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!
Well it's been quite an eventful week! I cherish every experience as well as my new friendships. Today was a day of mixed emotions. I'm happy to see my family again yet at the same so sad to leave my Guatemalan family. At the beginning of the week there was question as to whether I would come back to Guatemala again or not, but the only question in my mind now is when I can come back, and how soon. I do not regret this week one bit. I am so thankful to God for this amazing opportunity. We are currently stuck in Atlanta, Georgia Airport because of a missed flight. Needless to say it's a perfect ending to a very adventurous week. Each day so far has held a surprise and I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow on our last flight home.... or so we think ;)
This week has been absolutely amazing!! It's crazy what we take for granted here in the States, I would have never seen that had I not gone out of the country. I was blessed to see how joyful the children were despite different circumstances. Though the churches are nothing like those in the US the presence of God was still felt. Every part of this trip was a great blessing to me. It was a blessing to be a part of the work of the Lord in Guatemala. Hope to return again someday soon!!
This week has been extraordinary! Words can not even describe this experience. I learned so many things just by observing the Guatemalan life style. Most of the people here accept us, & show us love, and kindness, especially the kids at the school. I made a lot of new friends and memories that will last a lifetime. The Lord blessed each one of us just as we were a blessing to them. The work at Macedonia missions is great and it's definitely worthy of support. I wish everyone was able to experience what all we did and witnessed. Though the tears represent emotions they weren't all sad, I am sure I will return in the future and ultimately be reunited with my family in Christ one day. I am so thankful I got to come, it was a great week and I hope I get to come here again soon. - HANNAH
What a hard working and productive day we've had! It started out with our girls and Adam Ellison performing Father Abraham with puppets during the chapel service, which started at 7am. Hannah and Kristyn led the 400 plus students in the motions.
I played the Spanish version of the song on my phone. It took awhile for the children to join in but when the chapel leader encouraged them to take part, quite a few of the younger ones did.
After we finished the first song, we decided to teach them "Gloria Dios", a song that we do with our kids for Kids Crusade. They loved the competition the song had of who can sing the loudest.
After the chapel service we had suck an awesome time of talking and playing with the kids. They always steal your heart, no matter where you go.
Me and Mayra chased some of them around and tickled them, which was so fun and exhausting. I'm SO out of shape!
Most of the men left with Bro. Baker to meet with a Pastor of a church in the mountains who has a desire to be affiliated with the mission. The trip would take about 6 hours but as they traveled a few hours toward the mountain, they had to turn back because of numerous vehicle breakdowns.
As the men travelled, we tackled the job of sorting through the 1000's of shoes and clothes that had been donated over the years. What a task. Bags and boxes were stacked to the ceiling of the storage garage. Me and Kristyn climbed up and took on the chore of taking them down.
We then asked what else we could do to help so we assisted with the large task of cleaning the church, which is a large building and can prove difficult to clean with limited cleaning materials.
It feels so comforting to be able to minister through physical labor. Don't get me wrong, spiritual ministry has its place yet it's a wonderful thing to serve the work of God through the labor of our hands.
There is so much to say about my time here so far and not enough space to write. I have fallen in love with the people here in Guatemala! The children especially have become so very precious to us. We all have had the privilege of interacting freely with all of the kids, even during classes, and it's been wonderful. The only challenging thing I've encountered so far is communicating fluently with many here. Only a handful know how to speak English fairly well so it's been a great amount of exercise for me to do my best in speaking Spanish with those that don't. I was telling the other girls that I have spoken more Spanish here than I ever remember speaking before! In the past it has seemed a chore for me to try and communicate with my Hispanic relatives, but here it's become a blessing to be able speak with these wonderful people even though I am limited.
I can't begin to express the joy that I've experienced in being able to be a light to so many here. I've had the privilege of talking and sharing with one of the teachers here, even though she doesn't speak English Lizbet and I were able to have an amazing conversation about the things we're both so passionate about, the work we do with young people. It was so encouraging to me to meet someone who shares the same faith and has the same passions as I but lives in a totally different part of the world. One of the other highlights of my journey thus far is my encounter with the 9th grade class. These teenagers will forever have a place in my heart! The first time I walked in their class I was able capture their full attention because the teacher they were supposed to have for that period was unable to make it that day. I was able to interact with them without any distractions and communicate without any trouble because the only kid in the whole school that speaks English just so happened to be in that class! It was such a blessing to have her aid in in translating the things I could not say in Spanish. I've had such a wonderful time playing games with them, doing my best to get to know all 23 of them, and answering their questions(some of them serious ones). I pray that God would take my humble efforts in reaching out to all of these young people and work in their hearts and lives in a way that only He can do.
It's going to be difficult when the time comes to say goodbye. :(
There is so much more to say but it's getting late and I'm getting tired.
Until next time,
Ever since I was little I have wanted to go on a missions trip. When my dad would go on a trip to Africa I would beg him to take me with him. Well, finally I got my chance, not to Africa but to Guatemala. I wasn't nervous about the plane ride, however I was afraid my luggage would be lost somewhere along the way. Thank the Lord we made it safely! And so did all if our luggage!
When we arrived in Guatemala City I had no idea what to expect when we headed out of the airport; I just braced myself for the worst. To my surprise there were crowds of people right outside the door, some even nicely dressed. A lot of people even had nice cars, and speaking of cars, there was the craziest traffic I had ever seen. We struggled our way through the crowd toward the road and waited on a bus to pick us up. ( The wives all rode separately in a van with the luggage.) When the bus arrived cameras were up because this bus was painted and decorated to look like a monster with teeth. Nothing like any of us had seen before. Even crazier than the bus was the ride. Thankfully we had a very skilled driver to take us through the mad traffic all the way to Wal-Mart. I was thankful to be alive when we got there. Wal-Mart in Guatemala is completely different than in the USA. The building itself and the setup on the inside. We each exchanged our money to a new currency, quetzal. We split up into small groups and shopped for snacks, drinks, and other necessities for the week. My dad and I roamed up and down the aisles and all through the store searching for familiar food and good prices. Occasionally we had to use a calculator in his phone to figure up if we were getting a good deal or not since the quetzal is about Q 7.66 to one American dollar. After shopping we rode in the bus to Macedonia Mission School where we are currently staying. I am so thankful to God to be here. I have so much more I could say but you would just have to come here to experience it for yourself.
Though we were awoken by dogs barking, it was the beginning of a great day. Church started at 9:30 this morning and was started off with song service. It never ceases to amaze me how enthusiastic people from a different country are about worship. Before we sang Amazing Grace, Hannah testified. It was a new experience for me, for I was the one translating. I had never translated English to Spanish in a church service but God definitely helped me. It's a benefit in knowing Spanish and being able to understand all that's being said and talk with all the children. So far it's been a wonderful experience and looking forward to the rest of the week. Continue to keep us in your prayers, please.