John and Brandon.
John and Brandon. (Submitted photo)

BENNINGTON -- From March 8 through 15, a group of 24 people representing Grace Christian School went to Dories' Promise Orphanage located in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The group consisted of 8 adults and 16 high school seniors.

The children of Dorie's Promise were excited to see so many visitors. Pablo Villagran, missions director for Dorie's Promise, stated that often times there aren't enough missionaries for one-on-one time with the kids, but this week was different. Each child had a ‘buddy' that was ‘theirs.' The GCS team was able to spend many hours just playing and showing God's love and affection to the orphans.

While in Guatemala, the group did a variety of community service projects. They served lunch to the children of scavengers, (scavengers are individuals who pick through the trash at the Guatemala City dump), they visited the special needs children and teen mothers at one of the two Guatemalan State Run orphanages, they built a community center in one ghetto and a sidewalk entrance for another ghetto. In addition, they distributed several thousand dollars of clothing, personal hygiene products, school supplies and food in each of the ghettos. There were so many highlights on the trip; however, the general consensus of all was that delivering basic necessities and being able to pray for them was the best experience.

Jennifer Morse, Mission Trip Coordinator for Grace Christian School stated that this group of individuals truly had God's hand upon them in their work. Their love of God showed in all that they did. Morse has served as a coordinator for other mission trips and ranks this as the most organized, enjoyable, life-changing organization she has dealt with.

"I would advise other teams planning to go with this organization that they need to be prepared to be changed forever." Morse said, "After a trip like this, you can never be the same." Morse went on to say, "This type of trip is something that every man, woman and child in the US should have the opportunity to participate in. In the USA, the focus is typically on material possessions. It is in these items that individuals find their self-worth and we allow things to determine our level of happiness. However, in Guatemala, where they lack even the basic necessities of life, they are filled with joy and happiness because the focus is on relationships. This trip was extremely convicting."

Student volunteer, Ben Yang, stated, "the suitcases we brought full of items were now empty, but the givers hearts were full". He went on to say that the people who received the gifts did not seek the gift, but the love with which it was given. That love, was what made the Guatemalan people happy.

Schyler and Hannah with Lester.
Schyler and Hannah with Lester. (Submitted photo)
He closed his statement by quoting 1 Corinthians 13:3 "If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."

Another student volunteer, Holly Kanonik shared this, "God shines through man's weaknesses. Throughout the whole week I was vulnerable, stretched to my limits and thrown outside my comfort zone. But it was because I was vulnerable and out of my comfort zone that I experienced immeasurable joy. Joy that only comes from God. Joy that only comes when God works through weaknesses." She finished her comments by quoting 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 which says, "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Casey paints a child’s nails.
Casey paints a child's nails. (Submitted photo)
" Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." She emphasized once again, "God's strength is made perfect in man's weaknesses. It was truly amazing to have God work through me."

Summarizing the general consensus of the team was Hannah Cecilia Darling who stated, "The communities and people we visited in Guatemala are poor in material things but rich in love and faith."

Grace Christian School is a non-denominational Christian school serving children in preschool through 12th grade. For more information about Grace Christian School, call 802-447-2233.