Summer 2019 Trip Report

For one week in late June of 2019, a team of 23 adults and youth from Berkeley Covenant Church, New Hope Covenant Church of Oakland and Reality Church of San Francisco served with Mayan Partners in Panyebar, Guatemala. Continuing in our vision to cultivate authentic, Christ centered relationship with the Panyebar community, this trip was marked by a depth of relational trust and love expressed in moments of shared grief, physical labor, and corporate celebration and thanksgiving. As a group we partnered with the Colegio Bethel community, the library & Gloria, and Saludos Niños preschool. Medical visits to the sick and elderly took place through the week.

Colegio Bethel celebrated its 15th anniversary as a school community and invited us to participate in every aspect. Our group was welcomed to share in a delicious lunch, a celebratory service of worship and thanksgiving and an elaborate student driven obstacle course (the last of which involved mud, balance ropes and faces covered in flour). Through the week various art and sports activities were organized with students and teachers. 

One project involved photographing each student, developing the 8x10 black and white photo in San Pedro and then having students paint their portraits onto a transparency. Having a self-portrait was very special for each of them. In addition, youth at Bethel and from our group participated in a panel discussion answering questions about daily life, friendship, and faith in God. Students were vulnerable and very honest. Students and members of our group painted the basketball court and replaced the hoop nets.

Two years ago, one of the beloved teachers at Saludos Niños preschool, Dominga, suddenly passed away after suffering a stroke. Two months before her death, Miguel deLaveaga interviewed and created a documentary featuring Dominga and three of the teachers at the school. 

Allison deLaveaga brought the documentary back to Panyebar on our visit and showed it to Colegio Bethel students and teachers as well as Dominga’s husband and nine children. This was a very emotional moment in the lives of the community, especially for the affected family. They were deeply grateful for the gift of this film, a beautiful documentation they will always have and treasure.

One of the most special aspects to this particular trip were the number of high-school students, nearly half the group.  We felt like the time in Guatemala was especially great for them, and we also felt like they were able to authentically connect with the students from the school. We look forward in the future to more visits like this in which youth play a central role in our time with our partners in the village.

See our Summer 2017 trip report

See our Fall 2015 Newsletter

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