EAGLE COUNTY — It’s one thing to read Matthew 19:21; it’s quite another to follow those directions.
Jesus said, “Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
George and Vonda Sisneros actually did it.
“We had so much stuff in our life and it never seemed to be enough,” George Sisneros said. “There was nothing we could buy and nothing we could do on our own to feel complete.”
They had an honest-to-goodness everything’s-gotta-go sale and unloaded everything they owned — successful businesses, their home, all their possessions — and moved to poverty stricken Guatemala, a Third World country that averages 99.5 murders a week.
George Sisneros grew up in Minturn, graduated Battle Mountain High School in 1984 and attended Colorado State University. His parents live in Eagle.
In October 2011, he went on a short mission trip to Guatemala to help at an orphanage. He said he felt God telling him that was where he was supposed to be.
“There was no booming voice from above. It was just me and God and the holy spirit,” he said.
Vonda Sisneros grew up doing mission trips to Third World countries, but there was always a return flight home. This time? Not in sight.
“You know those books where at the end of the chapter you get to make a choice in how it will end? I was thinking about our lives as one of these books,” she said.
Life and time well spent
George and Vonda Sisneros have lived in Guatemala for 18 months as Christian missionaries. They were home in November, but are back in Guatemala and now call it home. So do their children: Samuel, 10, Gabriel, 11, Cecilia, 13, and Demar, 22, who attends the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs when she’s not in Guatemala.
George Sisneros is 47. His carpet cleaning business and a commercial cleaning businesses were thriving. Vonda Sisneros is a successful artist and was contracted to paint portraits of legendary sports figures.
“We were living an amazing life in Colorado,” George Sisneros said. “Our businesses were thriving in a bad economy. We were living the American dream, but we felt like the walls were closing in. The more stuff you own, the more you have to work to pay for that stuff. The more you work, the less time you have for the important things in life like family and God.”
Now they know that Christmas — and everything else — is different for those suffering in Third World poverty.
“Poverty means that you may not have food to eat on Christmas just like the day before and the day before that,” George Sisneros said.
The family works with single moms and young boys and are building a school. They said they hope they can help teach the boys to be men of God and effect a generational change.
“He’s an entrepreneur, always looking for something new. He sure did find it,” said Eleanor Sisneros, George’s mother, who lives in Eagle. “Not everyone could do that. It takes a special person.”
“It wasn’t a career goal, but when he became a Christian he started seeing a lot more of what he should be doing and what we all should be doing,” Eleanor Sisneros said.
George and Vonda Sisneros have given out more than 100 pairs of shoes, more than 25 pure water filters, they have helped build a new school kitchen, installed four clean-air wood stoves and are currently building a home for a single mother and her four boys, who have been sleeping on the ground for the past 11 years.
“God has taught me so much recently. He has taught me to have faith, trust, peace and love. If I have these qualities in my life, I can let go and let God take care of the rest,” Cecilia Sisneros said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.