Guatemala was an amazing experience for staff and students alike.  Our arrival was interesting as we had some weather issues with our flight and had to dash through the Dallas airport to make our connection to Guatemala City.  Our luggage did not make the “dash” and so we were all without luggage for 3 days – that also meant no change of clothes, no hairbrushes, no amenities – and guess what – we also had NO complaints.  Our students were absolutely amazing.  In fact, about day 5 one student commented that we really should not have gotten our luggage at all, as then we would really understand what life in Santa Maria is really like as water is such a precious commodity.  Our lives were all deeply touched by what we experienced and saw and we realized anew that we are very blessed to live where we do – it is only by God’s grace that it is not us living in the dump in Guatemala City.

– Mrs. Lorna Baerg Vice Principal

Throughout our time,  I enjoyed watching the students respond to the different situations that we as a group encountered……playing soccer in the square each evening with local children, the Guatemala city cemetery and dump where local people would search for food or items they could sell, the mall/movie theatre that was in stark contrast to the dump, the struggle  to the top of Pacaya (the volcano) with “real live”  molten lava (we got to talk about tectonic plates at the same time – yes I’m a science geek), the interactions with our students and Guatemalan/Mayan children at the schools, bartering with local merchants, grace-filled love as they supported their “sick friends”, and finally the sharing of their hearts as they spoke of their desire to change themselves so that “they can make a difference for God”.  This experience is a process…..I know it will take time for me to make sense of all that we saw, and I know for the students, they feel the same.

– Mrs. Mary Kathryn Perrin


What both my children came home with was a sincere humbleness about who they are, and gone was the sense of entitlement. At least for a while.  Planted were seeds of plans to return not only to make a difference but also to be immersed in a culture where you can be yourself and genuinely connect with a very interesting and warm-hearted people.  Best of all is sharing God’s love with them through actions.  There is more . . . but I will let you hear from them directly.

– Jacqueline Williams


“This trip has truly made me realize how privileged I am here with my loving family, friends and a warm house to come home to everyday. On top of everything one of my highlights is the connection our grade 11 class now has to bring back to school and share with everyone :)”

“This trip really helped me see how people can have so little but still be happy with what they have”.

“They say home is where the heart is. The hearts in Guatemala seemed to be the most genuine in the world. When a little girl I didn’t know came up to me and gave me a kiss… I knew I was home.”

– Emily Carroll

“This trip has really made me appreciate my family, friends, and everything else that I’m privileged to have, and has helped me see that there is way more to life than just material things.”

– Christian Weisbrod

“I would say that the Gr.11′s mission trip was the movie which contains various genres. This amazing movie impacted me so much about family, friends, and love that I have to appreciate and satisfy with everything that I have right now.”

– Wendy Sung

“This trip forced me to look at life through the eyes of a completely different culture; the pure simplicity of their lives was truly inspiring.”

– Samm Marsh

“I learned the importance of love. Only His love will make me surrender and change. I realized how selfish and ignorant I was, but now… I am truly thankful for my family and friends…”

– Christina Choi

“The biggest eye opener for me during our trip was the garbage dump. It made me realize that we’ve done nothing to deserve where we are. We’ve been born into such a privileged society, but could just as easily have been born into a life like theirs. I gained a greater appreciation for the amazing opportunities that I have been given, and that taking advantage of them will only allow me to do more for God.”

– Chantal Noakes

Some notes on the final debriefing sessions:

After some free time and a wonderful buffet dinner at the hotel we took some time to allow the student groups to share some of their thoughts about the trip and what had impacted them.

“Was this trip just a quick snapshot or are we going to let it sink into our hearts?  Is it going to change how we live or have we become calloused?  What can we do back in Canada to make a difference?  How can we live without being hypocritical when we return home?  How can we encourage younger students at to catch a vision for what we are doing on this trip?

“It is not acceptable, it’s not a choice anymore. We need to do something about what we have seen here in Guatemala”.

“We need to not just see but to see into.”

“We need to make good decisions starting with the little things such as:
– being thankful for what we have
– avoiding selfish “I” statements that breed negativity
– not wasting natural resources such as food and water
– respecting and loving the people around us
– standing up for injustice

Many students shared that this experience had really opened their eyes to how incredibly blessed they were.  They also felt that we needed to find ways to continue a legacy at the school whereby students in the younger grades would catch a vision for Guatemala and how they could help.