I’ve made it back to my home country, the good ‘ol USA, and tonight, I’ll be back in the comfort of my house. I can flush my toilet paper again without clogging the toilet. I can brush my teeth with the sink water and sing in the shower without the fear of getting parasites. I can eat any food I want without potentially getting a stomach ache. And, I keep freezing because there’s A/C everywhere, which is something we haven’t had all month.
These things are definitely things that I’ve taken for granted my whole life growing up in a first-world country. But they are experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I also got to do things that I would never be able to do in America. I got to tell people on the streets of San Pedro from all over Central America and Europe about Jesus and pray for them. I got my hair highlighted for less than $15. I kayaked on the deepest lake in Central America, which is actually a volcanic crater. I sat in a “thermal pool” that had dead skin and leaves floating in it. I rode in a three-wheeled tuk-tuk (the primary form of transportation around the city) and stood up in the back of pick-up trucks every day to go to ministry. I bargained for good deals on souveniers because the original price is usually double what they will sell it for. I hiked a mountain named Indian Nose, because the side of the mountain literally looks like a nose. I drank a street smoothie that had flies in the container the fruit was in, and it cost 5 quetzals which is less than $1. And I would gladly do it all again.
The thing is though, through all these experiences, I gained a new home. And I’m not going to say that this home is any greater than my home in America. Because it’s not. They both have their ups and downs. As one of our debrief activities, we made pros and cons lists for both countries and realized how much each has to offer and where each country falls short. For example, on my cons list for America, I had that we were a materialistic country, we’re always in a rush, and often selfish. But on the flip side, we have an amazing government and education system, quality of life, and easy access to almost anything. For Guatemala, I had that there were cleanliness and health problems, poverty, and corruption. However, the people are relational, they have a relaxed time structure, and truly know what community is. There’s also a heightened sense of love and joy.
Being able to truly soak in another culture has been the best experience of my life so far. My month in Guatemala taught me so much about how big the world is and how much bigger God is. It taught me that America isn’t “God’s country.” He’s active and alive and working mightily in Guatemala just as much as or more than he is in the states. And most importantly, it taught me that no matter where I live on earth, whether the United States or Guatemala or the other side of the world, no place will ever compare to my eternal home in heaven. That list of cons I made won’t exist there because it will be absolutely perfect. If anything, this month has taught me to live with my eyes set on my real home. I don’t really have an earthly home. Pieces of my heart live in Staunton and Nicaragua and Guatemala and soon in Lynchburg, but these places are all only temporary in the light of eternity. Heaven is my home.
Also, I have so many more stories to share with y’all about my Guatemala trip, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with a 20 page blog post, so I’ll definitely be sharing some over the next few weeks. But, I’d much rather talk to you in person about them, so if you’d like to meet up over coffee or dinner or something, please contact me! I have a few weeks at home before I head off to college, so I want to see everyone before I go!