No matter how many mission trips you take, goodbyes are always heart breaking. As I look back to our experiences this week I've realized that another one of my personal goals have been accomplished; to give other young people the opportunity to travel to a mission work and receive a life changing experience.
This was one of my shortest trips and not much was required of us (like I was used to with the SENT team) but we made lasting friendships and enjoyed the love we felt from the people.
Unfortunately, we were not able to travel to the "dump" to minister and evangelize. We were told by a local pastor ("Tio Juan", who also served as one of the interpreters for our group), that it was extremely dangerous and was known as one of the worst places for murder and drugs. It was strongly suggested that we not make an attempt unless we had armed guards. Since, we were short of personal bodyguards we were not able to make the journey but we still enjoyed staying at the mission to play with the kids. They are absolutely adorable!
Mayra and I made a trip to Wal-Mart with a few of the group to stock up on food and necessities. We were given the chance to ride in the bed of the truck all the way into town and back. It was quite the trip, but especially when we got so much sun on the last 30 minutes of the trip that we got a little burned (for Mexicans that is).
We went to the market on Thursday, which was also when the men tried to finish the playhouse they began on Wednesday. (When we arrived we discovered that the playground equipment hadn't arrived so the decided on a playhouses for the kids)
When we returned from the market, all of the school kids were gone but we had a great time of fun and fellowship with several of the boys who work or live on the mission.
Alex, Edgar, Julio, Jesus, Rony, and Osmar became some of our closest friends and we consider them as great brothers. Our best times together was teaching several of them how to play Uno and establishing friendships over or broken Spanish. :) We have definitely put it to practice this week and hope to be more fluent when we return (yes, we are talking about a future trip).
Since Friday was going to be our last day to see all the kids and teachers, several of us were not interested in taking a trip to the Aztec ruins.
Instead, we were able to witness the classes compete in a Bible memory verse challenge and go throughout the classes to help them learn their next Bible challenge; Psalm 1 in English.
As a bonus, Sis. Felicia (the director of the mission), sent someone to get 2 giant pinatas, which I filled with all the candy I brought or bought at the Wal-Mart here. Before school let out, the kindergarten classes were sent to a section of the mission where we watched them take turns hitting the pinata. It was so much fun.
As the time drew closer for us to say bye to our "hermanos" were invited into the church where Alex, Julio, and Edgar gave us the most touching speeches. They had gone our after school was over and bought each of us a card or bookmark and personalized out for each of us girls (Hannah, Paulie, Mayra, Kristyn, and myself). They were nearly crying as they expressed to us how thankful they were for our friendship and that we were the first missionaries that they felt that they connected with. We were so overwhelmed by their loving attitudes toward us.
I feel like I gained several brothers and will definitely make plans on returning to help teach or work to further the mission. Macedonia Missions is a great work that has been accomplished through the burden of Rev. Eugene Baker and carried out by Sis. Felicia. I pray that it continues to grow and that we can once again be able to be given the opportunity to bless this mission.
Wow, again there is no way to describe the experience I have had this past week! God truly blessed me as I reached out to be blessing to others. The memories and friendships I have gained I'm determined will last a lifetime. As difficult as it was to say "goodbye for now" to everyone in Guatemala, I'm looking forward to what God has in store for the future. Lord willing, I would love to be able to come back as soon as possible. This ministry is worthy to support in every way I can! It has been wonderful getting to know some more members of our Heavenly Father's large family. I wish everyone could understand what we feel right now and the journey we have taken together this past week, but you really can't until you have walked the journey yourself. We may not have been able to accomplish everything that was on our agenda, such ministering to the poor at the dump and visiting the Aztec ruins, but I believe God accomplished what He wanted in my heart and life. I'm determined not to live for myself any longer, but for Christ first and others second. May God alone receive all glory and honor in everything that was said and done!