People from two local communities have recently joined forces to serve an orphanage in Guatemala.
Church attendees from McPherson and Inman traveled to Solola, Guatemala, to build relationships and assist with construction projects. But like many who travel abroad, they say it changed them more than they changed the children.
“Getting to see another culture I think is another blessing,” said team member Lois Wiens of Zoar Church in Inman. “You get kind of bogged down in your own little world, and when you go to some place like this, it’s fun to see God is taking care of them in a different way, and they seem to recognize that too.”
That hope is something Don and Dianne Froese of Inman have seen in the area for more than two decades. Their ties to the orphanage began in 1988 when they adopted a son from there who is now 24.
They developed a lasting relationship with the missionaries of the orphanage, whose name means Eagle’s Nest in Spanish, and have assisted them ever since. Their involvement has included maintenance work and adoption organization, and they have even spent months at a time at the Nest to assist in operations. Also in the area is a Christian school, place of worship and a retreat center.
“I think our greatest blessing is how it changes us throughout the years,” Don said.
“We would not have thought in 1988 we’d still be going back,” Dianne said. “The Guatemalan people are very gracious and accepting, and are happy when they have so little.”
Much of the Froese’s work in the South has been on their own, but this is the second year they have coordinated a trip with a large group. This year was the first to coordinate a group from multiple communities. Although they live in Inman, they are tied to McPherson through attendance at New Hope Church.
While on their 10-day trip, the team of about a dozen participated in several projects. A railing was erected around an upper outside patio that overlooked a smoldering volcano. More efficient stoves were installed for families with single mothers. They also constructed clothes dressers for the girls of the orphanage so each girl would have three drawers of a dresser’s six. They also volunteered their time at a program called Mana, where the basic need of food is given to the children every day.
This allowed them to assist the missionaries with work they otherwise could not do.
“Everybody (on the team) has a heart for the Lord to serve others,” Dianne said.
One of those team members was George Bocox, associated pastor at New Hope Church. While there, he saw themes of hope, both for and from the Guatemalan people. He said although the children and families there were struggling, they found hope in difficult situations.
Page 2 of 2 - “They’re very broken. They’re very poor, and yet they have great joy in simple things,” he said. “One of the greatest lessons is living each day with what God has given you. They (the Guatemalan people) live today to the fullest and tomorrow as it comes. And I think that’s really cool.”
Bocox has traveled to Guatemala previously, to a neighborhood not far from the Eagle’s Nest. In both cases, he has been inspired by their spiritual drive.
“The thing I love is the joy that’s in them,” he said. “Once they come to know the Lord, they’re very, very serious about their faith. It’s very encouraging to see someone that wants to stand for the Lord.”
And although he loves his international travels, Bocox said it is equally important to serve in one’s own community.
“We’ve got to find ways to serve,” he said. “Otherwise, you’re not putting what you learned into practice. Finding a ministry is really important. Whether you’re young or old, it completely, radically changes you. You learn and examine how to use your own wealth and resources and it also changes your attitude toward blessing and serving others.”
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