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Monday, December 30, 2013

Changing Lives

In February, my family and I have the pretty amazing opportunity of traveling to Guatemala to assist an organization that helps some of the country's least fortunate children.  The closer it gets to our departure, the more stoked I am actually getting.  It does scare me to no end considering we are traveling to a high crime country and having to walk across an unstable bridge, but overall, I am excited to help.

Those that have known me for quite some time know that our family was not rich growing up.  We had plenty of struggles.  Our school attire often came from a black trash bag from Salvation Army.  We had several Christmases only due to the generosity of others from our church.  A lot of our food came from our church's welfare program.  All of these experiences have given me the unique outlook on life.  All of these experiences were inconveniences.  Throughout all of it, we had a roof over our heads, clothes on our back, and food in our bellies.  I can not imagine the heartache that my mother felt as we grew up and had to worry about these things.  With that said, I can in no way fathom how some of the parents in third world countries go through life in much more dire circumstances.

Casa de Sion is an amazing organization that is trying to teach children and parents in parts of Guatemala how to live and take care of themselves.  From their website:

"Our mission is to enhance the lives of Guatemala’s least fortunate children by nourishing their bodies as well as their minds with nutritional, education and medical initiatives. We also provide emergency relief to surrounding communities suffering from natural and man-made disasters.
Our vision is to move from community to community, as we gather support, in the pitifully poor Highlands of Central America administering our programs. While creating a minimal amount of dependency, we want to help this next generation become healthier, wiser and more self-reliant. We want them to become better able to care for themselves and their children.
Our programs in Guatemala are funded by us and by generous donors. 100% of ALL donations goes towards the programs. We do not take any overhead."

I am so grateful for this opportunity that we have to help make others' lives just a little bit better.  I'm grateful for the experiences that I had growing up that have shaped my life to be grateful for the chance to help others. I'm sure, if circumstances were different, I wouldn't be as affected by poverty and struggles as I am now.  Maybe it wouldn't matter to me as much.  I know how amazing it is to have someone help you.  We may not have the struggles now as we did when we were children, but I know that I wouldn't have been able to buy school books on a few occasions through college if my mother hadn't helped.  She has taught us so much about helping others.  I'm excited for this opportunity to not only change someone's life, but mine as well.  I have no doubt this experience will change me forever.

I have to make it known that we are in no way being paid to make this trip.  The organization is not footing the bill for us to go.  100% of the trip is being paid by those of us that are going.  Passport fees, plane tickets, rent, transportation, and food are all being covered by us.  Some my ask, well why are you doing it?  I think I have already answered that.  Because this is a particularly costly trip (mostly the plane ticket), I have been trying to scrounge up donations to help offset the cost.  I know we're just getting out of one of the most expensive holidays of the year, but if you find that you have an extra $5 or $10 to spare, please consider a donation.  The trip cost is roughly $1,100 per person.  Right now, I have about 30% of that.  Please consider donating.  It may not seem like a lot, but to some of the people we will be helping, it will mean the world.  I am not trying to come off sounding like an ASPCA commercial.  I'm not going to flash pictures of abused puppies and kittens.  I think anyone who reads knows what poverty looks like.  That's all I'm going to say.

We don't know if we'll have internet there, but I'm hoping we will so I can post daily about our adventures for the day.  I'm also bringing my camera and will share pictures as we go.  This is an incredible opportunity.  I can't quite put into words how I feel.  I'm humbled.  And I'm sure when I get there, I will be even more so.  So if you have a few dollars you'd like to spare, the donation information is below (PayPal or email).  Every little bit helps.  And every penny is greatly appreciated.  To read more about Casa de Sion, the link is at the bottom.

If you'd like to send a check or money order, please email me at nhmejia@gmail.com.

http://casadesion.blogspot.com/

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