Setting up the Lab


When I went to college, one of the best decisions that I made was to find myself a good lab partner. Someone who could measure and use the equipment and actually found it interesting to work with machines. I enjoyed lab more for the people and the social atomosphere of working around a table than what we were actually doing and my least favorite labs were the ones dealing with microbiology and cells. I could tell you each person that I worked with in lab, yet I am pressed to even remember 10 labs that I did although it is where I spent two or three afternoons a week for four years.

Yet I am thankful for these times because it has at least given me a stepstool into an area that I have been helping with – setting up the lab. We have had a few machines that have been working part of the time to test blood for different conditions. But as the hospital becomes a reality, the lab part of the hospital will be more and more important. The doctors have created a wish list of what they would like to be able to do. And I have researched and called and emailed providers within country to see how we can acquire the machines and tests to be able to do these procedures. Listening to Spanish on the phone and using a vocabulary of words that you don’t even know in English has been a challenge, but it looks like we are moving in the right direction.

Honestly, I have had a few frustrations as my brain and skill set are not gifted in the area of machines. I currently have been working on this machine for over a month trying to figure out how to get the belt to pick up the disc so that it can be read. In the process another machine went down.  And so, if there is a biotech out there or someone who loves troubleshooting machines or lab work, I would more than welcome your help.

The goal in the next month is to move from this lab



To this lab

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Where there are obviously more electrical outlets, space and light.


The lab is not just a large need for the hospital, but the community as a whole. Currently many of the schools and the governmental health clinics require lab tests to enter programs or receive treatment. If patients want to proceed, they have to pay for transportation to and from Quiche which is a two hour drive away. Plus they have to pay for their tests, etc.  And they have to hope that these machines work.  They will have to pay with us as well, but it is our hope that the tests will be available and accessible to the community as well.

And so little by little, each room of the hospital becomes a reality.

Furry Friends

I have had a love for rabbits almost all of my life.  They are clean, they don’t smell, they are soft and most importantly they aren’t sneaky or slobber on me.  And so I have been attempting to get a rabbit project going around here.  I have taken it seriously and have nine little ones to raise.  Most importantly, I am sharing the love with the little ones around here and doing my best to win the kids to my side that a rabbit makes the best pet.  Just in time for Easter!

With Love…. the 100th Post

team bachi

I used to want to live to be 100.  It’s on my bucket list.  I still want to live to be 100.  I just want to be able to still encourage and serve other people when I’m 100 – which I know isn’t the majority.  When I was in college, I added making dinner for my children and their children on my 100th birthday to my bucket list.  I’m still working on it.

And so when WordPress told me that this was my 100th post, I knew there was significance to that.  This was the 100th memory I would be sharing…. and since 100 is a significant number, I wanted to show you some pictures of who I spend my days with and what I do….

First and foremost, I do what I do because God has called me here for this purpose in this time.  Over the last two months, God has confirmed over and over again that we need to take the opportunities in front of us to speak truth and to love.  God is love.  Jesus is love.  And sometimes all it takes is a little love to change someone else’s day.  I have tried this year saying, “Whatever you have for me today Lord” every morning and to go into each day afresh.

To me teaching is pouring out love onto my students every day.  Sometimes this is in the form of knowledge.  Sometimes this is in the form of a bandaid or some Tylenol or an encouraging note or firm discipline.  But each day holds the opportunity to display love.  Teaching is really just a tool to point them towards Christ.  But if they are excited about learning.  If they see the purpose.  They can exceed their own expectations.  Learning will draw them towards Christ as their eyes continue to be opened and see things afresh and anew.  Learning will draw them towards Christ when they hear truth and embrace challenges.

Over the years I have had 1832 students walk through my doors and into my classroom.  Each year I add more.  And each year the number of students I pray for and love upon grows.  Would you pray alongside me today…..


Hodaliz using a microscope


Sulmy testing the laws of physics


Victor, Bryan and Yonal watching their rocket fly


Shirley applying physics principles


Raul testing the soda cans


The challenges of physics for the Cuarto class


Jose, Bryan, Adrian, Victor, Tevan and Sergio


Maria, Lesly and Adriana


Adrian, Jose and Dopney trying to measure vectors


Kenley, Adrian and Ericka dissecting owl pellets

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Christian,  Sandra, Mayra, Gaby, Sulmy, Shirley, Raul, Everaldo and Cesar ready to launch their cars for the Egg Drop Lab.


My Intro to Mathematics class in the University

A few of my favorite things


Those of you who know me well know that I like rabbits and I like basketball.  A little of both has been happening this month.  I guess it is fit that March Madness is in full swing.  I don’t even notice it really because my biological clock is reset to life in Latin America – and there is no March Madness.

I have had several girls come by the school and ask if I would help their basketball “team” this year.  I finally agreed and have been doing some instructing and playing.  It is much different here, I still don’t understand all of the rules, but I enjoy it just as much.



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As for the rabbits, they’re a great source of protein.  The hope is to produce babies and raise a few on the side just like my family used to do.  So far we are 0 for 3 in keeping them alive long enough to do that.  This time I started with adults with the hope that I would decrease the time it takes to reproduce.

image  We climbed this mountain to get to the house where they sell rabbits.  Let’s hope it was worth it!image


Opening Night




The first day of classes arrived and the ceremony was had.  I couldn’t help but think through it all ….that what we had talked about had really happened. I looked out over the crowd of faces as different people spoke and had chills thinking of how long some of them had waited for the opportunity. I watched their faces, read their body language and thought of their journey as well.  The Ministry of Health was here along with representatives from San Pablo, making the day a very full day, but one that also sang the praises of Christ.


During the teacher training, the representative from San Pablo spoke about Emotional Intelligence and multiple ways of teaching and learning and I was over joyed to hear her talk. Afterwards I had the opportunity to speak with her and share more and was so encouraged by the values and focus that she had for education. So thankful for all that this day help and for the opportunity in front of us.  Thanks for coming alongside us on this journey.



Work Program – Education for All


Over the last year I have learned how to value education even more than I did before.  I have seen how just a little education can light a fire and turn around someone’s life.  I have seen how a little education can give confidence to a mother to take her child to a hospital to save the child’s life.  And I have watched the twinkle of hope flow into young bodies as they realize that they can dream for the first time of a future different from working in the fields until your body fails you from years of hot sun and back breaking work.

And so our hope has been to make our school available to anyone who has a desire to lift themselves out of their current life and press on.  Our school is different.  It is not easy.  It requires work.  And if you don’t have intrinsic motivation, you may not finish.  But what is also different about our school is that we want these students to be leaders within their communities, to learn to serve others with gentleness and compassion, and to not be afraid of leading a different life than many of the adolescents that surround them.  Pregnancy and drunkenness are often the norms in adolescent life here and our students have decided to continue with their education in hopes of breaking the cycles that engulf so many here.

To do this we have created a work program where students can earn a partial scholarship that will pay for their schooling.  As part of their program, they work at the school to earn their scholarship.  In dollars, school costs $60 a month.  The students who are in the work program pay $15 a month and then work 30 total hours during the month to pay for the rest of their schooling.  They may tutor other students, keep the grounds clean and the grass cut, wash dishes in the café, sweep and mop or any other odd things that need done around the school depending on our needs.


Last year we had three students in our work program that each had their own story.  Each who wouldn’t have been able to go to school without this opportunity.  All who were bright and capable and motivated.  We have completed registration for our next class and have more students who applied for our work program than the funds to cover their costs.  Essentially if the students don’t pay, then we don’t have income to cover the costs of the Guatemalan teachers who are paid.  We had planned on limiting the number of students in our work program, but as we sorted through the applications, we know many of the families.  We know that the students truly can’t afford the cost of school.  We are reminded that we began this school for those students who could not afford to go to the capital to study or to another town.  We began this school to reach those students who lay in bed wishing they had an opportunity for education and are more than capable.  And so we are trusting God to supply the needs for them to go to school.  If you would personally like to support one of these students with either a partial or a full scholarship ($450 a year), we are looking for others that want to raise the education level in an area that is desperate for true education.


Success stories

Pedro came to us walking from the mountain to the south.  In each of his schools before he had been taunted and mocked because of how serious he was about education.  He has a thirst for knowledge like I have seen only a few times before.  He reads physics books for fun yet has the gentlest spirit.  He is most often found tutoring his classmates and is at the school from sunup until sundown because the school has become his personal safe haven. His favorite students to help are those who struggle the most and he is constantly encouraging his classmates.  He has the ability to study engineering or mathematics for his future, but humbly replies that he will study whatever door God opens for him.  His father is a pastor whose income is very little and is known for giving away much of what they have.  He easily sits atop the class academically and his future is directed completely by the doors that God opens.

Ana came to us from another area of Guatemala.  She had worked for a year saving her wages to enroll in our auxiliary nursing program.  When this program grew to become a professional nursing program, she had only enough money saved for the first year.  Since she is from another area, she also pays for her room and food, which doubles her financial need.  She comes from a family of 11 and they are helping her to pay for this portion and the work program allows her to pay for her academic portion.  For a young girl to leave her family, move to a new area and be completely on her own is very counter-cultural.  She is quiet and shy and often lacks confidence because she is a perfectionist.  Academically she finished second in her class last year and is another child that is gifted, yet without this opportunity, she would not have an opportunity to finish her schooling.  She has dreams for herself and has often had tears in her eyes as she speaks of wanting to continue on with her education.

Raquel is a different success story.  She is from a village to the north east and received her education completely in this village.  When she reached “junior high” there were only two students in her class and her teacher had about the same level of education as she did.  I remember seeing her face at each meeting where we announced the direction of the school last year and she found herself in a seat on the first day of class.  She hadn’t been in school for a few years because there was no program that she could afford.  She was the first to apply for our work program knowing that this was the only way she would be able to pay for her schooling.  As the year began, she was one of the students that struggled the most.  A combination from being out of school a few years, lacking confidence in her abilities and seeing others around her succeed while she was seriously struggling threatened to keep her from finishing out the year.  But she persevered when the switch went off in her head and she realized she really could do this.  She studied relentlessly building her base in math and language to be at the necessary level and was easily our most improved student throughout the year last year.  Her smile lights up a room and she is truly grateful for the opportunity to pursue more education.

**Names have been changed to protect their identity

There are more stories like this from our students.  For me it was a privilege to watch their growth thorughut the year as they embraced their new opportunity.  If you feel called to help support the new students asking for scholarships, their stories can be added to these others as we aim to provide an education for all who dream of breaking out of their cycles of poverty.

Cling to the Call




 I have had two confirmations in the past week….. reminders of why we are here doing what we are doing.  John Waller wrote a song called “Cling to the Call” that is on my morning playlist that is set to shuffle.  It played this morning and was the reminder I needed as I have had a heavy heart this week…..

                       … cling to the call Cling to the peace that guards your heart

                       Cling to the promise though you stumble you won’t fall

                       I will uphold you now just trust me with all

                       Just look at me and I will lead you as you cling to the call…

What is a calling?  What is the call that John talks about here?  For each person I feel it is unique.  For me it has become being obedient to the things that God asks of me in different seasons of life.  But as I reflect to all the places God has taken me and grown me – junior high, high school, college, Guatemala, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Guatemala – the call on my life has remained the same.  To love Jesus and love those He puts in my life.  All of these circumstances have changed me, challenged me, grown me into who I am today.  Yet I believe each of these experiences were important for me to be who I am today.

When I came to Guatemala, I was actually expecting something to change.  I was expecting to not be drawn to the adolescent crowd.  I was expecting to have to change who I was.  I had mentally brainstormed ways that would be more culturally appropriate to teach and relate.  The way I approach my students, the way I teach is not common.  It is very direct, very awkward at times…. And is about as far away from typical Guatemalan culture as you could get.  I actually feel out of my comfort zone teaching counter culturally as opposed to within my comfort zone in the states.  But as my time here stretched from weeks, to months to a year…. God responded clearly that He had prepared me for this time for this reason for this position – to be bold, direct and speak truth.  And He confirmed this to me over the last year as He kept on telling me He wanted something different for these students.

As I tried to grasp the language and a vocabulary to not only understand but be able to respond back, I found that it was during these times (a direct conversation with a student or another teacher) that the words flowed smoother from my tongue than any other time.  Times that I will credit only as “God Moments” as I am pretty sure I could not remember those vocabulary words again in a normal conversation.  And those were the times that gave me the most encouragement… as He confirmed to me that our calling can be cross-cultural and that He was asking me to do something different for a reason.

There are cultural differences, teaching differences, barriers, boundaries, different ways of doing things and challenges every day that many times took my heart away from the calling that I cannot deny on my life.  At times I feel as if I drifted away and was distracted as demands of paperwork and different priorities pulled me away from having the time to do what God had asked me to do at times….. but He continued to press it upon my heart and keep me steadfast focused on what was before me.  He continued to call me out and remind me how important people were to Him, how important relationships were.  And if we cling to Him, cling to what He has called us to- He upholds us.  He leads us.  He strengthens us. His love becomes our love.  And we love because He first loved us.

As we approach this Christmas season, my pastor has been doing a series entitled “Every Person has a Story.”  This is the story of how you came to Christ….. and on how you have encountered Christ in your life.  This is the story about what Christ has called you to live out in your life.  For me this has been on ongoing story – where I could write chapter after chapter.  And I know that He is not done using me.  To me it is interesting that these two challenges have closed out my school year here.  I know it is just another time where God is reminding me to keep my eyes focused on Him.

We each have a story though.  And everyone’s story is different.  Don’t be afraid to share your story.  And cling to the calling that you have in your own life as well to live out what God has asked you to do….  even when it might seem counter cultural or uncomfortable at times.

Thanks for following along on this journey – may you be blessed during this Christmas season.