So… The moment you’ve all been waiting for! Just kidding, but this is my first update from Guatemala!
So I figured I’d give you a summary of the best things we did each day so you aren’t reading for hours on end. And I’m sharing a prayer I wrote in my journal yesterday.
Friday, July 1: As most of you know, I left for training camp, and I ate my last southern food for the month at Bojangles for lunch, met the most amazing team of 26 students and 4 leaders, made a new best friend Maggie, and enjoyed my first night sleeping in a 7-person tent, which we named Tent Mariposa (butterfly in Spanish).
Saturday, July 2: We went through teambuilders, Jesus time, training sessions, worship, and an impactful evening service where I for the first time truly felt free of so many fears I’ve been holding on to for way too long. And I took my first ever and only bucket shower at 10:30 at night (which lemme tell ya, it was quite the experience and I highly recommend you try it once in your life!)
Sunday, July 3: We had more teambuilders but this day focused on sessions revolving around different topics such as how to do VBS on a short notice, listening prayer, evangelism, and the Holy Spirit. We had a crazy night where the Holy Spirit truly filled the room for the first time in my life and we also learned how to better hear God through different ways.
Monday, July 4: We woke up at 4:30am to get packed up and head to the airport and spent 10 hours chilling and wandering around Atlanta’s airport until our flight at 6pm, which actually got delayed two hours because of a mechanical error in the plane we had already boarded. So we un-boarded, waited, and finally got to Guatemala! By the time we drove an hour to the house we’re staying in, it was 2 something Eastern time, and I was exhausted!
Tuesday, July 5: We had a day of rest to let our bodies recooperate after a long travel day and jam-packed training camp. Also, some of my best friends on our team, Maggie, Logan, Braxton, and I invented frammocking, which stands for friend hammocking because we found a way for all four of our enos to be right next to each other. Best invention ever.
Wednesday, July 6: Finally, our first day of ministry! We went to a school in Guatemala City and taught a Bible lesson and English class (which we found out we were doing after we got there). We had a delicious homemade Guatemala dinner and ended the night with worship and time with just the girls on my team.
Thursday, July 7: We got to go on home visits in the morning and I was blown away by how little they had but how much generosity and joy still remained. We got ice cold glasses of Coke in their house that’s smaller than your bedroom and holds a family of 6. Then in the afternoon, I went to my first ever orphanage, which was fun and very challenging at times.
Friday, July 8: We drove over 2 hours in our bus to teach at two poor schools in Mayan villages and the ride was so worth it. This was by far my favorite day of ministry so far, and you can read why in my prayer! I also enjoyed going for a stroll around the gated community we’re staying in my sweet friend Emma!
So that’s what I’ve been up to over the past week! Today before and after we did ministry, I wrote a prayer that I wanted to share with you all.
Here’s the part I wrote on the way there:
Abba, As we’re driving through these communities on the way to the school, I can already see that poverty fills the streets. As we bump over the roads in our nice bus with a movie playing on the flatscreen, there’s such a contrast to the poverty outside. Apparently these people live on less than $2 a day. And they only get water to shower (bucket-style) twice a week. That’s not their life for a week or a month. That’s their life forever. I can go back to America and become a rich businesswoman or doctor or graphic designer in any city I want. I could be anything I could dream of. But these people will stay here. The men will most likely be farmers. The ladies will probably marry young and be house wives and have children who will grow up the same. UNLESS. Unless I don’t go back to America and forget what I saw. Unless people join me in fighting this epedimic of poverty. Unless we stand up and fight for those who have no way to speak up for themselves. God, you haven’t brought me to this community to feel bad and then forget about it. You’ve brought me here to break my heart for what breaks yours so that I can tell others that it’s not okay to live content with our surplus in America. We need to get up and do something for you. The people and the landscapes are beautiful here but they’re living in extreme poverty. Everyone’s house is smaller than my bedroom…
Here’s the part I wrote at the end of the day:
So God, when we walked into the school, the little girls came running to me, and I instantly made a few new best friends. They were adorable and had on traditional Mayan dresses, which are so beautiful. They instantly told me to sit down and taught me to play pato, pato, gonzo (Duck, duck, goose) in Spanish! I had so much fun chasing the little kids around the circle and being tagged and put in the middle! Then Luis (our ministry host) told us that they were severely malnourished, which means the little boys and girls who told me they were ten look about the size of a six-year-old. It’s so sad. But thank you Jesus, for giving us an awesome day of ministry and our best English class yet. I loved seeing the children so excited to learn something new from us gringos (white people), and I hope they never stop learning. Please use me and all your faithful servants to give these kids a hope and a future. Some said they wanted to be doctors and others school teachers. Father, I just pray that you will see their dreams through until the end. Those sweet children impacted me so much more than any others over these first few days of ministry, and my heart broke for them. Keep breaking my heart, Abba, and make it more like yours. I can’t wait to see what else you have in store.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.