This past June 7-14, Discover Church, a non-denominational, three and a half year old church located in the ArborWalk area of south Lee’s Summit, took a team of 33 adults and students to serve at Agua Viva Children’s Home, which is located outside of Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Though this was only the third annual mission trip of its kind for the church, the couple who lead the trip, Eric and Julie Schroeder, have taken teams to Agua Viva for the past seven years.
“It is not just a mission trip for us. This is our mission,” Julie said when asked why she goes year after year to Agua Viva. This special Children’s Home houses 75 children, ranging from babies on up through 17 years old. Also on-site at Agua Viva is a Christian School, which is attended by all the Agua Viva kids, as well as another 250 students who live near the property. All of the kids live at Agua Viva through “Child Sponsorship,” and the students who attend the school pay a small tuition, which is also subsidized by churches and individuals in the States.
The schedule when they go to Agua Viva is very busy. During the days, while the children are in school, the Americans serve Agua Viva by doing various physical projects. This year the group mixed and poured over 400 square feet of concrete, built a shelter that will keep rain off of the areas where the garbage is held, did an enormous amount of landscaping work, and donated over 30 suitcases full of clothes, toys, school supplies, and sports equipment. They ate every meal with the kids in the dining hall. And each evening they played games, did skits, shared Bible stories, and had a great time with the kids of Agua Viva.
Mike Evans, pastor of Discover Church, was a part of this year’s trip, along with his 15-year-old daughter, Katie, and his 13-year-old son, Zach.
“My kids went for the third year in a row, and have already promised their friends at Agua Viva that they will be back next year! So they’re already fund-raising. I guess there are much worse things that they could be doing with their lives and summers,” Evans said. “The individual stories of the children are amazing. Two of the little ones that I got to know well have only been at Agua Viva for two months. Their families could no longer afford to take care of them and they were about to be abandoned. Agua Viva found out about them and has taken them in. The kids are doing fabulously there. Stories of redemption and rescue are everywhere at Agua Viva. It’s the most inspiring part of the place.”
A recent retiree who attends Discover, Linda Downing, for whom this was her first ever mission trip, said, “It’s hard to put the experience into words. I went to help the kids and came home feeling like they blessed me more than I blessed them.”
If you would like more information about Agua Viva, go to www.aguavivahome.org. For info about next year’s trip, which will be in June 2015, email mike@discoverchurchkc.