Posts Tagged ‘Mission Guatemala’

Facebook friends, please vote to help the children of Guatemala

Monday, November 21st, 2011

I’ve posted before about two organizations our family has visited and supports in Guatemala: Mayan Families and Mission Guatemala. Another worthy group that works in the Lake Atitlan region is Amigos de Santa Cruz. Right now, all three are trying to win grants from Chase Community Giving, in a giveaway hosted by Chase on Facebook.

If you’re on Facebook, please help them succeed by following these simple directions to cast your vote. Voting ends Tuesday, November 22. So please act now!

Here’s a note from Sharon Smart-Poage of Mayan Families:

Chase Community Giving is giving money to 100 non-profits.
First place is $250,000.
2nd,3rd, 4th and 5th all receive $100,000.
…6th place through 100th place all will receive $25,000 each.

Each person gets 10 votes. Please vote for Mayan Families, Amigos de Santa Cruz, and Mission Guatemala. We work together, and can all win. (more…)


A letter to José Heaton

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Back in July of this year, I posted a blog about Tom Heaton of Mission Guatemala, whose twenty-year-old son José, was shot and killed on a bus in Guatemala City. This past Sunday, our church in California offered a Mass in honor of José. Although I know Tom, I had never met his son, but as our priest said the prayers asking for “the repose of the soul of José Heaton,” tears streamed down my face. 

Tom adopted José from an orphanage when José was twelve years old.  At José’s memorial service, Tom read a letter to his son, which he later posted on his Facebook page. With Tom’s permission, I am reprinting his letter in its entirety here.

Dear José,

It has been just over a week since I received the news of your death. I played back the message on my answering machine three times to make sure I heard everything correctly. I could not believe the words of George, a pastor in the neighborhood where you lived when I heard them. Jose is dead. It was the call I had dreaded would come for months. I shared the news with Manuel who immediately broke into tears.

There is so much that was left unsaid between us. I am certain I will continue to search for answers until my dying days. I was glad we were able to talk briefly on the phone just a few days earlier and both say, “I love you.”

Your life, especially your early years, was filled with such tragedy, and you had so many questions of your own that were never answered.

I am sure you must have wondered many times why you had to go live in the orphanage while your younger sister, Bea, got to live with family members. Although you were loved and cared for at Hogar Miguel Magone, it still isn’t the same as being loved and cared for by a family. I looked the other day at the picture of your birth mother holding you when you were around two years old. I too wonder why you ended up in the orphanage. I wonder why your birthfather never claimed you or Bea to be his children. I am sure it hurt you deeply that your aunt and grandmother cared for your sister while you lived away from them. I am also sure that you went to the orphanage because they loved you and wanted to make sure you were cared for… and you were.

I am also sure that the tragic murder of your mother affected you far deeper than I could ever know. Still, I will never forget the first day we met at Fundaninos orphanage. You had no idea what was going on, but the smile on your face charmed me right away. I know after we left, Vilma told you that I wanted to adopt you. After spending some more time together while we were in Guatemala, I am so glad you said yes. I think we still have the fastest Guatemala adoption on record. It was 45 days from the time my paperwork entered the system until the signature went on the paper making you Jose Luis Heaton. You told me that you never dreamed anyone would want to adopt a 12 year old boy.

Our family did not turn out how I had dreamed. Your life did not become what I had hoped it would be. But nonetheless, we were still a family. I am grateful that I was able to provide for you experiences and opportunities you would not have had otherwise. (more…)


Boys’ home in San Andres

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

I’m posting a message sent out by Mayan Families, an organization based in Panajachel, Guatemala that is dedicated to helping the people of the Lake Atitlán region. I have visited Mayan Families and met with founders Sharon Smart-Poage and Dwight Poage. They are tireless in their efforts to improve the lives of indigenous Guatemalans. My husband and I sponsor a student through Mayan Families and support their mission.

From Mayan Families:

“For those of you who may not have heard, Tom Heaton’s oldest son Jose was tragically killed in Guatemala City last Saturday.  Memorials can be directed for support of the new boys’ home in San Andres that Tom’s Mission Guatemala and Mayan Families are jointly operating. Tom said, “Helping these boys who have had lives similar to Jose seems to me to give meaning to his life.” Memorial donations can be sent by mail: 

–Mission Guatemala/4725 Mansfield Drive/Newburgh, IN 47630

–Mayan Families/P.O. Box 52/Claremont, NC 28610 

 Or via Paypal at

and earmarked for the boys’ home in San Andres in memory of Jose Heaton.”

Here’s the link:

Thank you so much.


About a father who lost his son

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

This past February, I had the privilege of meeting Tom Heaton in Panajachel, Guatemala, where he lives and works as a United Methodist Pastor from the Indiana conference. I had known about Tom and his work for a few years through my membership in online adoption groups.

Tom is the adoptive father to two sons, Jose and Manuel, both born in Guatemala. Several years ago, Tom started “Mayan Traditions,”  featuring fair-trade crafts to benefit orphanages and child-related ministries in Guatemala. In 2008, he was appointed business administrator of Project Salud y Paz, a United Methodist-related ministry that operates clinics and a preschool in the Guatemalan highlands. Last year, Tom formed Mission Guatemala, a nonprofit organization founded to improve the quality of life for the country’s indigenous population. For the past decade, Tom has dedicated himself to Guatemala and its people. (more…)