Family uproots for missions in Guatemala

By July 17, 2012

Guatemala (MNN) — Can you imagine quitting your job, picking up and moving to a country where you don’t even speak the native language?

That’s exactly what Mitch and Karey Bart plan to do through Orphan Outreach.

On August 8, the Bart family will head down to Guatemala for a year-long mission stint. They will be ministering God’s love to kids with Little House of Refuge Orphanage, a partner of Orphan Outreach, just outside Xela, Guatemala. The orphanage is home to nearly 60 children.

“Because we don’t speak the language (except for one of our daughters), the only way that we can really minister to them–especially through evangelism–is just by being the hands and feet of Christ and just showing our love,” says Karey.

The process of Mitch and Karey gaining a heart for the Lord’s work in Guatemala started back in 2007.

After becoming a Christian the previous year, Karey decided to take her daughters Jenna, 15, and Alyssa, 13, on a mission trip to Guatemala. They went with our sister station 91.3 WCSG in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“It’s something I had always wanted to do,” Karey says, “and we decided it would be a good time for our girls to experience a mission trip.”

But it didn’t stop there. “A year later, WCSG decided to a mission trip [to Guatemala] with a medical team,” shares Karey. “So I went back because I really enjoyed the trip the first time. I decided it was just something that I absolutely loved; I loved the people, loved the country.”

Then in 2010, their daughter, Jenna, started college pursuing a Spanish major and went back to Guatemala to study abroad. Her parents took a week to go down to Guatemala and visit her. Mitch says, “[We] trudged through the water when there was a bad storm and also just dealt with the language barrier and the difference in food and [lack of] comfort from our own home.”

Despite all that, Mitch says they were touched by what they saw. “Once I was there and met the people and worked with children there, it changed my heart to see what we could do to help.”

The decision to go to Guatemala this next year came rather unexpectedly. “I think it came about as a fluke more than anything else,” explains Mitch. “I think we were kind of joking that it’d be nice to come down, but after being in touch with those children, it really became serious.”

Through a process of talking to family and seeing the Lord open doors, it solidified the deal. The Barts only had their house on the rental market for two days before someone took it.

“In itself, it’s getting out of your comfort zone,” says Mitch. “We all can do things from home, but for us, we really wanted to make that change and show our commitment to Christ. We felt to truly do that is to give much more of ourselves. I did quit my job in order to do this, and we’re just trusting God to provide for us when we come back.”

Currently, they need to sell their car in the U.S. and buy a new one in Guatemala, since it’s a 30-minute drive from where they’ll be staying to get to Little House of Refuge Orphanage. Mitch guesses a car could cost around $10,000.

Click here to donate through Orphan Outreach and specify your gift for the Bart family.

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