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My biggest frustration with your donation [COVID-19]

Quarantine probably isn’t the same for the people of El Rosario as it is for you.  There’s no high-speed internet.  Actually, there’s almost no internet at all.  No computers.  No Amazon.  No Netflix.  No big screen tv’s.

Most homes are 300-400 square feet for families of 5+.  Some families have electricity, but it’s generally reserved for work at night.

As the lockdown trudges on, COVID-19 takes a tighter grasp of this tiny country.  Cases are rising and death is following.

In Guatemala, white flags identify families who need food. People fly them over their doors in hopes of a little relief.  They also stand roadside, mostly women and the elderly, but you’ll often see an entire family standing watch beneath the flag.  THEIR DESPERATION IS PALPABLE.

Whenever I go off campus, I put together 5 bags of food to hand out along the way.  I don’t come back until they’re gone.

The money you send gives them more than food.  It gives them hope.  I know that sounds dramatic, but I assure you, it’s not.  You’re letting them know, “You’re not alone”, “I care about you”, “God cares about you”.

My biggest frustration with your donation IS THAT YOU CAN’T DELIVER FOOD WITH ME.  It’s frustrating that you can’t look into their eyes.  It’s frustrating that you can’t see their relief.  I’m truly sorry for that.

A recent article in La Prensa Libre, The Guatemalan Free Press, said “tourism is closed until the second quarter of 2021”, April at the earliest.  There hasn’t been an official announcement, but my interpretation is that the airport won’t be open to foreigners.  It may mean the airport is shut down completely. I’m not sure.  The President spoke at a recent press conference and said that if the number of new cases daily reaches 400, he’ll shut the country down for 15 days.  All business.  Everything.

I can assure you, there will be greater need as the months roll by.

As extreme as that is, I have to remember, this country is FRAGILE.  There’s very little medical infrastructure.  I also have to remember, this isn’t my home country.  I’m still a visitor.  It would be prideful to criticize their decisions.  That’s not why we’re here anyway.  We’re here to serve.  To love.  To spread the Gospel.

______________________________

Last Thursday I drove to the Chimaltenango market to buy supplies for this week’s food deliveries. The market is HUGE, as in, miles long.

As the market was closing and the sun was fading, just outside the market, there was a designated area for the days trash.  I first noticed about 15 dogs foraging through the pile.  I could see old fruits and vegetables, coconut husks, empty boxes and full trash bags.

And then, I lost my breath.

There were people competing with the dogs for the best scraps.  They were taking anything that was remotely valuable or edible.  One man held a bag that had a few tostada shells in it.  He lifted it up to his nose, and then put it in his backpack.

I parked my truck and asked if they wanted a bag of food.  I know.  Stupid question.

In unison they answered, “Yes.”

I gave them a load of fresh vegetables, about 25 lbs each.  One man noticed a bag with plantains.

“Can I trade for that one?”

I smiled, “Of course!”

I haven’t stopped thinking about them.  Where do they live?  Where do they sleep?  Do they have kids?

I have to go back.

______________________________

What surprised you most about this story?

You can read our last post, Love Your Neighbor As Yourself to meet some of the people we love and serve.

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  1. You description breaks my heart. You all are so brave and a gift from God for the people of El Rosario.
    God bless you and your family and all your extended family there.

    1. Sue, thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I assure you, we’re not brave. The women who are waving white flags, a flag of surrender, they’re the brave ones. All our love. ❤️

  2. As I read your post, I was overwhelmed with the immensity of what you all are facing. Everyone I know there is trying to get all of their resources organized so they can mobilize and help people. I read and I feel guilty about grumbling about being in semi lock-down where I can go buy almost anything I need any day of the week. I can jump into a Zoom meeting or connect with others in a dozen different ways. I know I can’t get there but I also know that God is pleased with your faithfulness and is going to pour in the resources you need as you have faithfully used what He has already given. I miss seeing your family and am praying for you.

    1. Brother, HOW ARE YOU? It’s a different Guatemala today than it was when you left. But I guess the whole world is different. Thank you for your prayers. We’ll continue to give until our cupboards are bare. I’m praying the President doesn’t shut the country down but as you well know, it’s a dense country and when people don’t self distance, the virus passes more quickly. Stay safe. Stay close to Jesus.

  3. Thank you as ALWAYS my friend for sharing your insights how COVID is impacting El Rosario, Chimaltenango & Guatemala as a whole. Reading these words and seeing the struggles thru your eyes and HEART is invaluable. Thank you for reminding me when I complain about “how bad I have it or how bad the US has it”, I’m still truly blessed as are most who live in the US. Thank you, no really, THANK YOU for being on the ground and facing this head on. As I’ve heard you say many times, may God allow you to cross paths with those he wants you to meet and for you to have the vision to see each and every one!! I love you Bro!!

    1. Thank you for everything you do for this ministry. Thank you for praying. Thank you for caring about us as a family, each and every one of us. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. (You have no idea how much that means.) I love you bro.

  4. Raw reality, thanks for ur words, always a blessing

    1. Claudia, it’s amazing the road we’ve traveled together. I JUST found a photo of you and Vonda at a market in Guatemala City when we first arrived. I remember the days in Antigua, STRUGGLING to learn Spanish. Thank you! Who knew our lives would be so tightly sewn together by the 4 littles we adopted. All our love!

  5. Love, compassion and so humbled. Nearly ashamed of myself that I have ‘things’ and food and they have nothing.
    Oh Lord break my heart for what breaks yours! Donation at the weekend bro. Love ya’ll. God bless.

    1. Byron, thank you for what you’re doing in Northern Ireland and for what you’re doing in Guatemala! I hope to one day see you in El Rosario but if not, I’ll see you in Glory brother!

  6. Heartbreaking……hopeful…..convicting

    1. I couldn’t agree more. 💔

  7. Hello George and Vonda =)
    How I miss seeing you and family interact with the families and boys in your beautiful village.
    I would love to donate for groceries but I do not have a cell phone. Is there any other way to donate?
    May our ABBA continue to bless you and your family daily.
    What the young men learn from your wonderful school will always be with them and the lessons will always have a ripple affect where ever they go and whom ever they touch spiritually and emotionally will continue on til the end of days.
    May you continue in good health and of good mind.
    Shalom
    Hannah

    1. Hannah, IT IS SO GOOD TO HEAR FROM YOU! ❤️ Our family misses the boys SO MUCH. This WILL end and we WILL be reunited. 🙏🏽 Thank you for your kind words and prayers. Peace be with you.

      If you would like to donate you can do it at the top of this page by clicking (Donate Now) or you can write a check to Ordinary Missionaries and get it to Sandi.

      All our love.

  8. No. Words. I love you Sisneros family. I love you Guatemala. I PRAY God will give you release and relief TOMORROW! Keep fighting, hoping. YOUR GOD WILL COME. Luchando! La esperanza!

    1. Luchando siempre. Full of hope. Full of Jesus. Thank you for being here with us Kelly!

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