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 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...
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.