RICHFIELD A group from Richfield Mennonite Church is "on the ball" with plans to provide housing to poor families in Guatemala.
A softball tournament fundraiser will be held beginning at 9 a.m. April 20 at the Evendale Ball Field. Cost of registration is $125 per team. Those coming to watch the games can enjoy turkey and mashed potatoes, hamburgers, hot dogs and more.
This is the final fundraiser for the missions trip to Guatemala set for June 8-15.
Photo submitted by JOHN BLYLER
Individuals traveling with Frontier Missions help to build a house in 2011 in Guatemala. The Richfield Mennonite Church team will build houses of similar construction during a mission trip in June.
John Blyler, RMC member, has been to the country twice in the past few years with a group known as Frontier Mission. He attended with Carlisle Brethren in Christ Church. His most recent trip was two years ago, and Blyler wanted to return with a team from his home church.
"What impacted me most were two things," Blyler said of the trips.
He recalled the severity of the economy and corrupt government. But it was the look in a little girl's eyes when she gave a whistle - the only toy she had - to Blyler's daughter that made it difficult for him and his daughter to leave. He also said he watched as masses of people dug through a landfill to find whatever they could for survival.
"Seeing how poor they are and then coming home and seeing what we have here " Blyler stopped short and shook his head.
There are roughly a dozen RMC members signed up for the trip, including two men who are helping to make the softball game a success. Rick Treaster and Kevin Dewey are prepared to make the journey in June.
For Treaster, the trip is personal. His own adopted daughter, Analeena, 5, was born in Guatemala. His hope is to find a way to visit the orphanage where she was raised. He and his family visited the country in the past and are looking forward to returning.
Dewey said he wants to take part because "it seems like a good way to help out." He said he recently started attending the church and wanted a way to get involved. Dewey came up with the idea of a softball tournament to raise the funds.
Once the crew from RMC and others affiliated with Frontier Mission arrive on site June 8, they will see concrete slabs on the ground measuring 10 feet by 12 to 14 feet. It is their job to build homes on the slabs and provide chicken coops for each of the two houses they are building. A local church in Guatemala found two families who are unemployed and in need of shelter. The chicken coops will help them raise eggs or chicks to sell for money. Each family is provided with 50 chickens to get them started.
The cost to participate in the mission trip is roughly $1,800 per person which includes building materials. The church has held three other successful fundraisers including a turkey supper, an auction and a yard sale. They are hoping the April 20 ball game will draw enthusiasts. There will also be a car wash during the game.
If it rains, the tournament will be postponed until April 27. Eight teams are signed up but there is room for 12, Dewey said. The tournament is co-ed meaning that at least three of the members of each team must be female, boys under 16 or males over 50. It is a three-pitch game. Three elimination games will be played at Basom Park in Richfield at the same time as the tournament games.
To sign up, call Kevin Dewey at (570) 374-7811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.