18 Oct A Look Back at Summer Missions with Bertha
Just six short weeks ago, Bertha, our Community Outreach Director, and her team were winding up a busy summer of successful community projects. The last big summer mission teams had transitioned home and her team was easing their way into fall.
Although our busy summer missions season is over, Bertha is working hard to review our summer projects and look ahead to 2020.
A look back at summer 2019
In just 12 weeks, Bertha’s team and our visiting mission teams completed 551 projects with our community partners.
For the last few years, we’ve been honing our community outreach program to find the best way for our mission teams to help local communities. We’re looking for the best combination of our staff’s skills, each team’s abilities, and the needs of our partner communities. We’ve tried lots of different projects and finally found a niche that meets real needs for families with quality projects. We believe in giving our best to the families we serve.
This year, we focused on small, meaningful projects for families that impacted their daily lives – clean kitchens with concrete floors and vented stoves, weather-tight small homes with concrete floors, clean water, groceries, and help for schools. Adding mini libraries in several villages was one of Bertha’s favorite projects because it gave children a chance to read outside of school.
Even better for our communities, we found reliable local laborers who worked with our staff to do much of the site work before teams arrived.
We created jobs for local men AND more families received assistance because the job sites were ready for finish work when our mission teams arrived.
Another exciting benefit of our new program is the deep relationships Bertha has with leaders in our partner communities. We’re not jumping from one village to another each year. Instead, we’re choosing to work with only a few communities for longer periods of time. Teams who worked in Santiago Sacatepéquez, Marillanos, Potrero Grande, El Palmar, and Sanarate were all part of our ongoing promise to help communities grow. We’ve partnered with the local government and local leaders in each of these communities for several years to help identify families with the greatest needs, creating a partnership of support that lasts long after our teams leave.
This year, we also added the village of San Nicolás as a partner community. Although Bertha was not looking for another community to serve, the needs of San Nicolás found her. She explains, “God puts people who serve on the road as a means to reach those places where there is need, and this was what happened with this community.” We shared about the chance encounter leading her to San Nicolás earlier this year.
Working in the same communities also allows Bertha to remain connected to the families we serve. She can see how much our small projects impact their lives long-term. We love getting updates about the families, especially when we hear about how the families we help are reaching out to others around them as well.
Bertha’s favorite memory from the summer of 2019 was the first home our teams built. That family was especially motivated and thankful for their new home. They worked hard to prepare for the team in advance and worked alongside team members to complete the project. According to Bertha, “this demonstrates how God’s blessings reach those who truly value them.” We’re thankful our team had a small part in being a blessing to this family.
Looking ahead to 2020
Bertha is already thinking about how to make our program even better in 2020. She’s meeting with local leaders to discuss which needs are most critical in their communities and how we can help. Most importantly, she’s considering what changes we can make to have an even greater impact with our teams, whether that’s adding different projects, finding ways to include even more local laborers, or going even deeper in a few communities. She’s committed to always improving how we serve.
We’re thankful for a great 2019 summer mission season, for Bertha’s leadership, for the hard work of our missions staff, and for everyone who visited us this summer. 2020 is shaping up to be an even more impactful year. If you would like to join us at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala and serve with our missions team, visit our Trips page for more details.