Meet Albertina

Semilla Website Administrator

Meet Albertina Yoc, CASAS Spanish Teacher CALLED TO TEACH My work with the CASAS programs at SEMILLA is important to me because I grew up in the Mennonite Church. I was moved to be invited to be part of this project that began as a dream at the seminary. I realized this was a noble…

Meet Panchita

Semilla Website Administrator

Meet Panchita Yoc, Spanish Instructor SHARING EXPERIENCES I work in the CASAS department as a Spanish as a second language instructor for young university students from the United States who come to complete language credits. I also work with other people who come to Guatemala and Central America for voluntary service. My work is meaningful…

Fear and Anger Followed Her Throughout Childhood

Yanett Palacios

Yanett Palacios, pastor of Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Roca del Salvación in Guatemala City, was born in Nebaj, a region plagued by the worst violence of the 1980’s. As a child, Yanett witnessed the assassination of her grandfather as he played marimba. She also lost many other family members, neighbors, and friends. Yanett reflects, “Fear and…

Standing with Those who are Despised

Olga Piedrasanta

I was just a 13-year-old girl when the so-called internal armed conflict began in Guatemala. I wondered why there was so much hatred and resentment, why there was such discrimination against indigenous populations. Later, as a young woman studying for a psychology degree, I experienced the disappearance and assassination of many professors and fellow students…

I Never Thought I Would Feel Anything But Anger

Willi Hugo Perez

I was raised in a rural village in the Department of Chiquimula in Guatemala. My father raised coffee and my mother taught school. It was a wonderful time for me. But one day, when I was ten, a group of soldiers came to my house. They beat and tortured my father in front of my…

Meet Elis Acevedo

Semilla Website Administrator

Meet Elis Acevedo CASAS Assistant/Coordinator of Host Families, Programs, Community Learning TRANSFORMATION THROUGH DIFFERENCES If I could describe my work at SEMILLA in one word it would be ‘transformative.’ I accompany the students and the people who visit us on a path of transformation. It is an honor for me to give others the gift…

Teaching Spanish in an Immersion Program

Lucía Camel de Ocheita

Lucía Camel de Ocheita, Spanish Program Coordinator JOURNEY TO SEMILLA I was invited to work at SEMILLA by Villeda, a dedicated teacher in Guatemala with an entrepreneurial spirit. She asked me to teach Spanish as a second language. Villeda shared Elena and Amzie Yoder’s dream of bringing volunteers, university students, teachers, pastors, and missionaries to…

Meet Andrea Moya

Andrea Moya

Meet Andrea Moya, CASAS Program Director Cross-Cultural Connections Building bridges across cultures, countries, and institutions is the most important aspect of my role at SEMILLA because, through the programs we offer, people from both inside and outside Guatemala come to understand how interconnected we all are. We can offer so much good to society when…

Panamanian Artist Ministers through Art and Faith

Semilla Website Administrator

Update from a SEMILLA Graduate and Former Board Member Ricardo Membache has a unique ministry among the Wounaan people of Panama and Colombia. Richard currently serves with the Panama Mission Foundation, an organization that reaches out to this indigenous group in remote areas to share the gospel. Pastoral Training at SEMILLA Ricardo began his involvement…

Registered Nurse Spends a Year Abroad Studying Spanish in Guatemala

Semilla Website Administrator

Healthcare Internship Provides Multi-Level Learning Opportunities Monika Neufeld first learned about CASAS programs from a friend. This piqued her interest in learning Spanish and her curiosity about the possibility of a health internship in Guatemala. CASAS, in conjunction with Mennonite Mission Network, made it possible. Monika’s internship extends through May 2022. Monika, a registered nurse…