As we wrap up the first week of August, we also end what should have been our last big summer mission week at Dorie’s Promise. But as you know, the summer of 2020 has not gone as anticipated for any of us. Looking back, we’re reflecting on the lasting impact of mission team gifts, even when we can’t host mission teams.
A Summer without Mission Teams
During a normal summer, several hundred volunteers descend on the guest house at Dorie’s Promise. With them, also come bags full of donations and a willingness to help us and our community partners accomplish a long list of projects.
Currently, there’s an awkward quietness in our home. Granted, our children are home full-time, but it’s not the same. No teams are eating their meals in the backyard. The bus isn’t being loaded with supplies and people each morning. Our dance parties aren’t the same without a yard full of people.
Welcoming teams to Dorie’s Promise brings special energy for all of us.
A summer (possibly summer, fall, and part of winter) without mission teams also creates a new kind of need for us. We rely on mission teams to support our daily operations with necessities like extra clothes and medicine for our kids, special updates to our homes, and funds to help bridge the gap between our operating expenses and monthly sponsorships. The generosity of mission teams is crucial for Dorie’s Promise.
Mission teams are also a blessing for the communities we serve. Every week, teams are matched with local families and organizations to complete much-needed projects. They build homes and new kitchens, pour concrete floors to reduce runoff, install safe stoves, and deliver much-needed necessities to local families.
Support from visiting teams makes a big difference in Guatemala.
Operating in Uncertainty
The circumstances of this pandemic are unlike anything we’ve ever encountered. We’re unsure when restrictions will be lifted for our Guatemalan staff, allowing them to move more freely within the country. As of yet, there are no indications when international travel will resume either. But, we’re reminded that everything we’ve done has been preparing us for this time.
2019 was a wonderfully successful year for our missions program, one where we cultivated partnerships with villages in great need. Our January and February 2020 teams continued work in these villages, partnering with local families and a tutoring center that offers vital resources to local children. Unbeknownst to any of us, they would be working on our final projects for the year and helping families prepare for a global pandemic.
Transforming the lives of orphaned and abandoned children is our passion. We need you to fall in love with our children and want to help them.
Why then do we host mission teams? Because we also need you to understand the circumstances creating the need for Dorie’s Promise. We need you to meet single mothers struggling to raise their children. You need to listen as families explain why their children work instead of going to school. You need to see, hear, touch, and smell what it means to be a part of the working poor in Guatemala.
The reality of poverty hasn’t disappeared during the pandemic.
Evaluating the Lasting Impact of Mission Team Gifts
If not for the teams who have visited Dorie’s Promise, life in the midst of this pandemic would be even more difficult for those we have the pleasure of working with.
Our children at Dorie’s Promise have all the school supplies they need to participate in distance learning because of donations from mission teams. Our craft shelves are full of leftover supplies. (Which come in handy now because it’s hard to think of new activities after 5 months!) Beyond the essentials, our kids can make the most of quarantine because of our generous donors.
In the two months preceding the nationwide closure in Guatemala, our community partners received much-needed donations—hygiene supplies, medicine, clothing, and food. Several more families received new houses, complete with new wood-fired cooking stoves and bunk beds before the shutdown as well. One last big load of food and essentials was even sent to the tutoring center when we could still travel between departments (states).
Everyone’s gifts during our last decade of missions work are making a difference now. Every house and kitchen is a safe place for a family during the pandemic. Food can be cooked in clean spaces. Families are not sleeping on the floor. The lives of many families in Guatemala are excruciatingly hard right now, but our teams give families the stability of a home.
The lasting impact of mission team gifts are found in every dry and secure home, every shared memory, every encouraging word, and every moment given for the benefit of someone else. We’re thankful for every person who has given their time, money, love, support, and trust to Dorie’s Promise. Thank you. We can’t wait to see you again.