Santo Tomás - Day 6 [Blog]

By: Pastor Karen Norman Rees

Ten years ago, my daughter somehow convinced me and my husband to take her all the way to Guatemala. Two years later, we made return trip. It’s been awhile since then, and we felt it was time to return. We quickly noticed a lot can happen in 10 years.


  • My husband and I seemed set in our career paths; I was a hospital chaplain, he was an office manager at a construction company.
  • There was this quiet, incredibly hard working young boy brought by his mother and sisters.
  • My husband and I faced the concerns any parent would face when taking their seven year-old daughter to a third-world country with a language barrier.
  • Close to all roles were filled by those in me and my husband’s generation.
  • Now is the Time had only originated around two years prior. They dealt with challenges seen by many new missionary organizations. It is difficult to ensure the sustainability of the projects you only get a short time to implement.



  • Currently I work at a women’s correctional facility. I am able to transfer the skills I have gained at my everyday job to the jobs I have worked on here in Guatemala, such as accurate performance in non-traditional, high-intensity conditions. My husband has had series of jobs since then which has strengthened his ability to remain flexible when unexpected challenges arise.
  • Nick Gaston has remained a diligent worker and has demonstrated growth into an incredible young man with an amazing faith and the ability to be a leader and guide others through new situations in a foreign country who I consider a giant of faith.
  • Our daughter has now graduated high school and has used this trip as a demonstration of her self-reliance.
  • Roles are now being filled by the young people of the next generation. This does not give me an excuse to decide to not come. In reality, it gives me challenges to move beyond that to which I have become accustomed.
  • It is exciting to see the relationship Now is the Time has formed with Corazón de los Niños. Corazón de los Niños see the necessity of work that is autosostenible (self-sustaining) and they ensure that the families that are beneficiaries of our missionary work take an active part in being accountable for their families and communities.

One thing that seemingly always remains constant is the need for mission work. That might be in your own backyard or countries away. I would like to encourage you to take the first step. It might not be easy for you; I’ll make no claims that it will. I can remember how I felt those years ago, but I have found it one of the most-rewarding experiences I can imagine.

Hopefully see you in less than ten years this time,
Pastor Karen Norman Rees