January in Guatemala…at 5000 feet

(posted by Rick)

I recall my first winter J127 men’s mission trip like it was yesterday.   We flew out of FRIGID Iowa for the tropics.  

Yes we are going south, but Tecpan sits in the mountains of Guatemala at 5000 ft elevation.

The daytime starts out cool, requiring a sweatshirt.  But by noon the sun at that elevation heats up to 65 degrees, and also has sunburn power!

The nights are cold and windy.   40 degrees is cold…..especially when our hotel that Brad mentioned has NO heat….(and intermittent hot water).   So, the solution is sleep in long johns and sweatsuits and wear a stocking hat.   It’s a bit like camping.   It’s kind of fun, roughing it for the week….

Then reality sets in and eliminates the “fun factor”.  We see the families we meet daily living in their makeshift shacks that have no insulation, no heater.   Many have walls made from corn stalks.  


Some have a bathhouse that they build a fire in and heat the water, to bathe with hot water. (That is likely carried for a significant distance)


Actually, I have come to really like and appreciate the fact that the hotel has no heat and a temperamental water heater for this simple reason.

What’s my point?  As we endure winters in Iowa or wherever, it reminds me that I should be thankful for the many blessings I have…A working furnace, insulated walls, a faucet with clean (and hot on demand) water.  These are things not to be taken for granted!

1 Thessalonians 5:18     “give thanks in all circumstances”

The countdown has begun for our departure.   I truly am anxious to reconnect with the families from years past.  

Blanca and her daughters,

 Eltavina and her kids,    


Berta and her kids,   (Wilson, Nelson, and Kevin…my little buddies)   (their names crack me up also, not the stereotypical Guatemalan names I expected)

Odilio and his family,

 ……..a few of the wonderful families we have helped in years past.  One of the greatest components of this annual j127 mission trip is that we don’t build a home and leave.  We continue to be a part of their lives.   It is a joy to see and reconnect with them.   We will reinvest in their lives as we worship with them at Fuentes de Vida Iglesias….(Source of Life Church) (on 4 different evenings)   It will be great to see and hug and reconnect  to our old friends at church.

 ..plus we will add Ursula and her family to our extended Guatemalan family.

I am also anxious to SERVE yet again with Brad and Scott, who are veterans of this J127 trip.     I am very excited to have Tom from Wisconsin join us.     Tom is an old friend.  Not old in the sense of age, but a colleague from a job 28 years ago.

We were once sales reps.  With job changes and such, we haven’t talked since that time. However, we did stay in contact through Christmas cards and Facebook. We actually reconnected in the last year.  Tom has joined us at Mission: Mobility as a volunteer collecting equipment for Bethel from his home in Wisconsin.     I am so excited to share this experience  of SERVING in Guatemala with him!

I can’t wait!   Its gonna be a great week!

Dios te Bendiga


Posted in 2015 Guatemala.

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