Immanuel Guatemala Mission

 

Immanuel Lutheran Church has a long-standing international mission collaboration with Common Hope, a local organization that supports educational opportunities for the poorest in Guatemala.  Common Hope believes that education is the key to unwinding the cycle of poverty.  At the same time understanding that a child’s success in school depends greatly on his or her family’s health, safety, and stability.  Because of this Common Hope provides programs in four integrated areas: education, health care, housing, and family development. 

Many Immanuel church members sponsor individual children, allowing them to stay in school; $60 per month sponsors one child – providing school supplies and shoes and allowing family members access to medical, dental services, speech therapy, occupational therapy and psychological services.  Immanuel members have donated many used children’s shoes, school supplies, soap and office supplies that have been used by Guatemalan families. 

      

Immanuel Church has sent two teams of adult volunteers to Guatemala to do volunteer work, build houses, and learn about the Guatemalan culture, history and current needs in 2003 and in 2008.  Volunteers brought needed supplies in their suitcases, including shoes, letters to sponsored children, speech therapy materials, and empty pill bottles for the pharmacy.  Immanuel members went to Guatemala with goals of helping out in any way possible in building houses, painting, working in the pharmacy, the library, the gardens, or the kitchen.  But each person came back having received much more.  All returned with a greater understanding of the beauty of Guatemala and its people, the effects of poverty, and a stronger understanding of the interrelatedness of all of us.

            

Common Hope and its affiliate organization, Let’s Be Ready  have begun a new program starting preschools in remote villages.  Since 1 of 4 children fail to continue beyond first grade, the object of providing preschool education experience is to prepare children for first grade and continuing success in school.  This program is collecting preschool toys and supplies for the new classrooms, looking for bilingual early childhood teacher volunteers and teacher trainers, and searching for sponsors for new programs; $3,000 will pay for a teacher’s salary for an entire school year.  Immanuel members have donated several suitcases full of new and used preschool toys to this program.

 

Members of Immanuel have also participated in several medical mission trips to Chimaltenango, Guatemala, through the local organization:  International Humanitarian Surgical Team.  This organization was originally connected to Common Hope, but has since become an independent non-profit.  This group of plastic and general surgeons, nurses, speech-language pathologists, audiologists and support staff has a main goal of providing cleft lip and palate surgery to children who would otherwise go untreated.  Other surgeries provided include hernia repair and OB-GYN surgeries.  All medical supplies are donated and carried to Guatemala by participants.  Immanuel has donated many suitcases for the purpose of bringing supplies as well as blankets, books in Spanish and toys for the children in the hospital.

           

Please contact Ann Derr  for more information about volunteer opportunities in Guatemala.

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