Santo Tomás - Day 5 [Blog]

By: Nancy Peabody

I am a crier.

Many people know this.

They know this because they have seen me cry.  Frequently more than once.

I cry when I am happy and when I am sad.  I cry when I find something touching or sincere, which I am embarrassed to say can even be when viewing a Hallmark card commercial.  I even start crying when I see someone else crying, especially a good friend.

Oh, I almost forgot.  I am not a quiet crier who has one tear delicately falling down one cheek.  I am a full blown eyes red,  skin blotchy, nose running and voice squeaking kind of crier.

I was surprised, however, when I found myself tearing up a few times today.  My last day working donations for the Corazón de los Ninos Association. I have helped unpack, fold and organize over 2,000 lbs of donated clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc… with my friends Judy and Jendy. I also assisted children to pick out a new pair of socks and underwear, gently used clothing and hopefully a pair of shoes.

We worked with some amazing women from this Guatemalan community. These women have tirelessly worked to make this donation event organized and welcoming to the families involved with Corazón de los Ninos.   What struck me most about these strong, beautiful  women at the outset of this endeavor was their good humor, camaraderie and willingness to work without complaint.

While working our first day together I wondered what I had in common with these women that I could only communicate with my seriously deficient fourteen Spanish phrases. 

I am not sure how we all gathered outside in the dusty, but wonderfully cool breeze, but with the very patient Judy as our translator we all introduced ourselves and practiced the pronunciation of our names.  We found our common denominator as we talked about our children and grandchildren.

It was motherhood that brought us together.

As with most people who have been involved with a mission project I have been humbled, blessed and honored to have been a part of their lives for these few days and I felt sad it was coming to a close today.

Yes, I cried as we said our parting words and goodbyes.

I can’t wait for next year.

Santo Tomás - Day 4 [Blog]

Breaking New Ground

by Brook Fonceca

Those of you who have been following the mission know that we are in a new village this year and are working with a new partnering organization — Corazón de Los Niños. From my vantage point, things are going amazingly smoothly! I am well aware, though, of all the work our mission leaders and partners have put in behind the scenes. They have smoothed out the foreseen bumps in the road. Again, from my vantage point, the unforeseen bumps have been quite minimal. I guess I could say that this new ground feels like the Promised Land!

Another area of breaking new ground is that this year I am a team leader. For those of you that know me, that may not seem like a big deal. If you do not know me, I'm an associate pastor and a manager at a private school. I always find myself in some sort of leadership position. That is one reason I have enjoyed coming to Guatemala the last few years, where I can just be part of the team, working and playing hard. For some reason I was a bit nervous to be a team leader. To my pleasant surprise, I have a wonderful team to work with (two of whom are my children) and, as I said above, there have been next to no difficulties, as of yet, on this mission. 

Breaking new ground has been a theme for this season of life for me and my family. As you know, breaking new ground almost always involves tremendous amounts of hard work. I know of many difficult situations that our mission leaders went through just opening up this new village for us to work in. Then there are times when breaking new ground seems nearly effortless. It is in those times that just taking few steps back reveals that we are walking into prepared soil. The breaking is really more like continuing in the footsteps of the faithful servants that have gone on before us. This has been my experience with this year's mission, and I am grateful for it! I am looking forward to the remaining days of my mission and anticipate fruitful labors and joyful experiences! 


Santo Tomás - Day 3 [Blog]

By: Fidel Nuñez

Embrace the Unexpected

    Hi, My name is Fidel. That kind of summarizes my experience thus far fairly well. This is my first time in Guatemala, I only really knew a few people on this trip prior to Sunday, and I didn’t really know everything that we would be doing when it came to serving.

To say the least, I came into this trip partially blind and not really knowing what to expect at all, but everything that has surprised me up to this point has been nothing but a blessing. A few examples are the following:

I found out I would be installing concrete floors when for some reason I didn’t even know that was a service that was provided. My group is on the early bus meaning I have to have my alarm set for 5:45 in the morning, and it turned out that I am my group’s translator for the week even though I’m really not that proficient in Spanish.

When I first found out about these different situations I just accepted them and my mindset was more towards “hopefully this won’t hinder my experience” than “I’m grateful for this”. That mindset has totally shifted by now.

The intensive labor of installing the floors has only added to my sense of accomplishment in service because the hard work is so much more rewarding when it is being done for someone who really needs it rather than a paycheck. The more I sacrifice myself for those I’m serving the more I can sense the heartfelt appreciation that the families here have for us.

The labor leaves me only more exhausted everyday, and knowing that I have to get up bright and early the next day is sometimes difficult. Despite this, I love being tired. It is very satisfying knowing that I am spent because I have spent all of my energy for the benefit of somebody else, and the soreness is also a constant reminder that the sacrifices I make of my body help to tell the people here that God is present and His work is alive in their lives.

The thing that I was dreading most was being translator for my group, but it’s funny how God takes you for a ride sometimes just to show you what you’re missing out on. Being translator has forced me to really experience the wonderful people in this country and build relationships that I would not have bothered creating if it weren’t my job.

It has been difficult no doubt, but I discovered that I speak enough Spanish to share some laughs and grasp the full amount of thankfulness and faith in the Lord the families we have served have. That in itself has made my time here worth more than any amount of money that I could have taken for installing 14 floors in a week.

It is very likely that if I had not been translator I would have just kept to myself and done the labor that I was supposed to do. I used labor in that last sentence because I would not have completed the work I was sent here to do.

God’s work is so much more than that. God’s work is sacrificing not only your body for others, but also your heart and your soul. To give a piece of each of these things is what doing God’s work really is.

That’s what I have learned this week, and none of that would have happened if God didn’t push me a little bit out of my comfort zone.

Santo Tomás - Day 2 [Blog]

by Kim Nowlin

The morning my daughter Olivia and I were scheduled to leave for Guatemala, I got up to have my quiet time as usual.  But on this morning, I found myself filled with fear. 

My main fear was centered in the fact I would be traveling out of the country alone with my 13 year old daughter.  My other fears were based on the fear of the unknown—just not knowing what to expect. 

We also had quite a lot of opposition to getting our trip together—difficulty getting our funding, trying to schedule our vacation to visit my family the week after Guatemala, and a huge hassle getting our passports. 

I began to wonder,“ Should we even go on this trip?” As I sat there crying before the Lord, he gently revealed to me that I pretty much live my whole life in fear.  Afraid of what others might think, scared that things won’t turn out the way want, always afraid that what I do and who I am are never enough. 

And you know what?  He was sadly right.  I had never really attributed the way I lived my life to fear but now I see clearly I have allowed fear to keep me from living the abundant life Jesus came to bring. 

Fear has kept me from being the wife and mother God’s called me to be, it’s kept me from pursuing friendships, it’s keeping me from fully fulfilling God’s call for my life, and it almost kept me from coming to Guatemala. 

God then reminded me of the verse in 1 John 4:18. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear”.  So awesome that He brought that verse to my attention—God’s love for me is perfect—it actually drives out my fear! 

Had I allowed the fear to remain, I would have missed out on this amazing time in Guatemala.  I would not have seen my daughter step out of her comfort zone as she builds stoves and loves the people she is serving. 

I would have missed out on meeting so many wonderful people—American and Guatemalan.  And I would have missed the sweet kiss from a tiny girl in VBS who just wanted to say ,“thank you.”  

I feel like God is encouraging all of us to, “fear not” and to step out and live the life Jesus came to give.  Stop worrying what other people think—you are enough, you have enough, and you are definitely loved enough. 

Don’t miss out on the amazing life Good has for you!  Now is the time……

Santo Tomás - Day 1 [Blog]

By: Sandie Smith

First of all, my flight from Pennsylvania to Guatemala was awesome. Everyone from Delta Airlines was so nice, courteous and friendly.  I would say it was the best flight I ever had. 

My first day here started with a great and healthy breakfast.  We then loaded all the donation luggage onto the chicken bus and headed to the village of Corozon de los Ninos. 

Lillian had given us a tour of the Doctor’s Office, Dental Clinic, Lab, Pharmacy and Computer Room.  It was amazing to see how everything was documented on paper. 

We then had a fabulous lunch served by the women in the village.  The beverage [Rosa de Jamaica, or Jamaican Rose] was made from a Hibiscus plant.  I never knew you could consume this plant until today. 

After lunch we split into stove and cement crews and completed 1 stove and 1 cement floor.  We had a little problem putting our stove in because there wasn’t enough draft going through the flute pipe.  We added another piece of pipe outside that solved our problem and worked well. 

The children were so happy and laughed all the while we were there.  The family was very grateful. It was such a beautiful and rewarding day.

I am looking forward to the rest of the week hoping to make more families free of smoke in their homes and seeing the smiles on the children’s faces.

Hogar Miguel - Day 6 [Blog]

by Rachel Williams

    This past week in Antigua has been one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.   I never would have expected the number of connections I have made with the people I have met, both with those who traveled with me from the United States as well as with the adults and children from the village of Aqua Cate.  I have had the opportunity to see how chores don’t actually feel like chores when you’re doing them for people in need, to use and improve my Spanish skills through my role as a translator, and finally, my family now has the opportunity to sponsor a child in need from the village.   Overall, I have observed that Christ can be so alive and show His presence even in areas of the world where children go hungry and sleep in infested beds or on dirt floors each night.

    Back in the United States, disassembling, moving, sanding and cleaning bed frames would probably feel like the most tiresome chores.  I would quickly lose interest in spending countless hours painting a room.  I would likely be overwhelmed when dealing with overly energetic children tugging at my arms left and right.  However, the work I have done here at Hogar Miguel Magone never once felt like a chore, and I am sure that this is because God was showing me how meaningful service to others can be.  Knowing that all the work I was doing to prepare new beds and paint window frames would help to create a better home for orphaned or impoverished boys drove me to do my absolute best to help them to have the highest level of comfort possible.  Oftentimes I would be reminded of whom I was serving as young Guatemalan boys came in to chat with me while I painted windows.  Seeing their smiling faces all day made it impossible to even think about bemoaning the amount of work I did at Hogar Miguel Magone.

    I’m not the most outgoing person in the world to begin with, so when I learned that I would be serving as a translator on the trip, there was definitely a little bit of trepidation mixed in with my excitement for the opportunity to finally use my Spanish skills in a meaningful way.  However, as I put these skills to work, I began to realize what a blessing it was that I could speak the language and converse with these children.  As I did so, I really began to see how they are just typical kids even though they lead difficult lives.  From the beginning of the week to now, I have certainly seen a vast improvement in my speaking skills, despite occasionally having to have a 5-year-old repeat himself about twenty times before I can finally figure out what he’s saying. I have also picked up some new vocabulary along the way, thanks to my Spanish-English dictionary that I couldn’t have survived without.  With hopes to return to Guatemala in the future, I definitely have acquired an incredibly strong motivation to improve my Spanish as much as possible so that I can better communicate with these children and help them come to know God.

    Through my role as a translator, I got to know the boy who soon would become the first child that my family would sponsor.  As translator, during craft time I constantly had children redirected to me to answer their questions.  For whatever reason, during one of these times, I was having particular difficulty in understanding what this young boy was trying to ask me.  As I struggled to decipher the question through his quick-paced speech and accent, I noticed the incredible patience and understanding that this boy had with me.  He was incredibly friendly and understanding.  Later, after he ran up to me to give me a hug before I left for the day, I was sold.  The next day, he happened to ask if we were thinking of sponsoring a child, and I told him that we were actually thinking of sponsoring him.  Seeing his joy was the most wonderful thing.  I’m so excited that I now have someone who’s like a little brother in Guatemala who I can write to and help give a better life.

    I am so grateful I came to Guatemala to serve.  It’s amazing to see the way that Bible School and worship songs can help children to connect to God, and it was especially moving to see some children become emotional during the story.  I was so happy to be a part of this mission and to be able to help do the Lord’s work in these children’s lives.  I can’t wait to keep having these rewarding experiences on many future missions to come.

Hogar Miguel - Day 5 [Blog]

By: Liesel Odden

    So many things have changed since I first participated in this mission three years ago. I came into it having no clue how life changing and magnificent it would be, and it has gotten better and better each year. There is no way I could have prepared myself for the messes these families have been through - yet with how kind, loving, funny, playful and beautiful (inside and out) the people are, you wouldn’t know it. I have had so many touching experiences on this mission, and my eyes are opened up wider each year. Every single second spent with the children has impacted me greatly. 

    One of the many life changing experiences I have had on this mission is Vacation Bible School. Three hundred kids are packed into a tiny chapel, and song after song is sung to its fullest. The kids are then divided into two groups of complete chaos and sent to play games or make crafts. Trying to control one hundred and fifty little kids is hard enough – and then throw in speaking different languages. The kids have to have an amazing amount of patience to be able to listen to us slaughter their language and then help us to say it right. .  I will forever miss the fantastic time of VBS.

    From the very beginning to the very end of the day we spend at the orphanage, the kids are attached to you. Imagine living in a tin house small enough to be a closet. Then add in seven children, no father, mother on drugs, and unfathomable abuse. This is how many of the children staying at the orphanage have been treated. Yet somehow, the kids put this behind them and not only continue to be alive, but continue to live. They act towards us as if nothing has happened and welcome you with unimaginable love. They cling to you as if you are their family – which in many cases, you might be. 

    Just as wonderful as the kids is the family running the orphanage. Karen and Estuardo are the couple in charge of the orphanage, and there is no one better to do it. They are legal guardians of who knows how many kids – over 150 – and they put their whole heart into the kids’ new home. Every single child is special and you can see it in the way Karen and Estuardo take care of the children and give them a new hope.  Karen, Estuardo and their daughter are complete patience, kindness, and unbelievable love. 

    I have witnessed God in this mission over and over. He has taught me to open my eyes and let Him use me as His hands and feet.  I can’t imagine missing a year of the character and love – again, there is so much love – in this mission. It is so hard not to come back after really seeing God in the children, in Karen and Estuardo, and in the other missionaries I get to spend time with. I have hope and love in my heart for each child, and I will always remember the orphanage and families in Guatemala. 

Hogar Miguel - Day 4 [Blog]

by Anika Sande

    Four days of love, service and friendship in our Lord’s name have brought endless laughs, smiles and hugs for all of us involved in the Hogar Miguel Magone mission.  I began this trip with an open mind and open heart and have been filled with memories and experiences that I can truly say I will never forget.  While these experiences during the mission have reminded me how much I am blessed with, I have learned so much more.  I have learned that the power of kindness and love that has the ability to transcend any barrier in it’s place whether it be language, race or socio-economic situation.  Yes, this mission has been about work—painting windows, sanding bed frames, cleaning dormitories and a variety of other tasks, but more importantly this week has been about building relationships with the people here and about being the hands, feet, eyes and mouths of God in an effort to serve his children.  

    I am so very fortunate and proud to say that my family and I have decided to sponsor 3 children who we have fallen in love this week.  This is so special to me because I know that these children will grow from our sponsorship but I also know that I will grow as well.  These three children have astounded me with their ability to love despite their “non-ideal” situation—some have no family or have experienced unimaginable abuse.  God has truly spoken to me through them showing me the power of forgiveness and love and I am truly thankful for these children because although they are younger than me they have taught me so much.  

    Further this week has also taught me about appreciating the little wonders of our lives.  I have been truly inspired by the enthusiasm that the children have for things that are seemingly so simple to me.  Most notably are my experiences “en la cancha”(on the sports field) — I have been fortunate enough to play futbol with who, by my record, are some of the best players in Guatemala.  I have seen their enthusiasm and love for the game and it has truly inspired me to love each and every activity and experience I have.

    In conclusion this week has been truly life changing and I believe that God has touched my life by allowing me this experience to come and embrace the people of Guatemala.  I am excited for what the future holds for myself as I hope to continue to participate in missions and actively communicate with my sponsor children.  I am so thankful to have been surrounded by such love, kindness and compassion this past week and have grown from it. I am so inspired by the Guatemalan spirit and am ecstatic to continue service and love in God’s name.

Hogar Miguel Photos

Hogar Miguel Magone Photos - June 14-21, 2015

Follow our mission progress through photos from our awesome mission Photographer, Bella Bevilacqua. Check back often - the following galleries will be updated daily...

This gallery has 3 sections:


Slide Shows - Presentations by our mission photographer

Favorites - Best-of-the-best downloadable photos by our mission photographer

Crew Member Photos - (Coming Soon) - Additional pix from our Crew Members


More about Hogar Miguel Magone

Hogar Miguel - Day 3 [Blog]

by Xander Bevilacqua

Today was a good day; we woke up and had a typical breakfast which was black beans with eggs and oatmeal, sided with some fruit.

Then I got to the orphanage and started painting superheroes on the boys’ walls. The boys seemed really fascinated by me painting and excited to see their home being renovated and repainted.

When I finished the spiderman mural, the children began to jump up and down in excitement. It was a really satisfying feeling. That was the highlight of my day.

I made some friends, although I speak no Spanish- sometimes a child will come into the room and yell something in Spanish then run out. Leaving me confused, but it is funny.

Hogar Miguel - Day 1 [Blog]

By: Deb Freece

Who would have thought that coming to Guatemala for a mission trip to help others, would cure my OCD!  Even though this is my eighth mission trip to Guatemala, it only took one, the first one, to give me an unexpected gift.  You see, I had always been a perfectionist.  I had always wanted everything in it’s place, always wanted everything clean at all times, etc.  You get the picture.

Coming to a third world country really opened my eyes to a world that I had only read about.  I had often gotten upset over a scratch on my shoe.  The people who we came to serve in a small mountain village had HOLES in THEIR shoes, shoes that were too small, or no shoes at all! I had obsessed with the least bit of dirt on my hardwood floors.  The villagers ONLY HAD dirt to make up their floors! I would get upset if someone blew smoke in my face.  I saw first hand that these Guatemalans LIVED in smoke most of their day, having only open fires in their huts to cook their food.  Clothing that I wore always had to be cleaned and pressed.  These villagers had to collect rain in barrels to clean their clothes, no washing machines, no irons. I could go on and on about our contrasting life styles, but one thing really stuck out to me; in many villagers’ homes, which were extremely small by the way, there was a dedicated area for a shrine honoring our Lord, and savior, Jesus Christ. Even though these families had so little, they still loved their Lord.  I have always considered myself a Christian but soon realized that the energy that I exerted throughout my daily life was directed in all the wrong ways.

I learned that the important things in this life weren’t a house without dust, clothing without wrinkles, or a lawn with no weeds. The important thing for me was to put my time into helping my brothers and sisters in Christ, to help those less fortunate, have better lives. So instead of dusting, cleaning, washing and weeding to extreme, I started to stock food pantries, make meals for the sick, collect donations for mission trips and rebuild homes.  

I wish those most fortunate, would experience what I had in a country like Guatemala and the world would be a better place. Thank you Guatemala.  Thank you for curing my OCD, and thank you for teaching me the things that really matter in life.

Santa Maria - Day 5 Blog

by: Tina Rogers

Buenas noches (good evening) brothers and sisters in Christ.  What a beautiful week here in Antigua, Guatemala.  The weather has really been great with sunshine and very little rain which has made it much easier to get around the village of Santa Maria De Jesus.  We have placed a total of 70 stoves, 12 concrete floors, given clothing, and anti-parasite meds to many children.  

Many people have asked me “Why do I need to go  on a mission trip to show God’s love?”  After coming to Guatemala and spending 5 days in the village of Santa Maria De Jesus, I have finally found the reason.  It is...

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Santa Maria - Day 4 Blog

Santa Maria - Day 4 Blog

by Whit Lammons

It’s hard to believe that we have only one more day in the town of Santa Maria de Jesus.  As a group, we have been installing stoves, concrete floors, hosting VBS and managing donations.  I’m on the Stove 2 team with three other people.  The eastern side of the US is well represented in our group.  My beautiful wife and group leader is from Tennessee, one member is from Pennsylvania, one member is from New York, and I’m from South Carolina.  Needless to say we have had...

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Santa Maria - Day 3 Blog

Santa Maria - Day 3 Blog

This has been my first mission trip to Guatemala and it is, hands down, the most amazing experience I have ever had in my life and it is only half way done. It would be impossible to put my whole trip into words without writing a novel so I am only going to talk about my favorite part, the people. My family and I were told by some fellow church members, that have gone on past mission trips, how...

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Santa Maria - Day 2 Blog

by: Ken Bolig

Well, we finished our first full day of installing floors. Our team got three complete and the degree of difficulty increased as the day progressed. The final install was the most demanding; we had to build two ramps to get the materials to the mixing location. Then because of the steepness, on person had to push the wheelbarrow while two people, one on each corner of the wheelbarrow had to pull. Even though by the end of the day, all of us were...

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Santa Maria - Day 1 Blog

Santa Maria - Day 1 Blog

by Andrew Phillips

Today was the introductory training day, which involved a several musical presentations,  a short skit, several prayers of thanks, and a delicious meal provided by the lovely people at Fundacion Hunapu in the village of Santa Maria de Jesus. With my crew, we learned how to install concrete floors, which is our project for the week. I feel that we really got a good grasp on the technique, and I am really optimistic about this week. Our training involved...

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Mon, July 7th Earthquate Update

Dear family, friends and mission supporters:

For those who heard about the earthquake in Guatemala today, rest assured that we are all safe and sound. Although most of us did feel the tremor around 5:25am local time, it was not strong enough to employ our earthquake evacuation plan. Most of us didn't even get out of bed. Although of note for most of us on our team, it was quite a mild tremor for Guatemala standards (they have several tremors and quakes each year).

Please pray for those who lost property and some loved ones in the far northern part of Guatemala near the Mexican border.

Please check back soon for our daily blog, photo, and audio podcast updates.

God's Peace,

Brother Shawn

Shawn Smith
Director, Now is the Time for Missions

Paso a Paso - Day 6 Blog

Paso a Paso - Day 6 Blog

I did not want to come to Guatemala. As Shawn Smith says, "There is never a good time to go." For many reasons this statement was very true for me this year. I had to come to terms with the fact that this trip is not about me or the things at home that could trump my decision to go. The reason I came was for the children. 

This is my second year coming to Guatemala with Now Is The Time. Both years my primary motivation in coming was...

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Paso a Paso - Day 5 Blog

Paso a Paso - Day 5 Blog

by Garland Peabody

This is my first trip to Guatemala and I really didn't know what to expect. I was put on a floor team for the week where we would go to a family home and lay concrete on a dirt floor in a room at there home. The day started with breakfast at 6am, a van ride to Paso A Paso where we get our wheel barrows, hoes, shovels and start for the first home. Most of the rooms were about 12' x 12' and all the concrete was mixed by hand on the ground and moved to the room. I have never been so...

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Paso a Paso - Day 4 Blog

Paso a Paso - Day 4 Blog

by Natasha Rehm

Hello,  My name is Natasha and I come from Oregon, WI.  I’m 27 years old.

The idea for this trip actually came from my mom - she has had some good ideas, but this was probably her best one.  I had no idea what to expect in coming to Guatemala.  I’ve never been outside of the country much less volunteered for any sort of mission trip.  I knew I would be out of my comfort zone due to not speaking much Spanish and not coming from a religious background. The best thing about this trip is that...

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