2016 Camp Guatemala!
This past November, Dave Naples and I had the privilege of attending Camp Guatemala as Bethesda’s representatives. We helped and participated in various camp activities, including games, worship times and meal times with 67 campers and their helpers. We had the privilege of being their hands and their feet for a whole week. One of the highlights was delivering over 20 new and refurbished wheelchairs to leave with campers to make their day to day living easier.
Camp Guatemala is a place where campers know they are accepted for who they are and will be treated as a whole person – not simply as a person with a disability or someone in a wheel chair. It was an incredible honour to hear their stories, share in their prayers and be a part of their camp family.
At the end of the week, each camper graduates and has the opportunity to say a few words. Most of the campers first give thanks to God and then to the ‘confidantes’ or camp counselors, and finally to us the volunteers for traveling such a distance to spend time with them. We, however, feel that we are the ones that have been blessed and we go home feeling recharged and with our cups overflowing. Thank you for this opportunity to serve in this remarkable way. Many lives, including ours, have been changed by this experience.
Saundra Roger, Employment Services Coordinator
Bethesda Staff and Board Directors will be raising funds to help Hope Haven Canada pay for shipping containers of wheelchairs and special equipment to Guatemala.
Bethesda Foundation President and Friends build homes for needy families in Guatemala
Eight volunteers - 4 from Langley & 4 from Smithers - built 3 houses, gave out food hampers, and clothing to some very needy Guatemalan families. We also had some fun and visited an Orphanage in Antigua, where unwanted children with disabilities are abandoned.
see You Tube video below...
2014 KICK OFF
We will soon be kick starting our Fall activities in support of people with disabilities living in Guatemala. These activities include the Container Campaign (October), the Gift Collection (late-Oct through mid-Nov) and attendance at the third week of Camp Guatemala (November 22-29). Watch for further information in weeks to come. Thank you to everyone who has already been actively involved in various ways!
We have 3 employees joining the North American team at Camp Guatemala this year: Carolyn K. (Richmond region), Saundra R. (Abbotsford region), and Alyse K. (Northern BC region). Please remember these people in prayer as they prepare to represent Bethesda at Camp.
Bethesda Staff and Board Directors raised $12,021 to help Hope Haven Canada pay for shipping containers of wheelchairs and special equipment to Guatemala.
BETHESDA GUATEMALA MINISTRY SPRANG INTO ACTION IN 2008
In 2008 Bethesda employees and Board Directors wanted to share their abundance with others and soon developed a co-ministry partnership with Hope Haven Canada, a charity supporting families and their children with disabilities in Guatemala.
Many families in Guatemala struggle in poverty and they take on a new struggle when caring for a child with a disability. Many individuals with disabilities ambulate by either crawling on the ground or are carried around by a family member. A mobility aide such as a wheelchair is a luxury and this is where Hope Haven and Bethesda helps by collecting wheelchairs and other special equipment to be distributed to needy individuals in Guatemala.
An unused wheelchair sitting in someone's garage here in British Columbia that is donated will dramatically improve the quality of life for a child, teen or adult with a disability. The wheelchairs collected by Hope Haven and Bethesda are sent to Guatemala in large containers and are then refurbished at a small repair shop. The shop employs adults who, themselves, have disabilities. Once the wheelchairs are looking "good as new", they are matched with a needy person.
Hope Haven and Bethesda are happy to pick up any used or damaged wheelchairs, parts, walkers, canes and crutches.
A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
In 2010 Bethesda’s Brittani and Joyce returned from Guatemala where they joined up with Hope Haven Canada and Bethel Ministries (a Christian charity in Guatemala) to support adults with disabilities at a local camp. After many months of planning and organizing the date had finally arrived. Two days before, Joyce and Brittani packed hundreds of donated items (toiletries, clothing and other gifts) into large suitcases. These items had been collected to distribute to the campers. Bethesda also had been gathering used wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility aids to ship to the Central American country. Many of the items that we take for granted are highly valued in this poor country.
After a long flight Joyce and Brittani arrived in Guatemala City and they then traveled 90 miles to Chimaltengango before reaching the camp where they were introduced to the campers who had also traveled many miles.
Campers had an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, to sleep in a comfortable bed as well as to share and encourage one another. The needs of the campers were significant - many did not even have seat cushions or foot rests on their wheelchairs, others had severe pressure sores and scrapes are common place. Many of the wheelchairs were in very poor condition and the volunteers used donated parts to repair the chairs in a small workshop. Some individuals would receive a new or refurbished chair.
“The poverty we saw in the villages of Guatemala confirmed for me that Bethesda can help bring hope and help to people with disabilities who struggle in ways that you and I cannot imagine. Bethesda’s involvement may be small but God will bless whatever we do in His name to express His love and compassion.” - Joyce
“There were many situations that I witnessed which caused me to feel hopeless and depressed yet the individuals themselves were simply thankful for what they were receiving.” - Brittani