• An Alternative Way To Spend the Holiday Season

    Update #3

    Now that things have finally settled down for the Heffners, I thought this would be the perfect time to give the 3rd and final update on their trip to Guatemala! 

    On New Year’s Day the Heffners, along with the 13 other volunteers from Mt.  Pleasant, were welcomed back to Indiana by the bitter cold! I’m sure stepping off the plane was a big transition from the beautiful 80 degree weather they experienced just hours before. But nonetheless, everyone made it home safe and sound, so what more could you ask for? 

    After having a few days to recoup, Mike shared with the team about their experience in Guatemala. Unlike an extravagant Caribbean vacation, the mission trip volunteers did not experience a luxury ride back to their hotel rooms once they arrived, instead they were greeted by a school bus and a bumpy, two hour car ride to a hacienda that was set up as dorms. Nonetheless, they knew what they were there for and they were excited for what the next few days had in store for them!   

    Each day the build started and ended with a 45 minute bus ride down a rocky, dirt road on the side of the mountain. Although the ride was a rough one, it came with pure beauty. You could see people harvesting the crops down in the fields, people picking corn on steep hillsides, and even young girls carrying jugs of water and bundles of sticks on their heads up the side of the mountain. All very unusual for us to see here in Indiana, but seemed to fit in so perfectly in such a beautifully unique, yet simplistic culture.

    Mike mentioned that there were several times during the build that the team was exhausted and stumped with random problems that arose. However, with God’s helping hand, everything seemed to work out perfectly. Not only did the build finish on time, the family was beyond happy with the outcome, and all volunteers left with a new outlook on life.  

    As Mike mentioned during his recap of the trip, “sometimes a trip like this is what some people need in order to really see God’s work first hand.” Having the opportunity to not only help a family in need, but to experience a culture so different than our norm gave each and every volunteer the ability to see just how truly blessed they are and how good God is in all that he does. 

    Please check out some of the fun photos taken during the trip below! To see additional photos of the building process/outcome, the celebratory dinner that was prepared to thank the volunteers, the family that now has a place to truly call home, the beautiful sight seeing that took place, and the countless memories that will forever be in the Heffner’s hearts visit our Express Indy South Facebook page!! 

      day 1   day 4  family

       Day 1 of build                                                                            The build complete                                                           The Family who has a place to call home!                            



    Update #2

    Now that Christmas has come and gone, we can finally relax and ease our way into the New Year! However, things are still very busy for the Heffner’s as they are currently in the middle of their build for the mission trip in Guatemala!

    On December 26th the Heffner family along with 13 other volunteers set out on their journey to help build and create a home for a deserving family in San Raymundo, Guatemala.  Since we have been unable to keep in contact with the Heffner’s during their trip, we are continually sending prayers their way for a safe build and trip back home.

    Before departure, Mike sent a few pictures that showed just how excited they were to be able to visit somewhere that holds such a special place in their hearts, while helping make a difference for such a deserving family.  Check out the pictures below!

     Group- Guatemala Kelly and Brandon- Guatemala Mike and Kaitlyn


    During a conversation that Mike and I had prior to the trip, Mike mentioned that it takes quite a bit to prepare for a mission trip. A couple of the most important items needed to be able to organize and complete a mission trip include people and donations. Participating in the actual mission trip typically runs around $1,400 per person. This fee covers all expenses for the trip- a place to stay (dorms), a ride to and from the work site (travel by bus), and food/water. So, as you can imagine, it is difficult to recruit a group of individuals who are able to participate. On the other hand, the church provides all materials and supplies for the build. However, these are typically provided through donation- whether that be actual materials/supplies or some sort of monetary donation.

    So how can you help make a difference for upcoming mission trips? Become involved in some shape, way, or form!  Whether that be by raising money or saving money to go on the mission trip itself, or donating small toys, supplies, materials/supplies, or even money for the trip. Donations can be given to specific churches that participate in mission trips, such as Mt. Pleasant, or to CASAS Por Cristo -an organization involved in the planning and execution of mission trips.

    Make sure to stay tuned for the next update on #HeffnersTakeGuat or better yet, #GuatsImpact on the Heffner’s! 

    Update #1

    One of my favorite things about the holiday season is creating and searching for the perfect gifts to give to those I love. I’m sure we can all agree that giving a gift that represents the appreciation, love, and happiness you have is one of the most rewarding, joyful, and satisfying feelings you can experience. 

    While we are busy searching and giving our favorite findings this holiday season, the Heffner’s along with 13 other individuals will be spending the holiday season giving in a slightly different way.

    On Dec. 26th the owners, Mike and Kelly and their two children - Kaitlyn and Brandon Heffner, along with several other volunteers from Mt. Pleasant will embark on a mission trip to San Raymundo, Guatemala to help spread the giving spirit. 

    This mission trip will take a total of 7 days to complete – 4 days of building, a day of exploring the culture, and two days of travel. This will be the Heffner’s 4th time to Guatemala and their 2nd mission trip there. And although each mission trip is special, Guatemala holds a special place in the hearts of the Heffner’s since Kaitlyn and Brandon Heffner are originally from there. So having the opportunity to visit and experience the differences in the cultures only adds more excitement to this trip. 

    When asked what are you most excited for and what do you plan to accomplish while you are there, Mike mentioned his initial thoughts before his first mission trip 3 years ago. He went on to say that he originally thought about the impact that him and his team would make on the family they helped. And although they did get to leave feeling like they made an impact, they left feeling like they were the ones who received a gift. The gift of feeling blessed. The gift of joy. And the gift of seeing the positives in every situation. 

    So as for this time around, Mike said that what excites him the most is that he will get to share that exact feeling with another group of individuals. His main goal, outside of helping the family build a home to start their lives in, is to help his team realize how truly blessed they are and to appreciate even the littlest of things. 

    Stay tuned for the next update on #HeffnersTakeGuat or better yet, #GuatsImpact!