SPRINT Guatemala 2013

Seattle Pacific University students learning and serving alongside local leaders in Guatemala.

Discover SPRINT – Sunday, November 3

Join us at Discover SPRINT for a night of stories and video from Summer, 2013 SPRINT trips!  Sunday night, November 3, 7:00 PM in Demaray Hall 150 on the SPU campus.



Thank You!

Our team has now been home for a little over a week. We all safely and successfully arrived home after a long day of travel, thankfully with no mishap!

Looking back on our trip it is hard to believe that our month spent in Guatemala has come and gone. We are so thankful for every relationship built, lesson learned, and opportunity to experience life in the beautiful country of Guatemala. In our last week in Guatemala we finished up with: four after school sessions, two chapel presentations of our David and Goliath skit, an hour of recreation (games and activities) with the elementary school and more fluoride application. All of these activities were incredibly exhausting but even more rewarding. We all built wonderful relationships with the students getting to experience a small piece of their lives. There are so many stories to tell of our time, and ways we saw God move in our own lives and those we interacted with.

It was so difficult to say goodbye to our new students, friends, and families. We would like to thank all of them for the care and love we received. Our gratefulness and love for them is absolutely beyond words!

Thank you also to all of you at home for your support! There is no way we would have been successful and enjoy our time there as much as we did without your prayers.

As we adjust back into life back at home and prepare to go back to Seattle Pacific, we are eager to share our experiences and the millions of photos taken!

Love SPRINT 2013 Guatemala Team!

Alexis, Amanda, Brooke, Gwen, and Lindsey

The Team :)

The Team 🙂

The team with Paris and Ury at our goodbye dinner. Paris and Ury planned our activities and served as our "mom" and "dad" at school!

The team with Paris and Ury at our goodbye dinner. Paris and Ury planned our activities and served as our “mom” and “dad” at school!

Some elementary students during the hour of recreation. This activity is called "Musculos" where they put balloons in their shirt like muscles!

Some elementary students during the hour of recreation. This activity is called “Musculos” where they put balloons in their shirt like muscles!

Amanda with some Elementary students.

Amanda with some Elementary students.

Elementary students during an after school English Lesson. They colored these hats and wrote "I want to be a..." filling in what they want to be when they grow up.

Elementary students during an after school English Lesson. They colored these hats and wrote “I want to be a…” filling in what they want to be when they grow up.



Home soon!

Hello, friends!

After a month in Guatemala, the team will return to the States on this weekend.  As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you’ll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.

For those of you meeting students at the airport, here’s flight information:

  • Gwen, Amanda and Lindsey return to Seattle on September 1 at 12:05 AM on American #1058.  (That’s just after midnight on August 31).
  • Brooke returns to Denver on September 1 at 12:25 AM on American #3677
  • Alexis returns to Los Angeles on August 31 at 8:35 PM on American #231

As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives.  It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:

  • Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
  • Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
  • Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
  • And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.

It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives.  The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing gathering in October, and will be encouraged to continue meeting with their SPRINT team to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.

I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories.  Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time.  We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account.

I’ve mailed team members some discussion questions and a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship (www.kristafoundation.org), to help them think through their experience as they move forward.  If you’ve got time, I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student.

Thanks for your support of students on this team!   Please let me know if you have questions.


Week 3!

imageimageThis week we returned to the city, back to our normal classes. We also taught English classes to the Primaria in the afternoon. We divided the kids into 3 sections where they did activities to help practice their vocabulary. Alexis and Amanda played games, Gwen and Lindsey had the kids do skits and sing songs, and Brooke had different art projects for them. It was so wonderful to hear the kids practicing their vocab and shouting “Old McDondald had a Farm” at the top of their lungs. The kids here are so full of energy and eager to spend time with us, whether it is in the classroom, playing games, or having a tickle fight during recess!

On Thursday we had the opportunity to hang out with the Pasitos (PreK). Again the kids were divided into stations where they did art, played games, and cooked!

It is hard to believe that we only have one more week left here! We have so enjoyed learning about the culture and building relationships. There are constantly opportunities to experience new experiences, such as participating in a game of soccer during gym class, playing card games with new friends, or making Choco Bananos with our families!

Here are some pictures from the last two weeks!

Love Alexis, Amanda, Brooke, Gwen, and Lindsey!

PS Owen, we are expecting our prize for most Blog followers in the fall, we didn’t forget 🙂

Update from Chimaltenango

Our time in Chimaltenango was an amazing experience. Gwen and Brooke worked in Secondario (high school), while Lindsey and Alexis worked in Primaria (Elementary). Amanda worked some in Primaria, but also taught a few Bible classes! Along with the classes we treated approximately 70 students and teachers with Fluoride. Dentist trips are very expensive and for most of them our fluoride treatments would be their only treatment for one year.

We were in Chimaltenango Monday through Wednesday. On Thursday we spent the day with our families. It was a day if rest in the city due to the celebration of a saint. Today we went with a group of our students from Guatemala City to a public school. There our students had games, songs, a drama, food, and more fluoride treatments. Kids from the public school accepted Christ after their performance there. It was so wonderful to see our students interacting with the Elementary students at the public school. They all exuded servant hearts and were an excellent reminder as to why our group is in Guatemala.

Thank you for all your prayers! Hasta Luego!

Pictures to come!

Dia De Guatemala

Today at America Latina, all of the students paraded around the school to start off the celebrations for Guatemala´s Independence (Sept 15). All of the students and teachers (PreK to High School) dressed in traditional Mayan clothing, paraded the streets with flags from all over the world, and our school´s band playing! After the parade, we all returned to the main campus for an all school assembly where Los Pasitos (PreK) did a dance and La Primaria (Elementary) did a song. After the assembly, we had a giant fair full of traditional food, drinks, and treats from indigenous Guatemala. Classes continued afterwards for the middle and high schoolers where we were able to teach them American games and songs! We said goodbye to our students for the week as we prepare to go to the rural town of Chimaltenango Monday thru Wednesday! Tomorrow we are going on a surprise group trip with our hosts from American Latina to explore the city!

Dios Les Bendiga! (God Bless You!)

All School Assembly!

All School Assembly!


Amanda during the parade con los ninos.

Amanda during the parade con los ninos.


Praying before the parade

Los Pasitos praying before the parade


La Primeria with their English teacher Lindsey!

La Primeria with their English teacher Lindsey!



Things are going well.  We have a big festival tomorrow that we dress up for – we’ll post a picture for the blog after that!

We have been in English classes  for one week now. Gwen is teaching preschool, Lindsey is in elementary school, Alexis is in middle school, and Amanda and Brooke are teaching high school English.

We are going to Chimultenango next week (Monday-Wednesday). So far we have enjoyed being with our families and getting to know the teachers we work with as well as the kids, which of course are adorable. The people of Guatemala seem to have the idea that if you are American then you live like those seen in American movies. We have a great opportunity to spend time with people and show them that we are just like them, just different cultures. The students are eager to learn and we are eager to teach as well as learn from our students.

We will start afterschool programs in our third week.  Next week we’ll do fluoride treatments while in Chimaltenango.

They’ve arrived!

Hello friends!

I just received this note from Paris, principal at America Latina schools:

The team arrived safely. Three of them arrived without luggage but the airline says arriving tomorrow.

Thank goodness for good planning and carry-ons! We’ll keep you updated. 😉


Today’s the day!

Early this morning Amanda, Gwen and Lindsey met at SeaTac Airport to begin their adventure in Guatemala. They’ll connect with Brooke and Alexis in Dallas and will arrive in Guatemala City tonight.

We’ll keep you updated through this blog; the girls will post at least weekly. In the meantime, if you have questions please contact me at owen@spu.edu or (206) 427-1296.

Thanks for your support of this team!

Owen Sallee, SPRINT Advisor


What SPRINT’s All About

Hello, friends!

With today’s return of the Vietnam SPRINT team and the departure of the Brazil team, we’re pretty close to SPRINT’s halfway point this summer.  (For a full list of this summer’s trips, visit the SPRINT webpage).

I know you’re primarily interested in reports from teams’ trips, so I’ll keep this post brief.  Quickly, though, I wanted to offer some background information on the SPRINT program and our goals for all of this international travel, learning and service you’ll read about on these pages.

University-sponsored short-term missions at Seattle Pacific University date back to the early 1960s; participants in Operation Outreach, later renamed Seattle Pacific Reachout INTernational, have volunteered in countries around the world for many years.  Serving in teams alongside in-country local leadership, the objective of SPRINT trips has always been to provide needed help, a witness to the Gospel and important learning opportunities for college students.

Today SPRINT is advised and supported by SPU’s John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development. Perkins Center staff (that’s me) and student leaders partner to recruit, train and send the SPRINT teams you’re reading about this summer.

It’s important for us to engage students with effective, sustainable, community-developing work that promotes long-term transformation rather than the negative, dependency-creating outcomes sometimes associated with short-term missions.  To that end, our pre-trip training and host-partner selection focus on a set of values outlined by the Christian Community Development Association, emphasizing local leadership development, empowerment and reconciliation that bridges both social and spiritual gaps. Our hope is that students will learn from effective community engagement models and apply these lessons to their future work, wherever God leads them.

Another key aspect of the SPRINT process is our emphasis on post-trip reflection and application.  Neat experiences, great photos and fun stories about new foods do not equal life transformation.  However, when students are intentional in reflecting on their experiences, learning take-aways and challenges of the trip they’re more likely to discover God at work throughout the trip experience and beyond.

To encourage the reflection process we’ll send each student a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Service as he or she returns home.  The journal highlights the importance of incorporating service and mission experiences into one’s life through reflection and application.  You might find this sample article interesting:  In “Staying for Tea” Aaron Ausland reflects on the importance of long-term commitment and listening to community in order to find one’s place of effectiveness as an outsider coming in.

Thanks again for your support of students as they participate in SPRINT this summer.  If you’d like more information on the program, ways to give or ways to be involved, please contact me at (206) 281-2932 or owen@spu.edu.

Owen Sallee, SPRINT Advisor



Post Navigation