Rio Dulce or “The Sweet River” runs along the South East coast of Guatemala and eventually empties into the salty seas of the Caribbean. Dozens of smaller rivers and tributaries flow down from the higher elevations throughout Guatemala and feed into this large body of water. We have a passion to reach the many villages that are located far from civilization up these tributaries, often cut off for centuries from the outside world.
Fourteen years ago, in the raging heat of summer, the Beene family and a close group of adventurous missionaries chartered a boat to take them up a remote tributary of the Rio Dulce. Unsure of what would be found, the team traveled three hours up river, across swamps, and through jungle to find the remote village of Castillo Creek. The village was being decimated by Cholera and water-borne illnesses. 5 people per week were dying. “Through basic education, we were able to show the people how to purify their water and make a rehydration drink by just adding sugar and salt. said Michael. Amazingly, through the grace of God, no more deaths occured in the village due to these illnesses after our first visit.
Language poses a particular challenge in this village. The men speak basic Spanish but the women and children are completely dependent on translations by the men. Because of the inability of the people in this village to commute to civilization the common language is a Mayan dialect that has changed little for a thousand years.
Years later we still are ministering in the village of Castillo Creek. God has brought up village leaders who have constructed a church and are looking forward to beginning a functional school in the near future.