general travel info

To sign up for one of our mission trips, first send the SOS Pre-Application Form Our primary focus is in developing a long term relationship of mutual trust and respect with the indigenous Maya.

2. SOS introduction...SOS is an independent non-profit Catholic lay mission organization

Who we are...

We are Sending Out Servants, (SOS), an independent 501 ( c ) (3 ) non-profit Catholic lay mission organization based in Houston, Texas, called to serve as a Ministry of Presence among the indigenous Maya in the mountainous Quiché area of Guatemala.

Founded in 1998 by Ernest and Connie Braren and Rev. Thomas Ponzini, it was established as a vehicle through which men, women and youth over sixteen years of age could put their faith into action in the context of a seven to eight day foreign mission experience. SOS is endorsed by both the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and the Diocese of Quiché, Guatemala.

Through frequent visits and cross cultural exchanges with the Maya, SOS focuses first on developing a long term relationship of mutual trust and respect within the communities. This is fostered by consistent visits to the Maya communities. Flowing from this foundation, SOS listens and responds to the expressed needs of the Maya in a manner that will empower and improve the short and long term quality of their lives. This is accomplished through diverse SOS Assistance Programs.

SOS has both Home and Travel Teams comprised of men, women and youth over sixteen years of age who have a strong desire to put their faith into action.

Home Team members put their faith into action by sharing their talents, God given skills and resources by: giving vital prayer support for the traveling teams, helping with administrative and team formation needs, supporting SOS Assistance Programs to assist Maya men, women and children and Maya communities in areas such as educational scholarship programs for Maya children, teachers' salary support, computer labs, chimney stoves.

Travel Team members put their faith into action by participating in a seven too eight day mission whereby they can enter into a Maya community for a cross, cultural, mutual exchange in areas such as: customs and traditions, family and faith challenges for children and adults, disease prevention etc. or they can participate in a Vision Clinic mission to test the impoverished for visual acuity, dispense eye glasses, accompany frightened patients throughout their cataract surgery experience.

As a result of their short term mission experiences, most team members return home:
• with a new appreciation and sensitivity to people of other cultures.
• with an internal shift in how they view their culture, values, family life, material possessions.
• with a new understanding of the power of 'presence' i.e. 'being with' another and the disabling power of 'presents' i.e. ' doing for' or giving out hand outs.
• seeing how God lives and acts in the lives of others who have little material possessions but an abundance of faith and happiness.
• strengthened by their teammates and peers who seek also to please God and live the Gospel message of Love in their life.

We hope you will prayerfully consider 'putting out into the deep' - taking a leap of faith and join one of the SOS mission trips.

For more information contact



Stories from Travel Team members and their unexpected, sometimes heart-wrenching encounters with Christ while on mission. Choose one and share in their experience.


5731 Wanakah
Houston, TX 77069
fax : 281.440.7675