AMTS employees, Kevin and Charity Kittrell, went on an annual mission trip to Agua Zarca, Guatemala with other members of The Connection Church in Buda, Texas.
This was the fourth trip for Charity, a Technical Writer, and the first for Kevin, Account Manager.
Four years ago, their church pastor visited Guatemala alongside other pastors to select a village they could adopt and visit regularly with members of their congregation. The Kittrell’s pastor chose Agua Zarca, a small village two hours southwest of Guatemala City.
“It’s so fulfilling to be able to return back to the same village year after year and see the progress being made. We also get to build lasting relationships with the kids, and the people who live there,” says Charity Kittrell.
“I really appreciate AMTS sponsoring this trip for us because we both can see some really big differences our time and resources are making in the village,” says Charity.
Over the past few years, the group has focused on infrastructure projects by building a retaining wall and installing rainwater collection tanks for the restrooms at the school. They look for any opportunity to involve the local villagers so that they are part of the process. This year, the team focused on a specific project goal that created something sustainable for the village.
They partnered with some graduate students from Oklahoma State University who designed chicken coops. Working together with locals, they were able to build the coops, and teach them how to manage them.
“The projects we completed are great and we know they will mean a lot to the village from a practical standpoint. The best part for us was the relationships. Spending time playing with the kids, doing crafts, playing soccer, passing out the hygiene kits, and seeing them smile. Those are the things we will remember the most,” says Kevin Kittrell.
The Connection Church also provides two meals per day to the children in school, totaling 9,450 meals so far in 2015. For many children, it is the only meals they receive. These meals are cooked using a propane stove in the school’s kitchen, which the group built 2 years ago.
“Next year, we are planning to work on building a church in their community. Villagers currently have to walk an hour to the only congregation on Wednesday nights, which is not always the safest thing to do. Not only will the church give them their own safe place to worship, it will also provide work opportunities for the skilled labor in the area to help build the church, “ says Charity.
“These are experiences Kevin and I will just never forget.”