Fist Congregational Church

Guatemala Mission Trip 2019

Guatemala Mission Trip October 12-18, 2019



Living in Traverse City, surrounded by the beauty of Grand Traverse Bay, we can easily become complacent about our accessibility to clean drinking water. Yet, over 700 million people globally are affected by a water crisis and face serious health risks and water related illnesses. Children are especially at risk from contaminated water, preventing them from going to school and struggling with chronic illnesses and even death. The impact on the family and the community as a whole is difficult for us to truly grasp.

Update from Guatemalan Mission Team: October 29, 2019

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

- Acts 1:8

“What an experience the past week has been!” said Marilyn Vlach, Guatemala Mission team leader. It’s hard to sum up all the amazing things the Guatemalan Mission group saw and experienced over six short days in October of 2019. We had come to install water filters and spread the Gospel of Jesus in the tiny village of Los Cerritos with Filters of Hope Mission. We installed 65 life changing water filters, witnessed to 177 people and saw 41 people accept Jesus as their personal Savior.

Many of us were fearful about traveling to a third world country, wondering about our safety. Many had doubts about witnessing the Gospel in large groups. Many worried about the weather, the bugs, the food, our health, and whatever other invisible concerns we could concoct. After the week was done we all agreed that our fears were unfounded and we were so thankful that we had gone on the mission trip.

Some of the words that we used to describe our trip were:

Awesome, Inspiring, Overwhelming, Life changing, Impactful, Enjoyable, Relevant, Rewarding, Humbling, Loving

We received more than we brought to the people of Los Cerritos. The people were warm, welcoming and thankful for our presence. They greeted us with open arms and a wild display of firecrackers. They showed us that people who don’t have much can be generous and kind. They prayed for us as much as we prayed for them. They fed us a beautiful banquet from their hard earned food stores, treated us to fresh coconut drinks and snacks, and came together as a community to bid us a tearful and heartfelt farewell.

It was transformative! Our lives have been changed forever. Part of our hearts will always reside in those muddy streets of Los Cerritos with our new found friends. We will continue to pray for their safety and health. We have also deepened friendships and made new friends in the church, something that doesn’t happen just by sitting in a pew next to someone for 30 odd years.

As we come home to Traverse City, we know that the memories will fade, but we have been tasked with a job by our Filters of Hope Mission Leaders, Josh and Andrea Geisinger, to continue to bear witness of God’s salvation and gifts in our home community. It is a big task and we pray that we are up to it. And we look forward to our next mission trip!!


Update from Guatemalan Mission Team: July 11, 2019

We would like say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported our fundraising efforts financially with donations the past couple of months or by attending our Panera Bread Fundraiser, purchasing our homemade cinnamon rolls (yum!), ordering products from Vollwerth Meats, or ordering Guatemalan coffee from Higher Grounds. We are thankful for the generosity of these organizations and their willingness to support missional projects such as this.

We would especially request that FCC members be in prayer for our team: Judy Benson, Eric & Pam Davis, Sharon Edson, Chris & Herb Fluharty, Nancy Kaltenbach, Karen Rudolph, Debra Schweitzer, Lois Smits, Barb Springsteen, Marilyn & Jan Vlach

Our prayer is that God will use us to further his kingdom and additionally, that those people receiving the filters will know God’s love by our acts.

See all the photos from our trip on Facebook! CLICK HERE