What A Difference A Bed Makes!

Where do you sleep?  What kind of bed do you have?

If you are like most Americans, you have a pretty comfortable bed.  You probably have a bed frame with a box spring.  You probably have a pretty decent mattress with pillows, sheets, and a bed spread.

I sleep on a king size bed in a house protected from the elements.  These past few days, we’ve had the air conditioner on which makes sleeping conditions pretty nice during the hot summer nights.

When I was in Guatemala two summers ago, I slept on a collapsed folding table on top of a roof protected by a plastic roof.  It wasn’t ideal, but I still managed to get some sleep after hard days of working in the village of Xenacoj.  Last summer, I upgraded to a small bunk bed.  The bed was probably two feet too short for me (I’m six feet six inches tall), but it was still better than sleeping on the ground (or on the roof).  I’m not sure what our sleeping conditions will be like this year, but I’m not too worried.

Guatemala 2013 381

This is the bed we saw last summer where a widow sleeps with her three children. The picture is dark and so is the room itself.  It was made up of a sheet of plywood on top of a few overturned five gallon buckets.  Pieces of fabric serve as a “mattress” and sheets/blankets for this family.


While we were serving in Guatemala last summer, we visited the home of widow in the small village of San Antonio.  She lived in a very small house with her three kids.  The house had a dirt floor and corn-stalk walls.  The roof was made of sheets of metal.  The inside of the roof was covered in black soot caused by the open fire used for cooking.  Inside the walls of the house, there were four overturned five gallon buckets on which rested a sheet of plywood which was covered with scraps of fabric.  This is where the widow slept with all three of her children.  This was their bed.

Earlier this year, a team from the United States went down to Guatemala to help widows and orphans.  During their trip, they build a new house for this family.  They now live in a house with a concrete floor, wooden walls, a solid metal roof, and electricity.  The team was also able to provide bunk beds for this family, so each person has a bed with a mattress, sheets, pillows, and blankets.  Can you imagine the difference this made for this family?

In just over two weeks, our family will be heading down to Guatemala where we will build two houses.  One house will be the home for a widow and two family members, and the other house will become the home for a widow and five of her family members.  Thanks to generous donors, we will be able to build both of these houses.  This alone will change the life of these families.

But what if we could do more?  What if we could find a way to provide beds as well?

Yesterday, our missionary friend, David Sgro, posted the following on his Facebook timeline:

I’ll be visiting Guatemala later this month and we’ll be working with the Jon Stolpe family to build two houses for two widows and their families. The cost for each house is approx $2,000. That money has been raised. The widows and their children also need bedding and a bed and mattress cost $100. We need a total of 9 beds. If you’d like to donate towards buying a widow or an orphan a bed please visit www.goministries.info, scroll down and click on “Paypal Option 1” to donate. You can add a note saying “Widow/Orphan Bedding” and those funds will be used to buy the beds! Thanks a lot. If you buy a bed I’ll send you a picture so you can see the family enjoying their bed.

This was not a cost we were aware of when we set up our trip and fundraising budget.  I suppose it’s not essential, but it would be a great way to put a bow on the gift we are providing to these families.  I know it’s a big ask, but would you consider helping out?  Maybe you can get together with your family or a group of friends and pay for one bed.  If we get nine people to do this, we would be set.  (Or if we get eighteen people to pay for half of a bed, we would be set.  You get the idea.  Any amount would be appreciated.)

How do you think a new bed might change the life of one these families?

What is the nicest bed you’ve ever slept on?  What is the worst sleeping condition you’ve ever endured?

The second half of the video below shows the home of the widow mentioned above before her house was rebuilt.

And this video highlights the construction of her new home.  This will give you a small glimpse into what we will be experiencing in a couple of weeks while we are in Guatemala.  (Go to the 9 minute mark to fast forward to the house construction and completion.)