In July of 2021, David Piper travelled to Guatemala to help distribute wheelchairs with DCC Global Partner, Bethel Ministries International. David sat down for an interview with Britt Hemphill, who is the Family Ministries Pastor for DCC as well as the chair for DCC's Global Outreach Committee. Watch that video here, along with excerpts from David's personal blog about the trip.
If you would like to learn more about the Global Outreach Committee at DCC, reach out to Britt Hemphill. He can include you in our DCC on Mission newsletter.
Thank you to Calvary Chapel Sequim and Dungeness Community Church for funding this house. The first day brought blood, sweat and tears... all of which were good and beautiful things.
Blood: sheet metal is ridiculously sharp... you actually don’t even feel being cut.
Sweat: it was 90 ish degrees combined with high humidity. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in this type of heat. I’m guessing I had somewhere around 18 glasses of water today.
Tears: when we completed the house and Ben Mooney prayed for the family there was hardly a dry eye. All in all it was an amazing day. Tomorrow we distribute wheelchairs to 25 families.
Getting the swing of the humid heat and over the sore feet. Today was incredible. It was a distribution day where 59 people came through to receive 31 wheelchairs and 28 walkers/canes across 7 hours. The team custom fit each chair to the designated person and added additional safety features where needed. The Guatemalan Government and local church in Jicaro have partnered with Ben and Emily (Bethel) - it was quite the production.
The day started with a ceremony where the three of us were presented special straw hats which then followed into an older woman speaking a blessing over me as I was able to simply adjust a new cane to her body... the gift of mobility that we take for granted is life changing. So many precious people. Pastors from the local church presented the gospel and prayed with each person who received a wheel chair. 10 people gave their lives to Christ today.
El Jicaro Distribution
Today proved the most challenging and beautiful housebuild yet. Jim and David Rivers seemingly thrived whereas the 91+ degrees with 70% humidity almost took me out. Had to take a breather to cool down just before and after lunch. El Rancho is a farming community with aloe vera and and tobacco leaves. The countryside is littered with massive cactus. We built for Roxanna and her two precious daughters today after the original single mother we were going to build a house for received one already.
Day four brought four special home visits across town. We saw love, joy - including a four day old baby born Sunday, as well as profound struggle and pain. With each home visit we brought food, clothing and the gospel. Each family had a story and a life that was difficult to comprehend. One family lived illegally on government land and their situation was so rough and physically unhealthy I didn’t take a single picture.
Another single grandmother would collect plastic bottles to the tune of 100lb(!) of plastic for $3 USD. Mothers of mothers lived together to make ends meet. Since paid work isn’t consistent, the ones that were able to work went while the other ones stayed home and tended children and household. Dirt floors made the rain we received last night that much more challenging to maintain a somewhat healthy living environment - add to that high humidity and it’s a recipe for disease. Rivers of literal garbage floated past their houses. In all of this, 3 of the 4 families had a living faith in Jesus. The missionary Ben pleaded with the fourth for Christ, but they weren’t ready to make a decision as a family. All in all it was a powerful day spent hearing the stories of four different families for a couple hours each.
With the work done we were able to enjoy the day on our way back to my old hometown of Chimaltenango via Guatemala City for Covid testing and Antigua for sight seeing. We toured the old shop where I use to work alongside Ruby and Marcos (who are confined to chairs) and saw the outside of my old apartment. We ate ice cream in the park, toured the marketplace where everyone stared at the three gringos and then headed to our hotel.
At 6:30pm I was able to host a pizza party for my Guatemalan church friends. I heard about their lives and then shared my testimony of how God miraculously used Guatemala to change my life forever. We were all in tears. It was a truly special reunion after 13 years. I’m so thankful to God for these moments as these people were directly involved with my coming back to Jesus in January of 2008. I’m forever grateful. Tomorrow we leave Chimaltenango at 4am for the airport. I’m exhausted but my heart is incredibly full.
It's going to take me a month to mentally unpack all that happened from late (10pm) Saturday July 10th when we landed to early (4am) July 16th when we left Chimaltenango to Guatemala City for our flight out at 8:20am. Each day exploded with impact. The three of us gringo guys who attended were given a Guatemalan hat in a formal ceremony on behalf of the city government in Jicaro, Guatemala. Honestly, it doesn't look like much but holds so much value in meaning. When I look at the hat it reminds me of the nearly 60 people who received mobility that day as well as the 10 who accepted Jesus as savior. It reminds me of a week of work that left my body exhausted and heart full. It reminds me of the four families we visited to bring food and clothing to as well as the two houses we built for single mothers. It reminds me that my body, possessions and life aren't my own, but that I was bought for a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20). I want to say thank you from my heart to each and every person who donated. You all raised the $13,000 to make this happen in just a month. Thank you to every person who like and shared on social media. May God bless you and your family.