On February 18 a group of 11 CBC led missionaries returned from a successful short-term mission trip to Guatemala. They distributed hundreds of pounds of food to poor families in remote villages. Along with the food, each family received a Bible. While we take Bibles for granted in the U.S., many believers around the world cannot afford to own one and many nonbelievers have never had one to read in their hands. To many of the people who received them, this was a treasure.

The team provided cook stoves to many homes that were cooking over wood fires on the floor of their simple houses. The cook stoves they provided were concrete kits developed by a missionary from the U.S. These stoves are wood fired with a metal cook top. While it is possible to buy propane stoves in Guatemala, it does no good since the average family cannot afford the propane to keep it working. Wood is the common cooking fuel and this stove is designed in such a way that it does not require a lot of wood to heat it.

The team included Dr. Tim Thorne, a dentist who offered help to many people who had no hope of being able to afford dental services. The lady pictured here had three teeth so badly infected that, over time, it could have put her life in danger. She was so relieved to get help from the team that when they gave her the small stuffed animal that they provided for every patient she just hugged it to herself with tears in her eyes.

The team had the opportunity to share in a church service at a local church with Pastor Randy Cosner providing the message through an interpreter. The fellowship was sweet and the service was a blessing.

The food the team provided a reusable tote type bag which contained about a week’s worth of food for the average family. It included beans, rice, hot cereal, sugar, flower, drink mixes, seasonings, and other items. The bags were loaded into pickups and the team headed off to three villages where a local pastor had organized families to receive the food. The team distributed about 400 bags of food in total. This provided that pastor the opportunity to make some contacts in his village with unchurched families as well as help people within his congregation. It was a huge outreach ministry for the local church.

One of the young women they were able to help was a teenage girl who lived alone in a shack with 4 children. She was married to an older man who did little to provide for her. The team helped her with a stove, food and other supplies and connected her to the local church that agreed to provide assistance for her moving forward. Many young women in third world countries have no social protection from abuse. Without family, the church becomes the only source of assistance they may ever receive. The picture below shows her with her eight-day-old baby that she delivered alone, while the other picture shows the shack she lives in. It also shows her other children and the new stove the team provided.

Another important ministry of the team was that of prayer. They took many opportunities to pray over individuals who were going through difficult times or were working hard in their own ministries. Of the three pictures below showing this ministry, the first one on the left was the group praying over a man that has been working with the teams who come down. He works with churches and incoming missionaries as well as doing a lot of ministry himself. He helps teams purchase food and Bibles in quantity to distribute and sets up the distribution points for the teams just to name a few things.

The picture on the right is a Christian school principal that runs a school for street kids. He goes into the streets at night ministering and preaching to the people on the streets in some of the hardest parts of the city. He provides transportation for the kids to come into the school during the day, as well as providing them with food and clothing. While many of them still have to sleep on the streets at night, they have a safe place where they can learn both academically and spiritually during the day. The third picture at the bottom is of the team surrounding the students and praying for them.

In all, the team provided and received blessing and touched many lives with the love of God. A second CBC team will be returning to Guatemala on June 10th. You still have time to join this team by contacting Craig Howard at craig.howard@covenantbrethren.org. It doesn’t take a lot to change a life but it does take willing people who will make the effort and provide the support. May God bless the continuing efforts of the CBC missions program.

Submitted by the CBC Publications Committee – Craig Howard, Chair