Sisernos Family

Burn the Ships!

I remember picking my family up from the airport, on July 12, 2012, almost 5 years ago. I’d arrived on an earlier flight. The kids, WERE KIDS! Sam was 9, Gabe was 11 and Cecilia was 12. If you’ve ever been to Guatemala you know that when you exit the airport you’re greeted with a sea of people, sometimes hundreds.

My wife and kids were scanning the crowd with wide eyes. A little fear and lots of excitement. This was the first time they'd set foot in Guatemala. It was so loud. People were yelling and laughing, horns were honking and dozens of people held signs with names. Our lives were about to change. Forever.

In 1519, Captain Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz with six hundred men to begin his great conquest. Upon arrival, he gave the order to his men to burn the ships. This sent a clear message to his men: There's no turning back.

I think that’s how we felt that day at the airport. We'd sold our home and our businesses. We'd sold everything we owned except what we could fit in two suitcases each. We left family and friends and everything comfortable. “No turning back.”

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Guatemalan Quetzal

Faith

My phone "dinged" last week with this short message from our builder, “George, we’re almost out of money. We’ll need another deposit by the end of May so we can keep building.”

We broke ground in January with just over half the money needed, to build a clinic, a team house, a middle school classroom, a library/computer lab, a team house and a mission house. We broke ground in faith.

The total cost of the project is $165,000. We’ve raised $90,000, which leaves a balance of $75,000. That’s a huge mountain to climb. We know that. The quetzal has been steadily losing value over the last 12 months so it’s incredibly important to finish construction sooner than later.

Boys Jumping

Vonda and I will stay here and continue to grow this ministry. We’ll continue to stand up for the oppressed, but we can’t do it alone. We need you. Would you like to join us? By partnering with us, YOU are building a clinic. YOU are making it possible for the middle school boys to study the bible for an hour EVERY SINGLE DAY. YOU are making disciples.

Donations Bar
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Nurse weighing toddler

Clinic

Our medical ministry is growing (out of my control). I LOVE that. Because it’s completely under God’s control. “Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you,” Exodus 23:25

Building Materials Needed for the Clinic

Exterior Door $200 Recieved
4 Interior Doors $100 (each) Recieved
2 Windows $100 (each) Recieved
Tile $400 Recieved
6 Light Fixtures $50 (each) Recieved
Bathroom (Sinks / Toilet) $400 Recieved
Name the Clinic (plaque will hang) $2,500 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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Two weeks ago, we met with almost 60 new momma’s in El Rosario. Three neonatal nurses from Colorado taught them how to take care of their babies to give them the best chance at a healthy life. We identified 8 malnourished kids and enrolled them in our nutrition program. The program tripled in one day.

We met with a mom, Marta, who was pregnant and due any day, any minute actually. She had a bad vaginal infection and the nurses told her that she absolutely had to get to the doctor. I drove her that afternoon so she could get on antibiotics as soon as possible. She had her baby 5 days later, without infection and without complications.

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Middle School Kids

Middle School Classroom

We have almost eighty 3rd–6th graders coming through our doors every week. They go to public school from 7:30 to 12:30 AND THEN they come spend 3 more hours learning at the academy!??? Is it just me or is that CRAZY! I love it!

Currently our middle school boys are using one of the academy classrooms. That works for now but when we add a new class next year, they’ll need a space of their own.

Building Materials Needed for the Middle School Classroom

Exterior Door $200 Recieved
Interior Door $100 Recieved
2 Windows $100 (each) Recieved
Tile $250 Recieved
2 Light Fixtures $50 (each) Recieved
Complete the Classroom $850 Recieved
Name the Classroom (plaque will hang) $1,000 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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Meet the first class of the El Rosario Christian Academy for boys. Cleverson, Oliver, Luis, Deyker, Wilmer, Darwin and Emerson. In my opinion, they’re getting one of the highest quality educations in Guatemala. We’ve partnered with CAB School in San Cristobal, which gives us access to the highest quality platform I’ve seen here.

But, their education is only a powerful side benefit. The true value of the academy is the opportunity to study the bible for an hour every morning. After an extensive search, we couldn’t find a curriculum or devotional that was appropriate for our boys. As it turns out, we already had the perfect bible study. The bible. I know, I know, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

We just finished reading the Gospel of John. Next we’re going Old Testament to study the life of Abraham in Genesis. We may read it 3-4 times, until we’re all able to tell his story from beginning to end to someone who doesn’t know. What was he good at? Where did he struggle?

From the beginning, God called us to raise the boys in El Rosario to become men of God. That hasn’t changed.

What I love about this photo is that it was the day 7 boys raised their hand and committed to following Jesus. Some go to church and some don’t. Some are catholic and some are evangelical. They’re ALL growing their faith daily. They’re all learning to be disciples. They all believe.

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Ok, first, can I just tell you how proud I am of this little girl. Cecilia tutors 5 days a week. She meets with every kid who’s struggling in public school. She helps them with their homework, she reads with them but what she’s best at is making sure each boy feels loved. That’s kind of a motto at the academy, “Yes, let’s teach them bible and let’s teach them English, but before, during and after any of that, our job is to love them.”

Library and Computer Lab

One of our new goals at the academy is to teach the middle school kids how to use a computer and how to do internet research. I don't know a single kid who knows how to use either.

Building Materials Needed for the Library and Computer Lab

2 Interior Door $100 (each) Recieved
4 Windows $100 (each) Recieved
Tile $400 Recieved
2 Light Fixtures $50 (each) Recieved
Complete the Library and Computer Lab $1,100 Recieved
Name the Library and Computer Lab (plaque will hang) $2,000 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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Jeff and Karlie

The Team House

The team house gives the opportunity to see behind the curtain of full time ministry. What goes on day to day? What are the challenges? What’s it really like? It will provide a respite for teams before going back out to impact kids, moms, and the poor of Guatemala.

Building Materials Needed for the Team House

Glass Exterior Door $500 Recieved
2 Interior Doors $100 (each) Recieved
4 Windows $100 (each) Recieved
Tile $400 Recieved
4 Light Fixtures $50 (each) Recieved
Bathroom (Sinks / Shower / Toilet) $500 Recieved
Complete Team Home $2,200 Recieved
Name the Team Home (plaque will hang) $1,000 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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The medical ministry uncovered the silently suffering, revealing needs we couldn’t have imagined. It needed someone full time. A “give up everything, move 2,000 miles away and get your hands dirty” kind of full time.
-- Jeff and Karlie Ruiter

Meet Jeff and Karlie Ruiter. I remember getting a desperate email from Jeff and Karlie 2 1/2 years ago. They had a trip planned to Guatemala, tickets purchased and a team of 17 ready to love and serve in any way they could. The only problem was, the ministry they were working with cancelled, days before they were to fly out.

“George, a friend of a friend gave me your number and said you might be able to help us.” Karlie explained the situation and I assured her that we would work something out. “You guys get here and we’ll take care of the rest. DON’T WORRY.”

The week with the team was amazing. They spent time at an orphanage near our home and each day a group of 3 or 4 visited El Rosario. And then, they kept coming back!

Karlie, her sister Erin (a nurse practitioner) and a team of nurses from Colorado have not only served on multiple trips to Guatemala but they’ve developed our nutrition program. They gave us input as we were designing the clinic and they’ve made themselves available through instant messaging, 24/7.

As the medical ministry has grown Vonda and I have prayed with desperation for God to send someone to help, “for a season…for a month Lord.”

And then, three months ago, Jeff and Karlie asked what we thought about them coming to Guatemala to serve alongside us. That’s how God works in our lives. He didn’t just send anyone, he sent Karlie, an emergency room nurse and her husband Jeff who will help manage our growing construction ministry.

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2 Bodegas (storage rooms)

“We have TOO MUCH storage space!” Said no one, EVER.

Shoes. PediaSure. Water filters. School supplies. Vitamins. Clothes. Backpacks. Medicine. Tools.

Building Materials Needed for the Bodegas

2 Doors (one for each bodega) $100 (each) Recieved
2 Windows (one for each bodega) $100 (each) Recieved
Tile (for each bodega) $100 (each) Recieved
2 Light Fixtures (one for each bodega) $50 (each) Recieved
Complete a Bodega $350 (each) Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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Mission Home

We've lived in 3 homes over the last 4 1/2 years. Every move has brought us closer to El Rosario. It's time for us to live in the little village we serve. We want to watch the sun rise and set. We want to smell the rain as it pours down on the surrounding corn stalks. We want to walk through town as neighbors and not just as missionaries.

Building Materials Needed for the Mission Home

Exterior Door $250 Recieved
Porch and Stairs $250 Recieved
Exterior Sidewalks $1,000 Recieved
Exterior Lighting $300 Recieved
172 Building Blocks $25 (each) Recieved
Total Cost of Building Blocks $4,300 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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George with granddaughter

George's Office

I probably spend 3-4 hours a day communicating with partners, writing updates, studying Spanish, preparing for bible lessons, preparing for English lessons, coordinating the various arms of our ministry including medical, construction and education. I'm not gonna lie. The view from my office is pretty amazing.

Building Materials Needed for George's Office

Glass Exterior Door $500 Recieved
Sliding Door $250 Recieved
Window $100 Recieved
Tile $100 Recieved
Light Fixture $50 Recieved
Complete George's Office $1,000 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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George Praying
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George and Vonda

Main Bedroom/Bathroom

This girl. So beautiful in so many ways. For the last 5 years we've been running after Jesus, making disciples, feeding the hungry and standing up for the oppressed, together. We've run a marathon together, we've climbed the highest 14er in Colorado together, we've cried together and we've laughed so hard, we've cried.

Building Materials Needed for the Main Bedroom/Bathroom

2 Interior Doors $100 (each) Recieved
5 Windows $100 (each) Recieved
Tile $300 Recieved
4 Light Fixtures $50 (each) Recieved
Bathroom (Shower / Sinks / Toilet) $500 Recieved
Complete the Main Bedroom/Bathroom $1,700 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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Fuego

Last year we climbed the highest peak in Central America which also gave us a spectacular view of the very active volcano Fuego.

Before we ever dreamed of being missionaries I remember reading a scripture that challenged us to tithe, to get in the game. "Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."

We started tithing for the first time ever just about 2 years before we came onto the field. We made a commitment not to buy anything for an entire year. It's harder than you think. Most people we told, usually said, "We really don't buy that much." Haha. Try it.

No restaurants, not clothes, no Christmas or birthday gifts, nothing but necessities. Food, electric, gas, soap, etc. No books, no cable, no Amazon Prime ((gasp)). Tithing was just the beginning. We were able to pay off all our debt and start saving. Little did we know that God was preparing us for ministry in Guatemala.

True to His word, God has poured down blessing upon blessing. We continue to listen and obey and He continues to bring down walls and break open doors. This building, this clinic and mission home, is both our blessing and our obedience. All for His glory.

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Cecilia

Cecilia's Bedroom

I think the greatest challenge of ministry in a developing country is that our kids miss out on a lot of things Vonda and I grew up with. No school dances, no organized sports, no hanging out with friends and they don't get to experience the Colorado outdoors. Some days it's just hard on them. I think mostly, they miss having close friends.

Building Materials Needed for Cecilia's Bedroom

Interior Door $100 Recieved
2 Windows $100 (each) Recieved
Tile $200 Recieved
Light Fixture $50 Recieved
Complete Cecilia's Bedroom $550 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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Sam and Gabe

Sam & Gabe's Bedroom

I remember this photo well. Vonda and Cecilia were out of town and it was our first "Guys night out". We watched The Karate Kid (thus the bandana) and then we went to Red Robin for dinner. Big time.

Gabe is 5'11" and Sam is right behind him at 5'10", yet when I look at them I still see the kids in this photo. They're growing up and I don't think I'm going to handle it very well when they leave the nest.

Building Materials Needed for Sam & Gabe's Bedroom

Interior Door $100 Recieved
2 Windows $100 (each) Recieved
Tile $200 Recieved
Light Fixture $50 Recieved
Complete Sam & Gabe's Bedroom $550 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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Cecilia, Chayo, and Vonda

Bedroom for Future Adoption

Within the first year of being in Guatemala, Vonda and I decided to begin the process of becoming permanent residents. As residents we could more easily travel between the United States and Guatemala. And as residents, we would also be able to adopt.

As soon as our residency was official, we began the process of becoming eligible to adopt. And, last month, on April 21st, we got the call we'd been waiting for, "You can adopt in Guatemala!"

Building Materials Needed for the Bedroom

Interior Door $100 Recieved
Window $100 Recieved
Tile $200 Recieved
Light Fixture $50 Recieved
Complete Adoption Room $450 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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Kids' Bathroom

Maria was one of the first people we met in El Rosario. She's a single mom raising 4 boys. In the last 4 years her life has changed dramatically. She has a home of her own and she works part time in our kitchen. Two of her boys go to the academy and we pray that they'll break the cycle of men leaving their wives in their family.

Building Materials Needed for the Kids' Bathroom

Interior Door $100 Recieved
Tile $50 Recieved
2 Light Fixtures $50 (each) Recieved
Bathroom (Shower / Sink / Toilet) $300 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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Guest Bathroom

As I look at this photo it's still hard to believe that that's us! That we're living this life.

"If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him." ~ Jesus of Nazareth

Building Materials Needed for the Guest Bathroom

Interior Door $100 Recieved
Window $100 Recieved
Tile $50 Recieved
2 Light Fixtures (one received) $50 (each) Recieved
Bathroom (Shower / Sink / Toilet) $300 Recieved
Complete the Guest Bathroom $650 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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market

Kitchen

Ok, I'm not gonna lie. Fruits and vegetables are basically free in this country. They're fresh, they're enormous and the fruit is sweet as candy! You can get 5lbs of fresh strawberries for $2. FIVE POUNDS PEOPLE! I know. Crazy.

Building Materials Needed for the Kitchen

Tile $500 Recieved
3 Light Fixtures $50 (each) Recieved
Sink $250 Recieved
Counters $250 Recieved
Complete the Kitchen $1,150 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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Living Room

This photo was taken from our property before a single inch of dirt was moved. Beautiful pine trees surrounded by rows upon rows of corn. When you come visit, at the end of a long day, we'll brew a perfect cup of Guatemalan coffee and bask in God's beauty. You're coming right?

Building Materials Needed for the Living Room

2 Doors $150 (each) Recieved
Window $100 Recieved
Tile $500 Recieved
3 Light Fixtures $50 (each) Recieved
Complete the Living Room $1,050 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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Laundry

Laundry Room

This is the equivalent of a Guatemalan laundromat. Women spend 2-3 hours washing clothes by hand almost every day. Women are generally responsible to get the firewood, which can also take 2-3 hours a day. They go to the market, cook and take care of the kids. Now imagine your husband has left you. He just gave up. Too much pressure. He lives in the next village over with another woman. What do you do?

Vonda and I are PASSIONATE about standing with and supporting single moms. We make sure their kids are going to school. We make sure they're eating and we do everything we can to help prepare them to find a job.

Building Materials Needed for the Laundry Room

Door $100 Recieved
Window $100 Recieved
Tile $150 Recieved
Light Fixture $50 Recieved
Sink $100 Recieved
Complete the Laundry Room $500 Recieved
Share the Cost $20 Recieved
Donation You Pick Amount
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We need you.

Every dollar you spend in our catalog will be doubled. Every dollar you spend gets us that much closer to finishing this construction project. I could tell you story after story of the lives you’re saving. I could tell you about single moms who have been living with their backs up against the wall for too long and because of you, they can finally breathe a little. I can tell you about grieving parents whose children died too young and all they need is someone who will listen and someone to cry with.

We need you.

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