Templeton Methodist church members on a mission in Guatemala
Tiny bottles of soap, shampoo, aspirin and tubes of toothpaste littered the floor of the Templeton United Methodist Church parsonage on Monday.
Pastor Joni Williams and three others worked meticulously to pack the items into suitcases — along with homemade teddy bears, blankets and school supplies — to get ready for a seven-hour flight that will take them to work helping the needy in Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala, on Sunday.
“We have to make sure everything fits just right so we can get it all down there,” Williams said.
The weeklong trip is the first for Williams, as well as Karen Cobbett and Cub Jones from the Widnoon United Methodist Church, and Julie Cloak and Jenna Fox from Templeton United Methodist.
The group are members of a 40-person team from Moving Mountains Missions, an organization that sponsors missionary work around the world. Each of them will bring suitcases with 50 pounds of supplies for the people they are helping in Guatemala.
The group will build chicken coops and bunk beds, host Bible school for children and replace steel roofs for families in the impoverished town on the slopes of an active volcano near Guatemala's capital city of Antigua.
“The main thing is to build relationships with the people there and let them know other people do care about their plight,” Williams said.
Cobbett went on a similar mission trip to Columbia, independently, in 2012. She said it was a humbling experience.
“There are just so many people out there who need help, and that's what God told us to do — to help one another,” Cobbett said. “When I went, I didn't know anybody or any of the language, but I quickly found out a smile was universal.”
The trip will cost the group about $8,000, which was funded through donations and fundraisers.
“People were just so generous, we've now got some seed money for another trip,” Williams said. “It may be to go back to Guatemala, or somewhere else, but we're excited to see what we can do to help.”
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or firstname.lastname@example.org.