A team from my faith community Impact recently spent a week serving the thousands of people who live around the Guatemala City Garbage dump. The trip was part of our partnership with a Guatemalan ministry named Potter’s House.

Unlike our last 3 trips, this team was able to go inside the actual dump. They passed out water, vitamins, and medicine to hundreds of people who were scavenging through the dump that day.

My colleague Benj Petroelje shared his journal entry with me, and gave me permission to post it.

Guatemala City Garbage Dump – Journal – Day 5

Vultures.  They are what’s eating at me most about this trip and the Guatemala City dump.  Human Beings.  They are in competition with these vultures for the precious scraps of garbage.  Is there a more obvious picture of death anywhere in this world?  Vultures – a bird that represents death.  Human Beings – made in God’s image and meant for life … Standing/Flying side-by-side wading through garbage.


Jesus spoke about a place where two valleys met at the site of a garbage dump.  He spoke of a kind of unquenchable fire that existed there.  It was a literal place.  It was sub-human.  No one was meant to exist there.  Not even vultures.  He called it Gehenna.

We call it hell.

I rode into hell today in the back of a pickup truck.  Unlike Lazarus, I was able to bring water.  But what does water do for those working next to vultures?  What do vitamins do when your very existence is less than human?  What does medicine do when the worms living in your stomach are guaranteed to return?

I’m not sure what they do.

But I do know that hell exists.  And I do know that hell isn’t meant to exist in a world meant for heaven.

So we brought water.

We brought vitamins.

We brought medicine.

We brought ourselves.

Because hell exists (and it shouldn’t).

I know.  I went there today.

Explore how you can partner with Potter’s House on their site.


GuatemalaCityDump Kids

Let’s buy a house together!

We can can buy a house next to the Guatemala City Dump for only $4,000.

Not interested in living there?

OK. We can give it to one of the thousands of families who already live there without a home.

Worried about giving a hand out that might harm do more harm than good? 

Do not worry – this will be the smart kind of gift

The church that I am a part of, Elmbrook, has a long standing partnership with an organization in the Guatemala City Dump. Potter’s House is a Guatemalan Christian Organization committed to ministry to the 11,000+ people who live around the city dump. Potter’s House has history and relationships in the city dump neighborhoods. They will work with community leaders to identify the family that should receive the house.Potter’s House will then continue to their holistic care for the family.

I have seen how a house can change the future for a family in the Guatemala City Dump. A house obviously provides the family with shelter from the natural elements and some of the crime in the community. The house also gives the family the stability needed to break the cycle of extreme poverty. I have even seen families use their homes to launch innovative businesses so that their survival is no longer dependant upon picking through the city dump.

If you would like to help me buy a house for a family living in the Guatemala City Dump, please print out, or copy, the section below and send it with your contribution. Checks can be made out to Elmbrook Church, as they are coordinating the effort. Please include the code 99gu36 on the memo line of the check. Do not include my name on the check.

Thank you for partnering with me in this life saving gift


ELMBROOK CHURCH: Guatemala City/ Potter’s House Mission  (99gu36) 

Refered by Jim Vining

Gift Amount:


Mailing Address:

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Mail to: Attn – Elmbrook Church Finance Office   Elmbrook Church 777 S. Barker Road Brookfield, WI 53045