Mission Trip to Guatemala
It was God…He called me to go to Guatemala to share my love and compassion to those less fortunate. There was no question in my mind that I was called to go on this mission trip. God called…I answered, and others supported me, whether it be through prayer, thoughts, or financial support.
As Mark 16:15 says, He said to them, “Go into the word and preach the good news to all creation.” WE are his hands and feet. We’ve each been given a gift from God to share with one another (1 Peter 4:10).
This trip changed my life. Serving others brings great joy to those being served, those serving, and most important, to God. I could feel God’s presence in El Cruce, Guatemala. We shared our gifts, talents, and God’s word with the people of the village and in return we received nothing but love. A love unlike no other. A love that is unconditional. To the people of Guatemala, even the slightest touch means so much. Everywhere I turned, people were reaching out to touch me, shake my hand, hug me or kiss me. In our adopted village (El Cruce), I would be walking along when suddenly children would be walking right next to me…wanting to be close, wanting attention, wanting my arm around them. It is that type of love that both fills and empties my heart today (my first day home). My mission was to bless others, which I did, but I was also tremendously blessed.
Guatemala is home to more than fourteen million people, covers over 42,000 square miles, and is sandwiched between Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, Honduras, Belize, and El Salvador. Poverty in Guatemala is both widespread and severe. Approximately 75 percent of the population is estimated to live below the poverty line. Guatemala thrives on its land as 52 percent of the population is engaged in agricultural work. Most people of our village, El Cruce, are involved in agriculture. Men usually work outside the home, but sometimes the women work outside the home too. It broke my heart to see a 9-year-old girl taking care of her 5-month-old sister as their mother was at work. The baby was hot, tired, and hungry, and the little girl was forced to grow up way too quickly. No time to play and be a kid. No time for school. This is life for many children in Guatemala.
Even so, most these children are HAPPY!! This is the only way of life they know and they are grateful for the smallest things, whether it be tangible things, words, or various forms of touch. Their faces glow when people pay attention to them or give them small gifts. They are grateful for clothing and shoes, even if worn by someone else. A cup of water is a gift to them. A sip of Coke and a small bag of popcorn is a treat!!!!
Connection Church has been serving the people of El Cruce, Guatemala for four years (this being the fourth). During those four years, our people have given the village a water well, a church and a school. While we were in the village, we finished off the school bathroom and added playground equipment to the school playground. It is obvious that the children would love the playground, but you’d be surprised at their excitement over the bathrooms…something children and adults in the U.S. take for granted. On our last day in the village, we dedicated the new bathrooms and the people gathered around, cheered, cried, and prayed over the new building.
Taking part in a mission trip is a life-changing experience. What I loved most about this trip was meeting my sponsored boy and his family! I was able to hug and kiss them, shower them with gifts, talk with them (through an interpreter), and share smiles! Their thankfulness and gratitude flowed over! Even though we shared a language barrier their smiles, hugs, kisses, and tears said it all. That’s what is amazing about love around the world, it can be shown without words.