Guatemala 2016 Update – Maria’s House

(Tuesday, July 19, 2016)

Up on the roof of our house in Xenacoj this morning, I finished going through I Timothy.  Paul leaves Timothy with more sound instructions as he closes out the letter to him.  We all need a Paul in our lives.  Who is there to mentor me?  Who in your life is a mentor to you?

While I watched Hannah run in a nearby soccer field, I worked on my life plan.  This has been a powerful exercise, and I’m looking forward to working on it again in the morning.

Hannah has done a pretty good job getting her running in while we are in Guatemala.  It’s not easy to run in Xenacoj when you are not used to running at this altitude.  Xenacoj sits somewhere between 6500 and 7000 feet above sea level which is much higher than our home in Pennsylvania.  Hannah is getting ready to run her first collegiate season of cross country at Messiah College, and it’s important for her to keep her fitness up even while we are out of the country.


This morning, we went back to Maria’s to work on her house.  It was a fairly productive day.  We installed her roof, and we finished the studding around the perimeter of her house.  We started installing the boards on the walls of her house.  Unlike Dolores’ house, the walls of Maria’s house are make from boards that are flat on one side but are rough cut on the other side.  This makes for a more challenging installation process.  For future house build projects, I think it will be work a couple more hundred dollars to install the finished boards.

One of the things that amazed me today was how hard Maria has been working on her house.  Before we arrived, she was busy helping to dig the foundation.  Today, she was busy using a machete to knock the loose bark off the wall boards.

We learned today that Maria has two children.  Her husband left her four years ago to go to the United States.  He hasn’t been seen since.  While her husband is still living, Maria is essentially a widow.  This is not an uncommon occurrence in Guatemala where many husbands abandon their wives.  It’s a sad reality that many women have to juggle caring for their families, working to raise money for food and shelter, and finding time to take care of their properties.

Before get too full of ourselves, this happens in the United States of America.  While many husbands may be required to pay alimony and child support when they physically abandon their families, little is done when husbands and fathers simply check out emotionally and relationtionally from their families.

It’s time for husbands and fathers in Guatemala and the United States to take responsibility, to be intentional, and to be the best they can for their wives and children.

This is one of the reasons I’m excited to launch a mastermind group for fathers and husbands this fall.


Tonight, we enjoyed dinner and a rousing game of Dutch Blitz.  Hannah has been winning every game we’ve played so far (which isn’t fun for me).  The time sitting around the table has given us time to laugh and reflect on the happenings of the day.

As I think back on today,  I pray for Maria.  I pray that she would know God’s love.  I pray that she would experience God’s provision in her life.  ANd I pray that she can be the mother she needs to be for her children.

I pray for German and Suzy Espana.  They have been tremendous hosts for our family during our time here.  They sacrifice so much for the widows in their community.  I pray they would experience God’s blessings in their lives.  I pray they would have what they need as they raise their six children.  And I pray they would have endurance as they serve in Xenacoj.

I pray for Jose, our construction guru.  I pray he would get the rest he needs in between our busy work days.  I pray for his safety as he works on these homes.  And I pray for his influence in his community.

I pray for the countless widows in the community.  I pray for those who justifiably need new homes and other items. That they would have provision.  I pray for those who are jealous of widows like Dolores and Maria that they would learn patience as they wait and joy for Dolores and Maria.  I pray that the widows in the community would join together to support each other.


Assuming the weather cooperates, we plan to be back at the job site tomorrow.  We should make a big dent in the project.  I look forward to getting Maria into her new home.

For now, it’s time for bed.

Thanks for your continued support and prayers.