Cheney Free Press -

By Luella Dow

Chelsie Sunde completes desire to return to Guatemala



Chelsie Sunde talking to small Guatemalan boy.

In July 2012, Chelsie Sunde, with other teens and leaders, spent three weeks in Guatemala working and playing with the children. When she arrived home she said, "I would like to go again." This year, as July came around, Sunde, eight other students, some from Christian Heritage School and some from other schools, traveled once more to Guatemala. Marty Klein, principal at Christian Heritage School and Scott Clemenson, a local firefighter, led the group. Their goal was the town of Magdalena.

Sunde said, "I worked with Students International, a program that puts students alongside long-term missionaries in five different countries, one of them being Guatemala. The website is There are different areas of ministry to serve in; we call these 'sites.'"

Sunde named the sites: a hospital (health care) two regular schools (education) sports, an art school, photography and media. She said, "I worked in the media site, taking photos and videos of the students and people they interacted with and their leaders. My leaders in the site were Jose Fares and Randy Braun who is from California. They were absolutely amazing to work with."

Sunde had met Jose Fares last year. She said, "During the year Jose has changed his community in so many ways, including starting a media school for kids to be able to learn photography, a skill they would never have had otherwise. Braun has been working with Jose for a year. It was so much fun to work with them and show God's love in a unique way through photos and videos."

"I'm pretty good with Spanish now," Sunde said. "Some of the kids remembered me from last year. In the home where I stayed this year our host had to get up at 4 a.m. to get me to work. We had fruit flakes and pancakes for breakfast, just like at home. Their diet is largely of beans and rice. The rich people have chicken. They make guacamole from fresh avocados off the trees. Our host rides a motorcycle. Nearly all the people have motorcycles, not cars."

Sometimes Sunde played with the children; follow-the-leader, soccer and basketball were favorites. Sunde and the other teens also helped with chores.

The average temperature for a summer day there is 70 degrees. One night Sunde and her friends walked in the rain and cold to buy fireworks. These fireworks do not make a loud noise. They are used to celebrate birthdays.

Back home in the United States once more, would Chelsie Sunde like to work among the Guatemalan children again? She said, "I would love to go again in a few years, maybe for a whole summer." As they say, "Dear Reader," we'll keep you posted.

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at

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