This past week, we received the email below from 6:8 Ministries, effectively canceling my team’s upcoming mission trip to Guatemala due to the increase in safety risks. As much I hate when God closes doors, I believe now as I always do that His plan is greater than ours. The toughest thing for me to deal with is that our team has been working hard to prepare themselves spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically for this trip. They are totally bummed.
The icing on the cake is that our plane tickets have already been purchase (through American Airlines) and there is a $150.00 cancellation fee. As we have 12 people in our group, that comes out $1,800.00 worth of fundraising dollars down the drain. I’m going to appeal to American Airlines to see if they might have some mercy on us since we’re a group of Missionaries.
Here is the 6:8 announcement:
We need to inform you that 6:8 Ministries will no longer host mission teams in Guatemala. Last week the 6:8 Ministries board of directors made a decision to terminate operations in Guatemala. This decision was made primarily over concern for the safety and security we are able to provide to the short-term mission teams we host.
The fact is that Guatemala is significantly more dangerous than Costa Rica. Continuing to host mission teams in Guatemala creates an unnecessary risk, a risk we were not willing to take. We believe that we can better accomplish our mission through an increased focus on Costa Rica.
We believe that Guatemala is dangerous and have reason to think that it will only become more dangerous. While, we understand that we can never guarantee complete safety for our teams, the increasing level of violent crime, corruption, and organization of gang activity makes Guatemala especially dangerous.
While, we have not experienced any serious security issues, some of the local Guatemalan people we work with have. One of the families we are associated with have been forced into paying off death threats on their children. Since our arrival we were made aware of organized vigilantism within the proximity of our team house. These men are the Guatemalan equivalent of a”neighborhood watch”. This group of men are heavily armed, and wear trench coats and ski masks. They patrol the streets in efforts to keep out dangerous gangs.
Our staff on the ground, Amy Mikul has been communicating “feeling unsafe”. Amy has been coming to Guatemala for the past five years and has a good understanding of the area. She has informed us that she believes that the crime is getting worse, to the point she now feels unsafe to live alone. All of this, combined with reports in the media, have led us to believe Guatemala is no longer a right fit for 6:8 Ministries. To give you a further idea of why we feel this way, I’ve included links to a few articles written by various sources over the past few days:
One final note. This decision was not made in conjunction with deepStream Ministries. Neither the Johnson nor the Schmidt families were consulted or brought into the decision process. While, we believe that it’s too dangerous for 6:8 Ministries to host short-term mission teams, we don’t feel that it is too dangerous for hardened missionary families called to serve in Guatemala. These missionaries know what to look for and how to avoid dangerous situations. We applaud these families for stepping out in faith to follow what they believe to be God’s call on their lives.
While we are disappointed, we are not discouraged. We will continue to focus on Costa Rica and everything God is doing through 6:8 Ministries.
Please feel free to contact Spencer with any questions you may have regarding this decision.
Executive Director – 6:8 Ministries