1993 DC graduate has made it her job to do mission work
By Kristen Miller
Kambria (Kirkpatrick) Robertson has no question Guatemala is the place she and her husband, Mike, are supposed to be at this point in their lives.
“It’s something the Lord has placed on both of our hearts,” said the 1993 Dassel-Cokato graduate and daughter of Dr. James and Wynnell Kirkpatrick of Cokato.
Robertson was first introduced to the Latino culture when she was 15 years old during a mission trip to Mexico.
When she graduated, Robertson attended nursing school in Green Bay, Wis. with an emphasis in pediatrics. This was mainly to develop skills Robertson would use during future mission trips, she said.
To learn the language, Robertson worked with Youth With a Mission in Madrid, Spain, where she also attended some Biblical studies.
In 1999, she returned to Guatemala for more language training before jumping aboard Mercy Ships (a global charity that has operated hospital ships in developing nations) in the Caribbean.
This is also where she met her husband, who was also doing missions work and served as the chief electrical officer aboard the ship. They married in April 2005, and in August, the couple agreed Guatemala was the place they were supposed to be.
“This is where we were supposed to come and work,” she said, adding she felt drawn to the Latin American culture, but more specifically, the country itself.
Now, the couple serves with Open Door Ministries International In Guatemala City, Guatemala with the mission of empowering God’s children.
Some of their work includes working with several orphanages doing community health education, dental care, youth evangelism, vocational training for older orphans, relief work for orphanage staff, and working with short term missions teams.
Building a house of hope
Upon the Robertson’s arrival in Guatemala, it wasn’t long before they met a Guatemalan couple who were feeding hungry children off their own back porch.
Jorge and Anna Marie Munoz still continue to feed the children 35 to 40 children on average each day off their porch, according to Robertson.
In a combined effort, the Robertsons went alongside the Munoz family to help grow their House of Hope ministry by providing dental care and educational opportunities for the children.
With this, the House of Hope began raising funds to purchase property in order to build a permanent food distribution site for the ministry.
This building will also hold a future dental office, educational rooms, dormitories for mission workers, and a living area for the Munozes for on site management.
With the help of churches and sponsors back home, the ministry was able to raise $20,000 in one year to go toward their efforts.
After several properties fell through, they ran across Maria Tomasa, who owned land in Santiago, Sacatepquez, a department of Guatemala.
Tomasa’s original selling price for her property was $40,000; more than what the couple had raised thus far.
So, they continued to pray for support and guidance and, in turn, felt this was the property they were meant to purchase.
After learning what the land would be used for, the owner lowered her asking price to $35,000.
Though seen as a blessing, the price was still $15,000 more than what they had.
With prayers and financial support, within just three weeks the Robertsons raised as much as they had in one year, and in June 2007, they purchased the property.
This confirmed their efforts even more, she said.
One of the advantages to this property was the existing cement structure.
“This enabled us to not have to start from ground zero,” she said.
Within the next month or so, the Robertsons are hoping to start using the kitchen, which will allow them to feed up to 88 children at a time, she said.
Unfortunately though, after a year of ownership, the building has yet to be completed.
With a lack of funding to further construction, the Robertsons are unable to complete the second and third floors, which will house the Munoz family, classrooms, and dormitories.
If anyone would like to donate financially to the completion of the House of Hope, send a check to: Open Door Ministries International, Robertson/House of Hope, PO Box 7408, Oregon, Ohio, 43616. In the memo line, write: Robertson/HOH.
A mission to help children
The couple’s vision is “to bring the Gospel message and love of Jesus Christ to hurting people of this world,” with the emphasis on orphans and children in developing nations such as Guatemala.
“Our main mission is being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ,” she said.
And, since Jesus worked in the area of healing people, the Robertsons added dental care, which became possible through a donated portable dental unit.
Dentists come from short term outreaches including Robertson’s childhood dentist from Winsted, Dr. James Neff.
The couple also works to provide educational opportunities to the House of Hope children, as well as in-house tutoring three days a week.
Through sponsoring a child, students are able to attend a Christian school.
Kambria and Michael currently have a 20-month-old daughter, Kirsi, (which happens to be Finnish for “Christ bearer”) and the family is expecting another child in September.
Though Robertson is unsure how long the couple will remain in Guatemala after the House of Hope is built, she has no doubt it was the Lord who brought them there.
And even though, from time to time, she misses her family and being back home in DC, she has no doubts in her mind.
“It’s hard to question when the Lord has given me complete peace,” she said.
Throughout the past two years, the couple has been blessed to live and work among the Mayan ndigenous people.
“The biggest blessing would be seeing the little children we work with come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and watching them grow. We are blessed to be in service for the Lord,” she said.
For updates on the progress of the House of Hope, visit the Robertson’s web site at www.ekg4christ.org.