Past Guatemala Updates
Guatemala 2022 Update
As part of the second generation of Cross View’s Redeeming Christmas efforts in December of 2022, members of Cross View generously donated to support our brothers and sisters in Christ in Los Vasquez, Guatemala. Specifically, this transformative fundraising project was designated to provide a providing a totally new water system for the entire village of Los Vasquez. Remarkably, this project was completed in July 2022!
Los Vasquez is located in the eastern highlands of Guatemala, on the side of a mountain. There are about ninety families in Los Vasquez, and they are primarily coffee farmers.
This project was a partnership with the people of Los Vasquez, the mayor of the local province, Cross View Lutheran Church, and the Central American Lutheran Mission Society (CALMS). The people of Los Vasquez provided a substantial portion of the labor, the mayor provided heavy equipment for the digging of the main holding tank and Cross View provided the funds for the design of this project, the skilled labor and all the materials needed to complete this project. CALMS helped coordinate the project. The good news is that this project came in exactly on budget!
The entire old water system has now been replaced. Rural Guatemalans do not dig wells but rely on streams coming down the mountain side. Water is collected and then distributed to the communities. The water collection site was upgraded to provide a more efficient method of collecting water.
The men of Los Vasquez dug a trench about one foot deep over two miles long to install the new three-inch pipe water transmission pipe. The newly constructed main holding tank now holds about 25,000 gallons of water. There is a chlorinator for the system, providing a cleansing process for the water. In addition to the main holding tank, there are three distribution tanks located strategically around the village. Each of these distribution tanks hold about 10,000 gallons. This water system holds about 55,000 gallons of water for 90 families.
The men of Los Vasquez dug trenches for the pipes to reach each of the ninety homes. Some of these pipes had to go through thick vegetation in order to reach the homes. Now, each and every home in Los Vasquez has a water spigot. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Guatemala 2019 Update
On April 24-30, 2019, Tom Koch and Pastor Steve Wheeler traveled to Guatemala on an exploratory mission trip with CALMS (Central American Lutheran Mission Society). The purpose of the trip was to find ministry opportunities that would allow Cross View members, led by the Holy Spirit, to sow Gospel seeds in Guatemala.
The group visited three major sites: Santa Cruz, La Union, and Gulan. After a careful analysis of each of the sites, much conversation, abundant and prayerful deliberation, and a unanimous leading of the Holy Spirit, Tom and Pastor Steve recommended that our congregation partner with the very small village of Los Vaquez, located in the mountains surrounding the small town La Union in Zacapa.
Pastor Steve explained the rationale for our recommendation: "First, we saw a tremendous need in this little village of 55 families. Second, no church or other outside organization has ever partnered with this village. Third, we felt that the village was of a manageable size that our congregation could truly make a difference by partnering with them. Fourth, we felt a very strong connection with Carlos, the Lutheran translator and missionary with whom we would work. Fifth, the village had very receptive leadership that was excited to work with us. Sixth, we felt, by the Spirit’s leading, that there was great potential for meaningful mission and ministry there. And finally, the village demonstrated a beautiful and sincere love for the Lord Jesus Christ."
On November 17, 2019, Cross View sent a team of six people to Guatemala to engage in missionary exercises among the people of Los Vasquez.
Each day our team rode in the back of a four-wheel-drive pickup truck from La Union, where they stayed, to the community of Los Vasquez. This was a 45-minute drive each way through a scenic mountain pass. The elevation is about the same as Denver, Colorado.
The overall goal of this Mission Trip was to build relationships with the people of Los Vasquez. On Monday morning, the first thing the team did was to meet with the Cocode, the elected leaders of the village of Los Vasquez. They listened to the concerns they expressed.
On Monday afternoon, the team, along with their Guatemalan counterparts, presented three days of Vacation Bible School. The theme of the vacation Bible School was Heroes of the Bible and focused on David and Goliath, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, and finally, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Attendance was excellent, with 75 children on Monday, 100 on Tuesday, and 135 on Wednesday! In addition to reenacting these three Bible stories for the children, each day the team provided a craft to go along with the Bible story and a fresh fruit snack.
One of the primary concerns the people of Los Vasquez have expressed is the lack of drinkable water and the lack of water during the dry season. After a short jeep ride, four of our team members hiked up the mountain for 35 minutes to the source of the villages’ water. Their primary source of water is a mountain stream. They use a PVC pipe system, along with the pull of gravity, to transport the water down the mountain to their village. The water that comes down to the village is a cloudy, brown color. The village currently uses a series of three concrete block cisterns that hold less than a hundred gallons of water each. The village has no large holding tanks or storage units for the water. All the concrete block cisterns leak, and a substantial amount of water is lost throughout the year.
Team members were able to conduct multiple home visits in Los Vasquez. They were able to speak and pray with the residents of the village and give them wooden crosses lovingly made by a Cross View member.
On the last day in Los Vasquez, the team was told of a second source of water. This is a spring below the village. After a fifteen-minute walk down the mountain, they able to see that this spring actually produced clear water that some local men were drinking without boiling. The rest of the day on Thursday was spent preparing the “asado,” the community meal. Which much help, the Cross View Mission Team served 540 men, women and children from Los Vazquez!
Los Vasquez is a wonderful village that has so much potential. We thank God for the many strong Christians in this village. The people of Los Vasquez are praying for you the members of Cross View. We ask that you pray for the people of Los Vasquez. Please also pray for the Cross View Guatemala Mission Team as they continue to plan for the next mission trip. If you would like to serve on a future mission team, please contact Pastor Steve. Thanks for your support and prayers that made this trip possible.