Guatemalan Mission: That’s their entire world

Ordinary Missionaries 

The stories of George And Vonda Sisneros as they work in the village of El Rosario, Guatemala

“In essence, that’s the size of their entire world”

Venancia is not doing well.  She seemed to be getting better and then she took a hard turn for the worse.   After visiting the doctor for the 3rd time in a month, we decided to get a 2nd opinion. The new doctor looked at her file and exams and ordered a CT scan.

The CT scan showed that there was a mass blocking her intestines.  That’s why she has been vomiting and losing weight. Venancia was immediately admitted to a private hospital and put on IV fluids.  Overnight, she began to improve.  The doctor said that she will most likely need surgery and it could cost $25,000.  Yes, that’s US dollars.

Clearly, this is not a financial option.  The doctor wrote a letter of recommendation to be admitted to the National Hospital in Antigua where she could get the operation for free.  But, there IS a price to pay.  Venancia was admitted to the National Hospital and has been there for a week and she is currently not on IV fluids.

I spoke with a good friend who is a doctor (who does not work at that hospital) and she said she would check in on Venancia the next day.  In my very humble opinion, based on what I have seen, she needs this surgery.  She won’t live more than a few weeks without it.  Her little body will have to survive the surgery.  She’s 58-years-old, frail and weak.
Latest Update on Venancia
The doctor friend I spoke with visited Venancia the next day.  She talked with the doctor on staff and there were reasons she could not be on IV fluids.  It didn’t make sense to me but my friend assured me they were monitoring her and testing to see if she needed surgery and when that would be.Later that day, after my friend left, Venancia was finally put on IV fluids and within 24 hours she was recovering again. She has been on fluids for almost a week now and is gaining enough strength for the surgery she absolutely needs.

Venancia is scheduled for surgery Today.  As you read this, she is probably out of surgery.  I’m still very, very concerned for her. I’ll breathe easier when she is recovering.

The principal of the school visited her this week.  Venancia has worked as the cook and janitor of the school for years.  The very first thing she asked was if she could have her job back when she got better.

“Venancia, You will always have a job.” He smiled and just shook his head.I’ve been in Guatemala for two years and the people here still amaze me.  They are hard working and humble.

The boys from Academy received their mid year grades recently and 31 of my 36 boys improved!  How is that even possible? I am so proud of them.  Read about Carlos HERE, and how he fought for his chance to be in the academy and then how he fought back from failing 7 of 10 classes!
Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 10.49.37 PM
Most kids from El Rosario have never been more than 5 miles outside of their little community. In essence, that’s the size of their entire world. This month we drove 15 boys 50 miles, to climb Volcan Pakaya as a reward for their hard work.  It’s hard to describe how beautiful it was.  Not just the volcano.  It was the boys and their wide eyes.  I just stepped back and watched them soak it in.  They stopped every 10 minutes to marinade in the view of their beautiful country.Yesterday, for a few hours, the world got a whole lot bigger for 7 kids from a small village in Guatemala.  Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 10.49.27 PM

To read more about the Sisneros’ mission in Guatemala, stay tuned to Culturs.guru for more of their stories.  To help on their journey in El Rosario, click here.
Photos courtesy of George and Vonda Sisneros


  1. Great article! Awesome pictures too. What Venacia is doing as a single mother of four is incredibly difficult but she sounds like she’s doing a good job. I hope her surgery went well and she is healthy now!

  2. The formatting of this story is really really good. Of course the story is incredible, as I can’t even imagine being faced with some of these challenges. I would like to go on mission trip someday too, and the Sisneros are an inspiration!

  3. very touching article! I have a lot of respect for venacia taking care of her kids.

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