady who started asking me questions in Spanish.  My Spanish has been improving this trip, but I struggled to understand what she was saying.  Thankfully, our translator for the week, Rafael, came over and helped me out.

I’m pretty sure the woman was asking for me to build a house for her and her two children.

It appears she was waiting for us to leave the job site for the day, so she could ask us for help.

I don’t know her need, and there wasn’t a lot I could do at that moment, but my heart broke.

By myself, I can help a few widows, but I can’t help everyone.  But with the help of others, there is tremendous power to help a lot of people.  Building 100 homes (or more) will not happen by myself or by my efforts.  It will take a community of people coming together to do something good.  Part of that community resides in the United States and in other wealthy countries, and part of that community resides right here in Xenacoj.

My dream is to see members of the Xenacoj community coming together with help from people like me to make their community better – especially for widows and orphans.  My dream is also to help people experience the love of Christ in a practical way, because people like me decided to lend a helping hand.


This year, a friend (Anne Flynn) joined us on our trip to Guatemala.  She is a nurse, and she has talked to Leanne about coming the past few years after hearing about her adventures in Xenacoj.  Anne has had the experience of a life time, and it’s been fun to watch her eyes and heart wake up through her opportunities to touch and serve the people of Guatemala.  Today, she cleaned ears in Sante Marie with our other nurse team member, Hillary.

It will be sad to say goodbye to both of them on Sunday when they return home, but I’m excited for Anne.  I think she will have amazing stories to share with family and friends back home.  I think she’ll be back in Xenacoj next year, and I’m pretty sure she’ll bring a few people back with her.

If my adventures in Guatemala have made you curious, I’d love to talk to you.  Now is the time to start planning for a missions trip next summer.