Stumberg on Mercy Mission to Guatemala City
Most campground operators know Eric Stumberg as the founder and CEO of TengoInternet, the Austin, Texas-based company that provides wireless Internet service to campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the country.
What most park operators don’t know, however, is that Stumberg frequently volunteers on international humanitarian missions. In 2005, he joined a medical and church planning mission to Uganda. In 2008, he joined a group of volunteers who built a school and community center near the site of the Old Silk Road in Pakistan, according to a news release.
And last month, Stumberg and his wife, Keri, joined nearly 50 volunteers from Christ Church in Austin who partnered with volunteers from Potters House in Guatemala who are involved in several humanitarian projects to help the impoverished people who live in and around the Guatemala City dump.
Thousands of Guatemalan children and adults scavenge the dump every day for scraps of food as well as recyclable materials and other items they can sell with the hope of surviving another day.
For the past 25 years, a Christian nonprofit organization called Potters House has recruited volunteers to provide people who live in and near the dump with free healthcare and education services and other humanitarian assistance.
And earlier this summer, 50 volunteers from Christ Church in Austin traveled to Guatemala City to join other Potters Volunteers in making a difference in the lives of people who have nothing.
“It was an incredible experience,” said Stumberg. “From a distance, you look over the dump and you see all this trash and amid all this trash is people scavenging. After we arrived there, we saw that that the Guatemala City Dump is a place with an amazing amount of brokenness. But there’s also an amazing amount of hope and it’s all in the same spot.”
Stumberg said the Christ Church volunteers paid for their own flights and food to make the trip. They also made donations to Potters House, which provided them with seminary dorms to sleep in.
While in Guatemala City, the Christ Church volunteers completed projects that had been started by other groups of volunteers who came before them. “We finished a cinder block house the team the week before had started,” Stumberg said. “We poured a concrete floor and put the windows and doors in. We also sandpapered and spackled walls. We also made and assembled bunk beds and delivered and installed them in people’s homes. We felt like we were able to have an impact because we were able to help them finish some projects that they had underway there.”
Stumberg said the volunteers also prayed with the people they interacted with. “Every time we were working on a project we always had an interpreter with us so we could always interact with the people we were helping,” he said.
Stumberg said a highlight for him was celebrating Father’s Day with the men who live in an near the Guatemala City Dump. “We had a dinner for over 80 men who live there. We also had a guest speaker, who encouraged them to be excellent husbands and fathers.”
More information about Potters House and its humanitarian efforts in Guatemala, please visit its website at www.thepottershourse.org. More information about Christ Church in Austin is available at www.christchurch-austin.org.