My Missions Trip to Guatemala

  I will start out by telling you what we did each day and then finish by telling you how the trip affected me in my spiritual walk and my future plans.
 
   Well we left on a friday to drive to Dallas and spend the night there so it would be easier to make our flight the next morning at 9. It's kinda crazy how our drive to Dallas was longer than the flight from Dallas to Guatemala City, Guatemala. Saturday when we arrived it was close to 1:30 in the afternoon(incase you weren't aware they are in the same time zone as us) so I was starving! We were able to get through customs and baggage claim quickly thanks to the new Guatemalan President. We found Bob and Georgette who are originally from Texas, but have lived in San Marcus for the past four years. We hoped in our 15 passenger van, Bob's truck, and Georgette's SUV. From there we drove to get a bite to eat at a Wendy's before we drove to the missions house we stayed at. The missions house was absolutely beautiful and was just splendid! In Guatemala they build really nice places with such beauty and care. So different from the homes I will talk about later. We unpacked and got settled in. Then that night we went to Antigua which is one of the larger tourist cities in Guatemala. There we hooked up with two men and a recently graduated american girl that had just moved to Guatemala to be an English teacher. There we gathered crowds and shared some short testimonies with magic tricks to draw the crowd in. We passed out "I am Second" bracelets with spanish bibles, and prayed with them if they asked.  
 The next day we went to a bilingual church. It was really cool! I liked how they did their service, sometimes it was hard to pay attention because you would have one man speaking english and then his translator. And if the english speaking pastor (Bob) said a really long paragraph then you would wait for the other pastor (Obed) to translate. But because you have to translate, a 30 minute sermon has to be condensed to 15 minutes to make room for the translating. The worship had a a projector slide show thing just like most of the churches do here. But at the top were the spanish lyrics and the bottom had the english lyrics. The worship leader, would sing two verses in spanish then two in english, he did this for every single song. After church let out, we went to a huge buffet at the largest most expensive hotel in Antigua. We had a 45 minute wait which was good, because the hotel used to be a monastery so the whole grounds that this restaurant, bar, and hotel have been built on has mini museums. One was all the old silver that the Popes had, two were full of bones, another was hand made candles that they still make, there were two full of old paintings: figurines, statues, and other things related to Jesus, Mary, and Famous Popes. My favorite was a more modern museum that was full of both old paintings and newer paintings, but in a section they would have an old piece of art, then a newer modern view of the older piece. It was really creative to see the differences and similarities if their were any. After looking at the old church and looking around we went to eat. everything was so fresh and beautiful. When we were done eating we went to a huge closed in open market to sell, souvenir items. Georgette first took us to her friend, where we did most of shopping because she had the fairest price. Then walked around in groups hackling different owners with their prices. After we were all done, we drove back to the mission house to rest for the next day. 
 The next day we woke up sorta early to go to a ten acre open market where you could find any and every fruit and vegetable around! plus all the herbs, rice, beans and random bags of dog food too. (Which I found ironic because all of the dogs are running around free, and are extremely emaciated) We looked around tried different fruit and bought some fruit to take back to the missions house, while Bob and our head person Dave went to get enough food for twenty families for a month. When they were done we went to Bob's house to separate all the beans into 20lb bags, dried milk into 10lbs, oatmeal into 5lbs and all the fruits and vegetables as well. We loaded 10 of the barrels of food into his truck with two stoves to build, and saved 10 more barrels and one stove for the next day. 
 Tuesday we drove up the volcano to a more rural village. Where all of the men plus a high school girl went to deliver the barrels to the families that didn't have a mean of transporting it back to their home. Before we gave them out, we had all the families meet us at the feeding center we would use the next day to feed 187 hungry mouths. One of the men prayers, and it was so awesome because even though I don't understand spanish really well I could still here the burning passion and gratefulness behind his voice when he prayed and thanked God for providing us with the means to help them out. After this Bob had bibles and water purifying buckets to hand out to them plus their barrels of food which should last a month.  So then Bob all the men plus one girl went to the homes to put up the stoves, while the rest of us women stayed behind at the pila( which is where they hand wash their clothes) to play with all the kids and hand out some left over fruit we had. When we handed out fruit there were probably 35-50 kids that came around to get fruit then would put it in their pockets to come back through and get more fruit for them or their parents.
  (An amazing example of Godliness I saw took place at this time. There was this older sister I think she was 11, and she was carrying her probably 9-12 month old sister on her back all wrapped up. The older sister opened up the banana took it out of the peal gave it to the younger sibling then just licked the inside of the peal and ate one bite from the bottom. This was one of my favorite things to get to witness. It was just amazing how selfless and protective the older sister was to take care of the younger that well. I couldn't help but think about me and the way I treat my younger siblings, and my future children and how they will treat their siblings.)
 After all the fruit had been handed out we all got out our jump ropes to play with the children. I just stayed back and watched. Then asked an american women Tanya, who had been hanging out how to say some stuff in english. Then went up to some little girls if I could do their hair. At first they were very hesitant, so i braided one of my friends hair first so they would see me and understand that it was okay and could trust me. After I was done with Jordan's hair then thats when the girls started to come, first slowly then their was a waiting line! It was great because another girl from our group Averey was up by the pila helping wash clothes, and any time she saw some girls she sent them down to me so I could braid their hair. It was awesome, I didn't have a brush  just used my fingers as gently as I could. After I did as many girls hair that came down to me, then I played soccer with some little boys and jumped rope with another group of kids. When we were all done we went to the mission house for the next day. 
  The night before wednesday Jordan and I had really wanted to get as many as the kids we could to wash their hands and feet. We knew it wouldn't be much, but we didn't have the means to wash their whole bodies. So we worked with what we could do. So the next day we had towels: soap, lotion, fingernail brushes, washcloths, and buckets of water. At first the children were all really confused, but then after we did a couple  they were so happy! Even the boys! We washed the girls hands and feet then painted their finger nails, for the boys we just washed their hands because they didn't want their feet washed. (Still haven't figured out why the boys didn't. I am guessing it had something to do with the fact that they didn't want to take off their shoes where as the girls had flip-flops so they were easier to get on and off.) After we washed their feet and hands we went to go eat at the feeding center that we were about to feed all those same boys and girls we had played with the day before and that day, plus more! After we ate it was about twenty minutes before all the 187 kids started piling in, they were  so close with each stool right next to the other. The youngest kids were on the right side of the room and were fed first. An assembly line was created to pass down plates of food and rice water. Each plate had black beans, rice, a hard boiled egg, and corn tortillas(their tortillas are smaller and thicker than our american corn tortillas). After all the plates for the younger kids were passed out then you went to the next set of tables to pass food out to the next age group and like wise till everyone was fed. We actually ran out of hard boiled eggs so scrambled eggs were made, we also ran out of corn tortillas so we had to get more of those as well. After we were done serving all the kids we went to go see where the men had been putting in one of the stoves( These stoves are made from 9 cinder blocks and have a small chimney to let out the smoke; which normally they breath in, which is why their life rate is so low.) The women they built the stove for ended up accepting Christ and so did another women that was with her. After our full day we went home to the mission house.
(Another character example I saw, was when I was handing out plates I saw a little girl I had been hanging out with before take her tortillas and hide them in her apron pocket. Bob had told us a lots of the kids would do this because they knew they could ask for more. The they put in their pockets were either for themselves that they would save for later or they would save it for their parents.)
 The next day, Thursday was our last day in Guatemala. For the last day we went to Casa Shalom, a smaller orphanage that holds close to 75 kids ranging from babies to 20 year olds. We painted, handed out tons of bubble gum and dumdums and just played with all the kids. (This was something particularly cool about the orphanage. Most orphanages in Guatemala throw you out after you turn 18, but here they will keep older kids if they want to continue and go to a college and work hard to become something. Also another interesting thing is, that in Guatemala you have to give your employes a month long break. So over Christmas break all the workers go home and all the orphans go to different homes all over Guatemala for the whole month.) after the orphanage we went to go pack at the mission house. The next day we hopped on the plane for our flight back home to Snyder Texas. 
 
 It was very apparent to me that God wanted me to go on this trip, even though initially I didn't want to...I wanted to wait for the Haiti trip. But it closed, all of the spots were filled, then God opened the door very quickly and smoothly for Guatemala so I took the chance. Oddly enough i never felt like Guatemala was the place God wanted me to do missions work in or move to. I mean it was so obvious to me that I was good with the kids, but at the same time I understood what they were saying but they didn't understand what I was saying. Which at some times it didn't matter I could just make a silly face and they would start laughing. Or dance to music or something silly. But when I saw a little two year old crying, I couldn't comfort him except to pat him on the back because he is so little that I cant tell what he was saying very well, and he had no idea what I was trying to say. And if you just pick them up it will freak them out because they don't know you and you don't look familiar at all! So I guess no matter where God leads me I need to be able to speak the language to be effective..at all! Which at this point right now, I really feel like God wants me to stay here and work in Snyder at FBC where I go. But I will still go on missions trips. But I am kind of testing myself and God, so in March I am planning on going to Haiti, because I have always felt like God wanted me in Africa, but now I am not quite sure. So why not go,  enjoy the trip, and figure out if thats where God wants me. 
 
 

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