We accomplished SOOOO much in 2019, and now we are already in full planning mode for our 2020 mission trips. We currently have 6 Mission Trips scheduled to Guatemala for 2020; March, two in June, one in July, one in August, and one in December. I am personally leading a mission team in June and it will be the biggest one i have traveled with yet!! We have 50 team members coming! So I had to bring in the whole family to help with this one!! I am SOOOO excited to have my hubbie Doug, my daughters Rylie & Adyson, and my son Mateo ALL coming to help me on this one!! They are all also helping me with all of my planning, packing, organizing, which will help ensure our trip runs smoothly! It really takes an ARMY to make it all work! Its been awhile since all five of us get to come together so it will be a special trip for all of us!
We actually have quite a few families traveling with us in June! About half of our team have been multiples times before but we also have quite a few that are coming for their first time! We have some pretty AMAZING things scheduled while we are there!!
As many of you know we have multiple outreach projects we support now throughout Guatemala and we will get to spend time with about half of the projects we support monthly. We have plans to take the older kids at Esperanza Juvenil to the beach, and almost all of them have never been before! I get goosebumps just thinking about that! We also have plans to visit the sweet kiddos at El Amor Patricia and we will be making them dinner and my kids are in charge of organizing activities and crafts to do with the kids.
We have also raised funds to have 5 HOMES BUILT for families in San Antonio and are working with The Ninos Con Bendicion to have them find the families in need and then start the process of getting the homes built. When we are there , we will paint a few of the homes but we will get to meet all five families and present the keys to their new home! Each family receives a bunk bed, stove, and a water filter. We also always gift them with a Homecoming Tote filled with personal care and items for their new homes.
We will also be going to Yalu and delivering beds and water filters to families. We have worked with The Bunk Bed Project to do these particular beds and filters.
We have plans to visit the residents at the nursing home that we support throughout the year and spend some time with them for a bit. It is always one of our teams favorite visits!
Our last visit will be to spend the morning with the kids at an HIV + children's home we support and will have activities planned to do with them ( again my kids are in charge of organizing all of these) and we will have lunch with them as well.
When i reflect on how much we have accomplished with FTLOM since starting all of this back in 2012, its mind blowing. I thought it would just be a little thing that allowed us to serve one orphanage. Little did i know that HIS plans were MUCH BIGGER than anything i could have imagined! The MOST AMAZING men, women, and families have locked arms with us year after year to ensure that we are able to provide soo much for so many! Over the years i have come to learn just how important education is, so over the years you can see that so much of what we are doing is geared towards supporting educational based projects. We are also very much wanting to provide opportunities and assistance to help those believe in sustainability. The majority of the families we meet WANT to provide for their own families and so being able to help provide financial assistance or monetary donations to helps get this started is always something we want to do. And just like in the beginning of our mission; our service work will ALWAYS be a Mission of Love.
From grocery programs, to scholarship programs, to soooo much more... WE truly have done some AMAZING things!! I am SOOO grateful for every single donor, mission team member, and supporter who has continued to give of their finances, time, and prayers to support what we do!! I am so grateful to our FEARLESS Guatemala assistant, Claudia Flores who is TRULY the GLUE that keeps us together!! I cant imagine what we would do without her! I am SOOO grateful to our mission team leaders that have conitnued to lead mission teams through For the Love of Mateo year after year!! Thank you to Helena DeBruyn, Mel Bartels, Anita Cape, and Amy Mosser!
If you have ever considered serving with us, please feel free to reach out! What we do has changed the lives of thousands and that includes each of us that gets to go and serve and experience what it means to TRULY be the HANDS and FEET!!
Blessings to all of you,
Valerie Edwards Founder & President
For the Love of Mateo