It’s been awhile since I’ve posted because I spent the last week in Guatemala, leading a team from our church. It was an amazing trip that I continue to process in my head and heart. So I am going to do at least 2 post; the first post will tell some of the basics of our trip, while the second part will talk about what God taught me while in Guatemala. Be sure to check back for part 2 later on in the week.
We arrived in Guatemala on Saturday, June 6th. Travel was uneventful- which is what one wants during a foreign trip. None of our team slept the night before since we left at 2 a.m., so we were pretty tired. We traveled by van from Guatemala City to Antigua to San Pedro Las Huestras where our mission house was. It was absoultely stunning there. Antigua sits at the base of Agua- a dormant volcano, and there are several other active volcanos in the area. From our mission home, we could see three volcanos. One, Fuego, erupted daily and really made the location seem exotic compared to Delaware (ok, so it wouldn’t take a volcano to make a place feel exotic compared to Delaware!!) We were also at a much high altitude than Delaware. Antigua is about 5,000 feet above sea level while the school we worked at was another 1,000 feet higher.
On Sunday, we had another day to get acclimated to Guatemala. We all felt refreshed after a good night’s sleep. We went to Antigua to exchange money at the bank, chilled at Cafe Barrista (very cool place!), and then went to a bilingual church with the missionaries. The pastor at the church was from Philadelphia originally. You could still hear his Philly accent. I enjoyed the worship service as it set our hearts for the week. After lunch in Antigua, we took on the challenge of the markets of Antigua- bargaining for a good deal. There were certainly times where I know I could have gotten a lower price, it was still so very inexpensive to buy some of the items that we did.
When we began our week, we were working at the Escuela de Vida y Esperanza (School of Life and Hope) in Santa Lucia. There are about 280 students at the school, kindergarten through 9th grade. We taught a bible lesson, music, testimony, and craft to two classes a day while hanging out with kids when we were not teaching. Our team used a skit to teach the Bible lesson (Zaccheaus from Luke 19). We had two young children (Eliza-6, and Kendra 9) who played Zaccheaus and Jesus. Chris, one of our college students, played the tree that Zaccheaus climbed up into. The lessons were great and the children seemed to enjoy them. Our testimonies also went well. Even Eliza and Kendra shared, which was so appropriate for the age of students that we were working with.
The children at the school were amazing. I have been out of the country on a mission trip 2 other times. Mostly, I have done some sort of construction- and this is where I am comfortable. There were usually only a few children around while we worked on the construction site. This was different at the school. Chris and I were swarmed the first day as we were willing to pick kids up and toss them in the air. We immediately had lines of 20-30 kids each waiting for the ride. Let’s just say we wore out quick and found other ways to love on the students. The kids had a great capacity to love, and as we loved on them they loved us back. It was overwhelming at times.
One of our projects that we worked on was an outreach to another community with the teachers from the school. This is part of the school’s vision- to have a lasting impact on the surrounding community at large. There were games, songs, worship, and dramas as part of this outreach. The gringos lead the drama and helped faciliate some other activities. It was exciting because it wasn’t dependant on a foreign team to lead the outreach, but it was the heart of the teachers and students to share God to the community. Wally, the principle or head administrator, is a soft spoken, yet passionate when it comes to God and the school. The other teachers really feed off of that passion with their own passions. Some of the teachers just about bounce of the walls with enthusiasm for God, the children, and the community.