Growing Hope Globally Board Travels to Guatemala

Growing Hope Globally just completed its first international board meeting in 9 years, as they gathered in Guatemala. Much of the board, the staff, and a few guests were able to join for this week-long trip.

Along with normal board business, worship and prayer together, and some sight-seeing, they engaged in conversation; learning of the beauty and history of Guatemala from those who have worked and served in development and advocacy detailing the challenges and opportunities.  The violence of the civil war played a prominent role in their learning, as the ripple effects of the atrocities are still being felt.

While together they also viewed the Rick Steves’ documentary Hunger and Hope: Lessons from Guatemala and Ethiopia, which explores the issues and the examples of good development happening in Guatemala and Ethiopia as a way to tell the broader story of what is happening around the world when it comes to hunger and how to best respond to those challenges. Rick Steves was also able to join them via zoom to answer questions and explore what they learned and observed in the documentary.

After their shared time together in Antigua, they split into groups to visit three of our Overseas Programs in Guatemala, Guatemala Nebaj Quetzaltenago, Guatemala Valle de Pollochic, and Guatemala Sayaxché. They visited with local staff and local program participants and heard about the contextual ways the local communities that they are working in are trained and empowered.

In one community visited, supported by the Guatemala Nebaj Quetzaltenago program and it’s local partner Conferencia de Igelesias Evangélicas de Guatemala (CIDEG) that is implemented by Church World Service, “patio gardens” offered expanded nutritious diet in communities where stunting has been the norm. Such gardens not only offered a source of nutrition, but another means for generating income, that often went to help children go to school. One young woman, named Marta, shared how the patio garden, along with her mother Maria’s weaving, enabled her to have the financial resources to finish high school. Now Martha and her mother are focused on covering the costs for her two younger sisters to finish school. Martha’s hope is to go to university in another year and study human rights law. This was just one of the many stories of transformation.

Board member and Yakima Washington Growing Project co-leader Dan Snipes said, “We often think issues like global hunger and child malnutrition are too big for us to make a difference, but through the stories that were shared and what we were able to see through the gardens, animal husbandry, and weaving lives are improved today and it has made lasting impact for future generations.”

The Guatemala Valle de Pollochic program is implemented by World Renew with their local partner The Asociacion de Desarrollo Integral Polochic (ADIP). This is a relatively new project, providing a unique opportunity for those who visited to see the beginning of this development work to empower the local people. Early signs were hopeful, despite the challenges, as individuals were working with chickens, mushrooms, and trying to leverage their proximity to tourism in the area, as a source of future income.

Toni Lundeen of the Sandwich, IL Growing Project shared, “It’s exciting because they are at the beginning of the project. Because it is new, it will be fun to see stories of what will happen. They were such wonderful people and I’ll be praying for them every day.”

These are but a few of the experiences people had as they visited the programs, each inspiring in their own right.

As Board Member Claude Schrock, from the Grabill, IN Growing Project shared “I appreciate visiting these projects and seeing the hope that people have…Growing Hope Globally is presenting hope.”

If you would like to join Growing Hope Globally, watch for future travel announcements on the travel page on our website and future newsletters.

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