By Pablo Villagran-
One of the familiar faces to our mission team is a resident of the ghetto in Guatemala City who has been helping arrange mission team projects there for more than two years.
Dona Juanita became connected to Dorie’s Promise through our driver, Abel, who grew up in the same community.
At the time, we were looking for a community that we could help and Dona loved the idea of receiving help from our teams. From the start, DP’s relationship with Dona has been a two-way street and has been steadily growing by the day ever since.
Not only does she work with our mission coordinator to plan each project, but this mother of eight also interacts with each mission team, welcoming them at the ghetto gate with a big smile.
Dona then directs them to the houses of the families (that she knows better than we do) that need assistance. She has helped our teams build a new home, put in cement flooring, and many other improvements to the community.
In addition to repairs and renovations, our teams prays with the families they have spent time with. After the work is complete, Dona usually organizes a soccer game for the older children and brings in a piñata for the younger ones. She even brings the mission groups tostados with guacamole as a way to say, “Thank you” after each project.
We are delighted at the way this relationship has developed. Dona has proven to be the perfect connection between our teams and the community as everyone who meets her comes to love and respect her.
Thanks to her, activities are administered and completed in a timely fashion. Her help not only makes it safer for our mission teams, but also enables us to connect with residents because of the trust she has built in the community.
Recently, Joanna Artig, a resident of Circles Pines, Minnesota, came with a group from St. Joseph’s church in Lino Lakes to Dorie’s Promise. She told us that Dona had not only helped make her group’s visit smooth, but that Dona had an impact on the entire team.
“Just hearing her story and learning that she helps everyone before she helps herself, made me understand how deserving she is of everything positive in life,” Joanna says. “Her story brought our whole group to tears. She helped us all learn to be humble and gracious.”
Beth Bach, a member of Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago, says her 16-member team was impressed with how they never felt unsafe or threatened in any way while at the ghetto.
“Dona has a heart of gold,” Bach says. “It’s obvious that she has been given a gift to shepherd others.”
Through Dona’s involvement, mission team members feel safer, get to meet and know a member of the ghetto community, and enjoy the gift of getting to know Dona’s life story. She has been not only a great asset to Dorie’s Promise, but has also become a true friend along the way.
This is the story of Dorie’s Promise: believers from across the world coming together to bring their unique gifts and talents to better the lives of others in the name of the Lord.