PEWAUKEE, WI – Potter’s House began under the strangest of circumstances when two Guatemalan women consented to do a favor for some friends in America. Their friends had asked them to hand out blankets to some of the people who actually lived in one of Guatemala City’s municipal trash dumps.
Visiting the Trash Dump
“The moment I set foot in the dump the stench overwhelmed me.
“Slowly, a great pain inside me welled up as I saw children playing in the filth, people rummaging through the trash looking for anything of value, and children and adults sniffing glue.
“ It was too much for me. I consciously blocked the suffering I saw from my mind. “I’ll never be here again.””
That was Christmas Eve, 1986.
Despite the gut-wrenching experience, the women returned the following Christmas. They went again in 1988. The Lord was speaking into and changing their hearts toward the trash dump-dwellers.
Discovering the Treasures
In 1991, Gladys Güitz and her friend, Lisbeth, quit their jobs to become the co-founders of Potter’s House. Their original favor of kindness became a forever commitment to work among the poorest of the poor in one of the most dangerous places in Guatemala.
Despite their initial revulsion to the circumstances in which the dump-dwellers were living – and equating the people with their circumstances, they allowed the Lord to soften their hearts and recognize the people as “Treasures.”
“We call the people we work with Treasures because they are determined, hardworking, brave people created in God’s image. They are human beings with value and dignity. To God and to us, they are Treasures.”
For over thirty years, the Guatemalan-founded Potter’s House has been led and staffed by Guatemalans. The children to whom they originally ministered have matured into adulthood. Many have escaped the clutches of poverty.
Sharing the Treasure
Potter’s House is a Christ-centered organization. It is not merely an organization that feeds the hungry and helps the impoverished to become independent. Their objective is to minister to each person’s individual needs while teaching their Treasures about The Treasure of Jesus Christ.
“Our ultimate goal is to see Guatemalans in healthy relationships with each other and, most importantly, in relationship with God.”
Transformed individuals can transform families. Transformed families can transform communities. Transformed communities can transform a nation. Potter’s House utilizes a community center platform to initiate and perpetuate those stages of transformation.
That transformation begins when people enter into a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Interaction and involvement in the lives of children, youth, and adults in community centers in the poorest communities in Guatemala have proven to be effective in the fight to win the battle against spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and economic poverty.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart also be.” – Matthew 6:20-21