Buckner Nation

I recently returned from a Vision Trip to Guatemala with staff and prospective donors. Part of our activities for the week included a “Protocol” Ceremony with officials of the Guatemalan Government including Justices of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, the Executive Director of the National Council for Adoption, and the Secretary of Social Well Being (Human Welfare) in Guatemala City. Roberto Tejada, Interim Executive Director, Buckner Guatemala and I represented Buckner and Martin Hayes represented USAID (United States Aid and International Development).

buckner-nation1The Protocol Ceremony was the official culmination of a two-year Buckner project in Guatemala funded by a $1 million grant from USAID to build capacity of the Child Welfare System in Guatemala; to develop child permanency (transferring children from institutional care/orphanages into healthy biological, foster, kinship, and adoptive families); and to enhance the infrastructure for Child Welfare services. Margaret Elizabeth McKissack, Director of Corporate and Institutional Relations for Buckner was the original grant writer and project leader. She assembled a cross-functional team at Buckner to develop the grant and launch the project. The Project was named Fostering Hope Guatemala in Texas and Semillas de Esperanza (Seeds of Hope) in Guatemala. Phil Brinkmeyer, Carlos Colon, Chris Cato, Sully de Uclés, and Roberto Tejada were key leaders in this strategic effort.

buckner-nation2The goal of this project was to transfer 103 children in Guatemala from institutional care to healthy familes. As of last week we surpassed the goals with 151 children in families, ahead of schedule and under budget, thanks to the generosity of Tyler Technologies and the excellent stewardship and management of the Semillas Team.

Roberto Tejada, Martin Hayes and I had the privilege of a private audience with 11 of the 13 Justices of the Guatemalan Supreme Court to thank them for their effort to de-institutionalize vulnerable children and orphans. I also had honor of addressing a group of dignitaries, government officials, Buckner Guatemala staff and media representatives in the Supreme Court Chamber to transfer equipment, a database developed by Tyler Technologies, and training manuals to the President of the Supreme Court.

buckner-nation3You will notice the picture of the four flags at the Supreme Court Protocol Ceremony. The flag of the Guatemalan Supreme Court; the flag of Guatemala; the flag of the United States of America; and the flag of Buckner International. So we are now “Buckner Nation.” Maybe we are not a nation but we certainly are a place. We are a place where hope shines bright; a place where children are placed in healthy family environments; and a place where lives are redeemed.

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5 thoughts on “Buckner Nation

  1. Albert, thanks for the blog post about Guatemala and Buckner’s efforts there. That is wonderful news. We continue to support the Tabitha Ministry that serves at-risk children living in or near the city dump in Guatemala City. It provides early education and now, government-approved education for 1st-3rd graders, at their facility as well as providing meals for the children each day (M-F). I’ll be heading back to Guatemala in July for the twice a year leadership training conferences in Quetzaltenango and then a week-long medical missions trip from July 21-28. Guatemala has become something of a second home for me in this past decade.

  2. Gary, great to hear from you. So glad you are making an impact in Guatemala. I guess it is becoming a second home to me too. Let us know if there might be ways we can work together or support each other there.

  3. Dr. Reyes,

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring testimony; children and families lives transformed in Guatemala in amazing beautiful ways thru the faithfulness of devoted committed staff, friends, government officials and certaily answered prayer. “Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it” Rev. 3:8. “You will even be brought before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations”. Mat 10:18

  4. Leslie, thank you for your kind and thoughtful words, excellent references in Scripture. We had success in large part because colleagues at Buckner were praying over us and the project. Praise the Lord who makes all things new…for vulnerable children, orphans, and their families.