It has been no secret Tim and I have been big fans of Lemonade International, a community development organization focused on the largest urban slum in Guatemala City, Guatemala. When we discovered Lemonade, we were immediately struck by the story of how God raised up local Guatemalans to walk into one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the world compelled by love and hope for what could be done to renew this place. We were drawn to the deeply focused method of building relationships and restoring dignity to a group of people who often feel equated with the trash that surrounds the deep ravine they call home.
So, you can imagine our excitement to be invited to join the 2013 Lemonade Bloggers Team! On April 14-18th, Tim and I will visit the community of La Limonada along with other bloggers from across the States to meet the community, participate with the Lemonade development programs and bear witness to God’s work there. We will ask questions, hear stories, meet the staff, visit the La Limonada schools, observe vocational training and micro-enterprise programs and learn about their vision for sustainable development in this community. Though I am sure to be overwhelmed by the stories of gangs, violence, poverty and hopelessness, I fully expect to be rocked by the work God is doing there. I expect to see and hear what I can not expect or plan for. And I expect to share and process through blog pots each day we are there.
I worked for over seven years in the headquarters of an international development office for where I heard all forms of donor/sponsor skepticism. Healthy skepticism, I should add. There are many opportunities to get involved with helping the poor all over the world. But, how can you trust the sponsored child actually receives the help you are promised? How do you know the child’s story is true? How do you know the staff on the ground have the child’s best interest at heart? How do you know this program is using your donations appropriately? Often, we leap and trust. This trip is your opportunity to leap with us, while asking all the good questions you have! You have until April to respond to this post. Meet me for coffee or contact me here to share what barriers you have felt to getting involved in an organization like this. I will take your questions with me, seek out answers and maybe even share some photographic evidence. I believe an organization this focused and intentional will stand up to all your doubts and potentially rocky past experiences. And for all the early-adopters out there, if you sponsor a child with Lemonade prior to our trip, maybe we can try to meet them!
Allow me the opportunity to advocate for this community by following my journey on this blog! Read my posts as I prepare and go to La Limonada. Pray for us as we travel and process this deep poverty. Pray we find ways to encourage and honor the hard-working staff. Pray for God’s love to shine through us as we spend such a brief amount of time with the community. And please celebrate this opportunity to hear the stories of those often pushed aside and forgotten. Honored to have you with us on this adventure!
Read more about the bloggers team and explore the programs of Lemonade International here.