February 1994 - Bernard and Trish moved to Guatemala as full-time missionaries with a Guatemalan Missionary Doctor (MD). During the next 2 1/2 years, they shared the Gospel with thousands of Indigenous people in primitive villages in every part of Guatemala, driving through rivers, riding horseback and sleeping on dirt floors in small churches with no water or electricity. Each time, they returned to the capital (Guatemala City) to bathe, wash clothes, and buy new supplies, they realized that their hearts were really in the small aldeas (villages).
December 1995 - Bernard and Trish asked the overseer of the Guatemalan Church of God where they were most needed for full-time ministry and he replied, "Panimaquin." That next week he took them to several areas and introduced them to needy churches. The last place he took them was the small village of Panimaquin (Paw-knee-maw-keen), which is located 27 miles west of Guatemala City, in the department (state) of Chimaltenango (Chimal-ten-ango). The Indigenous people groups are Cakchiquel (Catch-chee-kell) -Maya.
Panimaquin is 7300 feet above sea level with a breathtaking view of a mountain range and 2 volcanoes. It is a farming community with approximately 350 people that received electricity in 1991. Most of the homes consist of one small room with the bottom half of the wall block and the top a type of fiberboard with open space below the corrugated tin roof. There is a separate room (always smoke-filled) usually made of dry cane stocks tied together with a dirt floor and no chimney. This is their kitchen. The women still wear typical woven garments. The main crop is cauliflower, but they do grow carrots, beets, and of course corn. The people here do not eat the vegetables, they produce and sell them.
June 1996 - Bernard and Trish moved to Panimaquin where Bernard was made pastor of the congregation of seven with a new, small, church building. Here the new work began. They slept on the church floor for the first four months while Bernard and two village men (from the church) along with a pastor / block layer built their apartment. They immediately noticed that many very tiny children were left in the care of their 7 and 8 year old siblings while their fathers worked in the fields and their mothers went down the hill to sell vegetables. The school-aged children attended the deficient public school only sporadically where most dropped out by 3rd or 4th grade. They were barely able to read, write, or do simple math.
November 1997 - Bernard and Trish started a pre-school with 12 students. They served breakfast and lunch. The team consisted of two cooks, a woman to clean, three teenage helpers, and the two men who worked alongside Bernard as he taught them the many skills he had learned by working with his father. Trish taught class with her limited Spanish for the first year only. In 1998, Bety, a Guatemalan, joined GMO to teach the children for the next four school years. In 2002, GMO had two teachers with full teaching credentials.
July 2002 - Bernard and Trish were given an indigenous baby girl just ten minutes after she was born. Her single mother, unable to support her, sought a Christian couple to be her permanent parents. Sarah Catherine was a gift directly from God! It is amazing how she has touched everyone in the community in such a short time. Now, they can teach family life by example, it certainly has more impact than words.
December 2006 - After 14 years in the mission field, G.M.O Has moved its base of operation to the Jacksonville Fl. where the Cohen's will continue to oversee and direct the ministry.
March 2007 - On March 21st Guatemalan Mission Outreach Inc. officially became a non profit 501 (C) (3) organization. Before then we were blessed to operate our mission under the authority of the Church of God, Cleveland Tn.
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