In October of 2007, a small group from the Diocese of Charleston went on a fact-finding trip to Guatemala. The diocese partnered with the Sisters of Bethany who operate a couple of Catholic schools and a small clinic. Upon their return, staffers immediately began planning the first medical mission trip.
The word was put out via parish bulletins and the diocesan newspaper seeking interested missioners. People from all over the diocese responded and that first group of 14 left for Guatemala in April 2008. Since that first medical mission, teams have gone to Guatemala twice a year and the number of participants has nearly tripled.
Since 2008, teams of medical personnel and other support volunteers have spent one week serving the health needs of the poor in Guatemala. Because the needs of the people in San Pedro La Laguna are so great, we developed a sponsorship program called Project San Pedro to serve the medical needs and the educational, nutritional and housing needs of those who are impoverished. It is an opportunity for those who cannot personally go on a week-long medical mission to participate in missionary activity.