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One of my first leadership experiences was 17 years ago, when I was an assistant leader on a missions trip to Guatemala. I had been there the year before during my study abroad program in Central America.

During the study program, we spent our last 2 weeks in Guatemala. A portion of my time was spent on a farm, learning and experiencing farm life alongside the Guatemalans. The rest of the time was spent debriefing our entire semester, and we did this in Antigua, a beautiful historic city west of Guatemala City.

I absolutely fell in love with Guatemala from my first time there.

But this time was different. The purpose this time was to help with a construction project at a school in a little town called San Antonio Nejapa. The school was run by Compassion International, and there we not only got to help provide physical labor, but we also were able to get to know the teachers as well as the children of the area.

Gordon College missions team in Guatemala 2002 | Volcan de Acetenango on the left; Volcan de Fuego on the right

From our little hostel where we stayed (and all shared one bathroom – that got interesting when people were sick), we could see 3 volcanoes: Volcan de Acetanango, Volcan de Fuego, and Volcan de Agua. It was an incredible trip, and one that bonded me even more to the country of Guatemala.

Since that time, I’ve been back 3 more times: once on my honeymoon, and twice helping lead missions trips from our church. Each time I return, I’m struck by the beauty of the country, the kind and generous hearts of the people, and the poverty that is hard to understand.

On Sunday, June 3, Volcan de Fuego erupted and has left over 100 dead and dozens still missing.

Thousands have been evacuated and are living in temporary housing, and many may be left homeless. Millions are also being affected by the ash and the sulfur dioxide released by the eruption.

There are some incredible before and after photos in this article, which help you to understand the level of damage this eruption brought.

You can see how powerful this eruption was from this photo below:

From the moment I heard the news the Monday after the explosion, my heart has been heavy.

I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what.

The country and people of Guatemala are near and dear to my heart, and it’s been hard to think about what they are dealing with and knowing what a difficult recovery it will be, especially those who have lost their homes and loved ones.

Often when something like this happens, it’s easy to feel helpless. If we can’t physically be there to do something, we can feel like there’s nothing we can do.

Esther Littlefield with a group of kids in Guatemala

But I realized that is a lie, and it is possible to do something.

Here are 3 ways help the survivors of Guatemala’s volcanic eruption:

1. Prayer.

Yes, it seems trite to say this in light of tragic situations. But prayer is actually talking to God, and that is powerful. Even Jesus took times to get away from the busyness of life and pray, so clearly it’s a good idea for us to do the same.

2. Donate or purchase items from the list below.

Learning and research come naturally to me, so I’ve been scouring the internet, Instagram, and connections in Guatemala for the best ways to help the victims and survivors of the volcanic eruption.

Aside from prayer, you can also donate funds to organizations that are on the ground in Guatemala, providing much needed aid and ongoing relief and development. Another option is to purchase items made in Guatemala from companies that are donating a percentage of their profits to the relief efforts. I’ve put together a list of both organizations as well as shopping options below.

3. Utilize your skills.

Finally, a third way you can help support the relief efforts in Guatemala is to utilize your skills. Perhaps it means actually going to Guatemala sometime in the next few months or year. Or, it might mean using your skills right where you live, and choosing to support the Volcan de Fuego recovery with money you earn from that effort.

That’s what I’ve decided to do. I realized that I have skills that I’ve learned and use in my business, and so does my team member and sister, Naomi. This past week reminded me that I’m passionate about Guatemala, and there’s no reason that I should keep that passion separate from my work.

So Naomi and I are teaming up to put together a workshop where we will be teaching some of the strategies and processes we use to get content produced, searchable, and seen by lots of people.

Naomi has several blog posts that are on the first page of google, as well as one post ranking in the top position for certain keyword phrases. (See her post about traveling to Guatemala here). And with Morningstar Media Services, we have helped dozens of clients get their content published and seen by more people.

In this Content Marketing Workshop, you’ll find out:

  • How to come up with blog post ideas using good search terms
  • How to write a blog post in a way that will keep people reading
  • The exact process we use to publish a blog post and make sure it looks great, has the images needed, and is shareable
  • The best ways to get more people read your blog post after it is written

This workshop is perfect for anyone who has a blog or business and wants their content to be searchable, high quality, and wants more people to see their content.

Content Marketing Workshop will help you grow your visibility online and benefit the victims of the Volcan de Fuego eruption. Click To Tweet

The cost for this workshop is $27 and at least 50% of the proceeds will go to the relief efforts in Guatemala. It will take place on June 25th at 10am EST. If you can’t make it live, you can still purchase the workshop and you’ll have access to the replay.

Bonus: If you would rather donate $50 or more to one of the organizations below, just email me and let me know, and I’ll add you to the list for the workshop free of charge.

SIGN UP FOR THE CONTENT WORKSHOP HERE

Here’s some more ways you can help the survivors of Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego eruption:

Donate directly to an organization doing relief work in Guatemala:

  • World Vision
  • Red Cross
  • Centro Crisitiano Cultural de Guatemala – this is the church that I have worked directly with on my 2 most recent missions trips to Guatemala. They are based in Guatemala City and are providing support and help on an ongoing basis to people across Guatemala. They are specifically taking action to help the relief efforts of Volcan de Fuego. You can send support via paypal to cccg@cccguatemala.com or send a check to Sunny Side Branch 1083
    5708 East King Canyon Road Fresco Ca 93727.
  • Potter’s House Guatemala – Here’s what they have posted on their Facebook page. If you donate here, be sure to mark your donation as emergency support.

Ways to help the survivors of the Volcan de Fuego eruption in Guatemala. #volcandefuego Click To Tweet

Shop for products where a % of your purchase will benefit the relief efforts:

  • The Root Collective – Shoes and Accessories handcrafted in Guatemala. For the month of June, The Root Collective is donating 10% of sales to relief efforts in Guatemala.

  • Hiptipico – Handmade in Guatemala; products such as camera straps, custom bags, and shoes. They are donating $10 from every purchase to reconstructing the affected communities. (Their Instagram profile does not indicate how long this donation will be in effect, so check with them if you are unsure).

  • Utz Threads – Purses, bags, laptop cases, and more. 50% of purchases through Tuesday, June 12th, will benefit the relief efforts.

It’s crazy to think that every product that ends up in our customers’ hands was born here: #Chichicastenango #Guatemala. Here’s a colorful post after a lot of serious posts. Plus, check out founder @floresdelmundo’s blog post about her impressions of this special place on our blog at utzthreads.com. . While you’re on the website don’t forget about our father’s day sale and remember that 50% of all proceeds through next Tuesday go to volcano relief. We will be talking more in story today about where your funds are going now that Eduardo and Gabriela are back home. . . . . . . #everydayguatemala #everydaylatinamerica #madeinguatemala #travelguatemala #girlslovetravel #dametraveler #sheisnotlost #fuegovolcano #travel #ihavethisthingwithtextiles #ihavethisthingwithcolor

A post shared by Utz Threads (@utzthreads) on

In moments like these, it’s easy to feel like we can’t make a difference. It’s sometimes easier to look away, to ignore the pain and suffering of others because it’s sad and hard to think about. And we feel like our $5 donation or our prayers or our simple efforts may not make a difference.

But here’s what I believe: every little bit counts. And action trumps inaction any time. Together, we can make a difference for the people of Guatemala.

road and mountains in Guatemala

Do you know of any other great ways to help the survivors of Guatemala’s volcanic eruption? Feel free to drop your ideas in the comments below.