Meet The Crist Family

Say hello to the Crists. They are a family of nine, representing three pockets of the world, changing three pockets of Guatmela, while living in two pockets of the Western Hemisphere. More pockets than a pair of carpenter’s pants! And carpenters they are, building better lives for hundreds of orphans, the elderly, the disabled, children stuck in gang-run territories and so many more. They have returned so many times to serve the children and widows of Guatemala, that they began a non-profit called Tree4Hope. You can check out their web site at

George, Kevin, Jennifer, Gustavo, Jessica, Emily, Jonathan, Natalie, Tabitha

Nine months out of the year they live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, while the other three months are spent in Guatemala. Brett and I happened to be overlapping one of their 3-month stints last summer. We were on a mission trip with some students from Oak Hills Church, and on our last day went to an orphanage called Hogar Miguel. That’s where we met the Crists.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that on our last day, in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by beautiful brown-skinned orphans, a blond-haired, blue-eyed, middle-school girl from Pennsylvania tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Excuse me, are you Jenna?” I stared at her cute freckled nose, taken aback. “Yes,” I said. She then continued with a pleased smile, “I love the Revolve Tour!” (The Revolve Tour is an event for girls I have been traveling with the past 5 years The girl was Jessica Crist, and her family had just arrived at the orphanage for the first time that summer, an hour before our group. Divine timing? From there we began a friendship with this adventurous family, and we are forever grateful. So grateful, that I thought it appropriate to make our Top 5 List of our favorite adventures because of the Crist Family.

“Because of the Crists Top 5”:

5. A HOME – Brett and I had a beautiful, yellow, Spanish-style home to live in for FREE while in Antigua. They generously opened the doors to their new Antigua home, and Brett and I quickly accepted.

4. SPANISH SCHOOL – Brett and I had the red-carpet treatment at “La Union Spanish Institute” for two weeks. Just mention that you know the Crist family, and they will give you the best!

Our Spanish teachers

3. LONG WALKS – Brett and I shared the most beautiful walks and conversation to and from school. We would wake up early, pack a lunch and walk on the long, cobble-stoned streets of Antigua. We would pass at least three 17th-century, Spanish-style cathedrals.  Ten tortilla stands. Six women carrying a basket of avocados on her head. And at least 100 doors. Wow. The doors – antique, wooden, some small, some majestic, all with iron knockers, and all supporting thick, cement walls, splashed with ocean turquoise or fiesta red paint. Every block is a rainbow. And each wall bares a surprise behind it – a bed and breakfast, little bakery, a family home or small business. We found ourselves peeping through the cracks in the doors to see the secret behind it quite often.

For our top two favorite adventures, we decided it would need another blog on its own. So stay tuned for one and two … And we won’t keep you waiting too long this time.

Prayer requests to sign out:

Wow, have I been sick! The flu has kept me in bed for three days and locked inside for close to a week. Please pray for full recovery.

We recently arrived at our final stop in Guatemala City, at an orphanage called Fundoninos. We will blog about this place soon, but until then, keep the orphanage here in your prayers. We are constructing a new kitchen. Please keep that process in your prayers as well.

Love you all so much!



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