As a church, we have experienced some transformative encounters in Guatemala. five trips, thirty one team members, and thousands given in aid and water relief. The stories we have told of God’s movement and the ways in which those experiences have nudged us toward Christlikeness are impossible to measure. For a church our size, we should be so honored at the ways God has used us to accomplish some of His work in that beautiful and often-forgotten country.

Our efforts and relationships in Guatemala will continue now and in the future, however, Tuesday night we made the excruciating decision to cancel this year’s trip. We are grieved as a leadership team – our pastors and elders, but confident we have discerned God’s best for Disciples AND for our partners in Guatemala.

There are two main reasons for this year’s cancellation,

First, with ten of our former team-members pregnant or having just welcomed a new baby, those most connected to this work are just sidelined this year. Additionally, interest from new or returning members not directly impacted by the baby-rush around disciples has been slow-going. Past triumphs and failures have taught us that bringing a team of three or four to tackle the scope of work we face is just not wise, for a myriad of reasons.

Secondly, EcoFiltro giving is very low. In fact, by this time last year, with even less promotion than this year, we had already raised several thousand dollars. This year? Less than $700. Our efforts are better spent remaining stateside and using some of the money we might have spent on the trip to donate to EcoFiltros.

So for these reasons and others as well, we are confident that the best and wisest move is not to  force it this year. We will double back on the trip again next June, and I am full of faith that our team will once again fill up to overflowing with interested team members, just like last year. If you have had any interest, it is never too early to make your commitment for 2019.

For now, we are still going to send what EcoFiltros we can for this summer, but we will extend the deadline until August in hopes of raising more money. Remember every $50 given provides two years clean drinking water for a family of four. This is real. Lives are saved every time we provide a filter. So if God is leading, give today. Be sure to write “EcoFiltro” in the memo or notes.

Finally, would you say and prayer of intercession for our Guatemala ministry partners today? Pastors Erwin and Erma, Tita, and the whole team at Vidas Plenas covet your prayers greatly.

-Pastor Stu