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See. Feel. Be the Difference Yourself.

FTLOM has several different outreach projects which we support throughout Guatemala. Each mission trip is led by a dedicated mission leader who plans the agenda of projects and activities for each week-long trip while working in tandem with Valerie Edwards and Claudia Flores, the in-country assistant.  Our dedicated team of volunteers are the heart who deliver our missions of love to children and families of need.

Are you volunteering in Guatemala for the first time? Are you a returning volunteer? Whether you simply wish to learn some basic Spanish phrases to help connect more with the children, interact with vendors at a market, or ordering at a restaurant; or, simply wish to "brush up" your existing skills, Spanish language lessons, offered by Ashley Counterman, are available in a private or group setting. View the introductory video by Ashley for more information. 

Upcoming "Missions of Love".


DEC. 9-15,2023


$400 deposit & $400 final payment options also available at checkout


JULY 6-13,2024

Led by Anita Cape


$400 deposit & $400 final payment options also available at checkout.

NOTE: The nights of July 6th to 12th are covered by FTLOM, and only the 13th is the responsibility of the team member as an extra day is added.


JUNE 8-14,2024

Led by Valerie Edwards


$400 deposit & $400 final payment options also available at checkout


DECEMBER 6-12,2024


$400 deposit & $400 final payment options also available at checkout

Due to the fluctuating circumstances related to COVID-19, we will continue to keep an eye on any restrictions which may have an impact on mission trips and keep you updated accordingly.

Scheduling of mission trips begins six months in advance. Limited spots are available for logistical reasons but also to ensure you receive the best experience possible. 

Have questions? Read the FAQs or get in touch!

upcoming mission trips
mission faq
  • How far in advance should I purchase my mission trip?
    Your initial deposit of $400 is due six months in advance of your trip, with the remaining balance of $400 due three months prior to your travel.
  • What's the cost for a mission trip?
    Starting in 2023, each six-night mission trip costs $800 per person which includes: 6 nights hotel stay at The Hotel Aurora in Antigua, Guatemala Transportation from the airport to the hotel and back, and to all of our mission teams scheduled activities throughout the week 2 dinners (welcome and farewell) A bilingual assistant that will be with us the whole time to help with translation All breakfasts at the Hotel Aurora each morning * You are responsible to book your own flight to Guatemala City and most will book to fly in the day before to ensure they arrive by the required 12:00PM arrival time into GC on the day of the trip. YOU can have FTLOM’s in-country assistant book a hotel at The Clarion Hotel in GC for you (10 minutes from the airport & includes shuttle), and you will then pay Claudia the morning of the mission trip in the hotel lobby for your $90 room rate (holds up to 4 people.) For all early arrivals, our mission team will all meet in the hotel lobby on the actual mission trip day.
  • What would be expected of me during my trip?
    Each FTLOM team member is required to register for multiple needs that will be listed on the "sign up genius" that the mission team leader will post to the Facebook Page created for each team. The sign ups include things like toys for projects, cost of bunk beds, stoves, water filters, money to cover activities for projects, diapers, wipes, etc… You are required to participate with the FTLOM the whole time and you cannot make your own plans to go anywhere outside of the approved agenda during the 6-day mission trip. Each team member will need to sign a contract and mail it to Valerie Edwards, 3 months prior to travel.
  • What should I pack?
    Review and print "Need to Know Info" for your FTLOM Mission Trip.
  • Where do I find the mission trip volunteer contract?
    It is mandatory for each mission trip participant to sign and return their contract in advance of their trip. The contract is available here: For participants living in the USA (pdf) For participants living in Canada (pdf)

Let's Make A Change.

Donate Today to Make a Positive Difference in Another Family's Life


Make a tax deductible donation‏.

"My fiancé and I have been sponsoring children, now a total of three beautiful souls, through For the Love of Mateo for several years. I first had the privilege of traveling to Guatemala to the orphanage FTLOM supports in June of 2014 and that is when my heart was forever changed."


E. Bonkowski & J. Ruby 

Meet the Mission Leaders.

Meet The Mission Leaders.



Founder & President

I led my first mission trip to Guatemala in June 2012, applied for non-profit status in October 2012, and received approval in May 2013. 

My vision in establishing this charity began after I became the adoptive mother of a beautiful boy named Mateo. My husband and I dedicated over three and a half years as part of the adoption process to bring him home and, throughout that experience, we realized an even bigger need to help the orphanage that took such amazing care of and provided so much love for Mateo - our new son.

As For the Love of Mateo has expanded, we have added other projects throughout Guatemala to benefit children, teens and families in Gautamela. 

I invite you to learn more about our outreach projects, our wonderfully dedicated mission leaders, and invite you to experience this life-changing opportunity yourself!



Mission Leader

My name is Mel and I am one of the mission trip leaders that serves the beautiful country of Guatemala. My passion for missions began in my teens and I always knew that I wanted to pursue some sort of mission work when I was older. I have served on many mission trips through my teen years. 

I met Valerie 8 years ago and she shared her adoption journey with me and her love for Guatemala. Through her I was able to serve on my first mission trip to Guatemala and I instantly fell in love with the people and the culture.

Not only is the country one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, the people there are some of the most giving and most loving people.  My husband and I were only able to have one daughter. We started sponsoring a little girl through For the Love of Mateo and through meeting her our love for Guatemala only grew. I am now able to travel to Guatemala along with many of my family members and can love on so many of those beautiful children!!!



Mission Leader

Hello and welcome! I am Anita Cape and am from Bartonville, Illinois. My husband Chris are blessed with three beautiful children - Nathan, Noah, and Nara.

I learned of For The Love of Mateo through my very good friend, Haylie Johnson. My husband and I adopted our son Noah from Guatemala January 16th, 2004 and he was only 10 1/2 months old when we brought him home! We had always wanted to take Noah back to his native Guatemala to see his country and to help there where we could. We had no idea how meeting Valerie Edwards and getting involved with FTLOM was going to change our lives!!

We went on our first mission trip in June of 2016 and Noah was 12 and Nara was 9. Our oldest son was unable to join us. We all fell in love again with the country and people, and the incredible mission work that FTLOM does.  It truly has become a permanent part of our lives!  We've been on four more mission trips since then with Valerie.  In April 2018, Haylie and I joined together to co-lead our first trip and both of our families joined as well (even my parents).

We have our second trip set for April 2019 and plan on continuing every April for as long as God provides.


Noah always says, “you can tell people all you want about the mission work, people, and country, but until you experience it, you will never fully understand the emotion”.

God Bless, 


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Mission Leader

I am a mother of four children who have all had the chance to come to Guatemala.  I know my entire family of six have left a little piece of our hearts behind since our first trip with FTLOM. Taking my then teenagers to meet the beautiful people of Guatemala gave them more life perspective then I ever could have imagined.  We were all able to see first hand what really matters in life and find a purpose beyond ourselves.   

I chose to begin leading mission trips because I was familiar with Guatemala and all of the great work FTLOM was doing - together they were going to be apart of my life forever.  I wanted to be able to help others see and feel the same things I have. Plus, I was looking to give back and spend as much time as my busy life would allow working with the families and children we had connected with.   

This "mission of love" has given my life more purpose, more love, more faith and more passion. I look forward to supporting FTLOM for years to come.

mission leads
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