HELPS International

Since 2009, VPC has partnered with Helps and the people of Guatemala to foster hope and health through the placement of water filters and the replacement of open fires with safe, efficient stoves.

Our Mission

What’s up with the stoves?

For centuries, many people in third world countries have cooked using open fires on the floors of their homes.  This traditional method of cooking is the cause of many medical and environmental problems throughout the world.  After investigating the cultural and technological issues in the highlands of Guatemala, Helps engineer, Don O’Neal, identified several problems:

High instances of burnsExcessive smoke inhalation resulting in pneumonias and COPDInjuries and productive time lost from other work or school due to wood scavenging, cutting, and hauling.Deforestation at a level of 2% per year due to the inefficient burning of wood.

So what’s the solution?

In response, Don O”Neal developed a stove that:Has a contained fire box with cool side walls preventing burns.Is vented to the outside minimizing respiratory problems from inhaled smoke.Is 70% more efficient reducing harmful gasses and resources of time and money spent on wood.Is manufactured in Guatemala by Guatemalans.

Join the Team

Although the team typically travels in early March, team formation starts the previous October under the lay guidance of Jim and Lois Weeks.  No particular technical or language skills are needed but people with heart disease, COPD, or advanced knee or hip arthritis are not good candidates due to extensive walking on primitive  paths at altitude.


Each individual is responsible for his/her own travel expenses.  Funds for the stoves and water filters are raised primarily through peoples participation in the Alternative Gift Market and as mission partner for December.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains” (Colossians 4:2-3, NIV)


Lois Weeks, 320-250-3363 and Jim Weeks, 941-914-4188,