Daily Archives: June 5, 2012

Its all in the …. details!!!

Ok… its time… time to put aside the “how I feel” stuff…. (I am doing much better by the way).   I’m getting really excited for the coming months… Gearing up to return to Guatemala in the fall…. and getting to work here putting together all the intricate puzzle pieces that need to fit together in order for things to happen when they need to and how they need to.  This blog is a bit different.  Since coming home and re-connecting with everyone many questions have arisen… Great questions about the details and its time to be clear on exactly what is happening with the Doppenberg’s & the ministry we hope you want to be a part of both here and in Guatemala!  We are in the process of putting together a website…. but in the meantime…..Time for a little Q & A…. So here we go….

Question:  What projects do you currently have on the go in Guatemala?

Currently there are 4 major things that we are working toward.  There are many minor ones but we have narrowed it down to 4 major.  We have tried to narrow things down as much as possible.  Things that people can choose to get involved with based upon their hearts but without spreading ourselves too thin so to speak.

1. Now that the renovations at the Hospital Infantil Padre Pedro in Guatemala are pretty much complete and the building has been made more energy efficient etc.  We need to get the monthly budget of around $4000.00 covered.  A hospital can only function if the lights are on, the food can be bought etc.   A functional building is only functional if the funds are there for it to be able to be utilized for the purpose in which it was intended.  You get the point.  🙂

2. We are looking to buy a plot of farm land.  To grow nutritious crops to sustain the hospital and provide jobs for locals.  Having the kids at the hospital being rehabilitated is fantastic…. but if their parents cannot make money when the kids go home they end up right back at the hospital in 1 year or less.  We have seen this happen several times.  Buying this piece of land would give the Hospital one more way to become more self-sustaining AND help local families become self-sufficient.  Win/Win!

3. Sponsorships.  These are so important.  We have in place a monthly sponsorship program for both the kids in the hospital AND the Hermana’s.  For the kids, people can donate monthly while the child is in the hospital and then continue that long after the child is home.  Monthly sponsorships will provide care for a bright future for each child.  To ensure that the child’s best interests are served, through sponsor donations we will be providing the sponsor child with a basket every month in lieu of just giving the family actual cash.  In the basket will be all the medicines that he/she needs for the month plus high protein foods and vitamins geared specifically toward their nutritional needs.  It will also contain school supplies, books, Bibles or other things geared toward whatever specific needs that particular child has in order to further their mental & spiritual development. For school age children, a portion will be used to fund school costs which are typically around $80.00/year to ensure that the child can attend school.   Parents will be provided bussing to come to the hospital with the child every month to pick up this basket and that will allow the hospital to do a physical assessment on the child to make sure that their health continues to steadily improve.  Monthly sponsorships will ensure that the kids are well provided for while in the hospital and when they are out through the basket program.   If you want to visit, on the month you come visit your child, we will deliver the basket to their home so you can see your child, their family & see where they live.  We will also be providing people with the opportunity to sponsor a Hermana.  These women give up their lives to serve and we feel that it’s only right that we help them.  One of the requirements of joining this particular order of Hermana’s is that you get an education.  Theology is obvious but they are required to also study something that you can use to glorify God and better serve the poor.  Many choose things like nursing, doctor, translator or teacher.  We helped one young Novitiate (a younger girl who is studying to be a nun) earn her degree in nursing.  What a blessing this was to us to know that we helped her realize one of her dreams and enable her to serve in a way that is much needed.  She now serves full time in the hospital tending to the children and has been such a blessing to everyone.  Sponsorships for Hermana’s will cover the cost of their education or in the case of some of them who have already obtained this degree, a sponsorship can cover things like monthly medicines etc.  They have health issues themselves just like everyone else and these costs can be expensive… many times they do without and this is no good.  They are the ones who run this hospital and they need to be taken care of.  Ever been on an airplane?  They tell you in the safety briefing to put your own oxygen mask on BEFORE assisting others because how can you help those in need if you are not healthy.

4.  And finally…. malnutrition knows no borders.  El Salvador, a small country who’s border lies 40 minutes from our little town of El Progreso is no different than Guatemala.  Hermana Mercedes has always spoken of walking hand in hand with the people of Canada, with God in the lead, across Central America serving the malnourished children.  El Salvador is the first stop in our walk.  We have had the plans drawn up to build a new hospital!!!   A facility that is small but efficient.  There are 2 Hermana’s that have completed their studies in medicine and they are ready to go and begin a 2nd location of the Hospital Infantil Padre Pedro!   This has been a dream that God put on Hermana Mercedes heart over 30 years ago… the time is now and we hope to help this dream become a reality!!!

QUESTION:  You speak of sponsorships.  What is the minimum that I can donate monthly as a sponsor of either a child or a Hermana?

We know that times are tough here in North America and it is tough just to make ends meet.  The average cost per month to have a child in the Hospital is approx $135.00. That includes things like medicines, food, tests, lights, water etc.   That is a large amount for one person to cover.   No amount of monthly partnership is too small…. It is our hope that each child can have many sponsors.  Some of these little ones have no family…. some have families who love them dearly but that are truly powerless at this time to help them in any way…. what a blessing to have many families that they can be connected with, write to, draw pictures for etc.  We would love to see their beds filled with pictures of families that are loving them, supporting them and praying for them from all over the world!  We offer trips too…. so you can always know that you are free to come and visit!   Same is true for the Hermana’s.  They have the heart and the desire to serve…. what they need is a hand up…. a hand of help with finances and prayer.  Even if you cannot support financially…. every child and Hermana would love a prayer partner from another part of the world that they can connect with and write to.

QUESTION:   It seems as though a lot of this is about money?

Unfortunately money is a crucial part of this.  God is what drives all of it…and God is necessary.  In our world,  money is not as important as God but it is necessary in its own way.  None of what they do… what we do… or what you do is possible without either.  It is NOT all about money however.  It is about love… about prayer… about hope… Money is simply something that is necessary to physically accomplish concrete things.  People call money the “necessary evil”… it doesn’t have to be evil.  Money spent in a responsible way can be a blessing.  There are reasons that we were born where we were…. “For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.” — Luke 12:48    Giving is necessary…. and we ask that you give.  If this is not what God has put upon your heart to give to… and there are many choices out there… we understand… but give… somewhere.  Give of your money, of your time… of your heart… with gladness!

QUESTION:  I get that people there need help…. but what are the Guatemalan’s doing to help?  Surely this can’t be totally Canada’s responsibility?

I love this question.  It makes me so excited.  Excited to go back to Guatemala and get to work.  This past year we have made connections with not only the poor and marginalized people of Guatemala but with government officials, decision makers and people of means.  We have been working hard at getting the Guatemalan people involved in a real way.  We have been able to secure help from the mayor and several families in the region.  It takes time to build these relationships but we are making great strides in ensuring that the people of Guatemala and the people of Canada work together, serve together and give together!  Exciting times!!!

QUESTION:  What happens to the extra money?  Say a project I want to donate to is fully funded already…. what do you do with the money then?

Legal disclaimers…. gotta love them.  Every single organization needs them… To me this is the necessary evil hahaha.  Here goes…. Your donation will be used as designated with the understanding that, if the project is fully funded or discontinued, the remaining donations will be used for another ministry project.  The best example I can give here is, say you want to partner with us to build a new hospital in El Salvador.  By the time we get your contribution we have the hospital building already fully funded.  Well then the money would be used in a different way.  It would be used to fund that hospital’s operating expenses.  Make sense?  We will ensure that the money is used for as close a purpose as to which it was intended.  Most charitable organizations operate this way… and it is a good model in which to follow.

QUESTION:  What is your plan… as a family?

Our plan is …. well, we have learned many times to not rely on too much planning… our plans and God’s plan quite often do not mesh.  But since banks, mortgage companies etc do not really accept the “We are waiting on God” answers we have to have some sort of flexible direction.  Flexible being the key word….  Overall, our flexible plan is to sell everything…  Reduce our stuff down to a few boxes of only the most important sentimental keepsakes and sell all the rest.  Liquidate all of our monetary worth here in Canada and live very simply.  It is our hope to spend the next few years living 10 & 2.  10 months there and 2 here (give or take).  It is very hard to live in both worlds both mentally and financially.  We find that for our family it is very difficult to fund our work with mortgages and such weighing us down.  We need the freedom to take whatever path God puts before us.  It seems that the past few years, doors have closed and others have opened that puts us in the very unique position to “GO”.   It’s scary & exciting… but our entire family feels that this is the best way for us so we are going for it.

Question:  What about your people here… you have an active role in peoples lives here… how will that continue with you gone?

Gone is a very black and white term.  We won’t be gone.  The world has never been smaller than it is right now thanks to technology!  While we won’t be physically in the same room on many occasions we will never be gone.  Keeping in touch and loving people is do-able via skype, phone calls etc.  We offer trips so it is our hope that people will come to Guatemala when they are able.  We will be returning back here for the summers and will be free to spend quality time with people here in Canada.  A big factor for us in our decision was, serving at a pediatric malnutrition hospital is so amazing… but things must be taken into consideration.  Some of these kids are there very long term… away from family who cannot afford even the bus fare to come and visit their children.  Some of these kids have been left behind by their families etc.  So they become very attached, very quickly to those that surround them.  It has been a very hard transition for them to have had a family come and love on them every day and now just be gone.  Also with the plans I laid out in the first question, we feel it is very necessary to be there.  New hospitals, monthly sponsorships etc, are all very difficult to manage from a far and we want to make sure things happen as they were meant to.  Bottom line is that, Our ministry is simply better served with us being on the ground there at this moment in time.  Who know’s what the future holds.  We are trying to not look further ahead than a few steps.  This is right for us for now… but we are very aware that God may have other plans for us and we are very open to that.

QUESTION:  Aside from giving…. how can I help, how can I get involved?

We have so many needs…. we need you to be involved and not only in a monetary way.  We need prayer… we need you to keep in touch with us.  We provide blogs and regular updates…. and that keeps you in the loop with what is happening with us.  What seems to happen is that we get VERY out of the loop in what is happening here with you.  We need you to keep in touch and send us your prayer requests and simply treat us as though we are here…. regular emails, messages etc.   When we were got home this time, many said, “I was going to write but I knew you were busy and didn’t want to bug you”…. nothing could be further from the truth.  Bug us!!!  Nothing helps more when you are away from those you love than hearing from them…. Sometimes you feel pretty alone and isolated when you are away serving and even our boys need and crave the familiar at times…. so keep in touch…. always!

One other way you can help is by spreading the word!  Tell others of the opportunity to get involved with us.  Together we can make this grow and grow…. By making the decision to serve on a more full time basis on the ground in Guatemala we don’t want this to stagnate here because of an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.  Help us to keep things going here… in new and fresh ways.  Fundraising will still need to be done whether we are here or there and we will need all the help we can get spreading the word!!!

One example of what I mean is…. Andy Tallman, a very talented musician and friend of ours,  has been looking for a way to use his talents in a way that can further God’s Kingdom.  He met and is now dating Rachel Fast.  Rachel has been serving with us in Guatemala 3 times over the past 2 years.  If you’ve kept up with my blog, you know exactly who Rachel is.  Andy and Rachel have together decided that Andy’s newest CD which is set to release on iTunes tomorrow and on hard copy CD this Friday, will be used in a Kingdom furthering way.  They are donating the proceeds from the CD and the merchandise to the El Salvador Hospital Project!!!   Visit www.hope-rise.com for more details on these amazing young people who together are trying to be the change.    And don’t forget to get your copy!!!  What this does for us is gets people involved in very real ways… People that we never would have known… it spreads the word and gets people involved without us having to even be in this country.  God is directing this and people are learning about it when we aren’t involved directly.  Its not all about in person presentations and pie charts anymore.  God is leading it to have a life of its own so it can grow and flourish through others.  It’s how we always wanted it.  This ministry might have our name on it…. but that is ONLY because the governments of both countries say that it has to bear the name of someone who can be legally on paper.  This ministry is God’s… and we want all people who have a heart for it to take ownership of it in whatever capacity they want.  We want this to be something that we all do together…. in solidarity… hand in hand….

If you are interested in more information you can contact us at any time via email at ritadoppenberg@cten.org  or  if you are interested in supporting any of the above projects you just read about you can fill out the monthly partnership form from:    http://www.ctenc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Commission-To-Every-Nation-Canada.pdf … print it out….  fill it out… put “The Doppenberg’s in Guatemala” at the bottom & mail it to CTENC at the address on the form.   You can also make a one time gift at http://www.ctenc.ca/ritadoppenberg/   Keep an eye out for our website too… we hope to have it up and running in the coming weeks!

Thanks and God Bless!

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