I’m sitting on the plane getting ready to take off from Guatemala City Airport. It’s really weird to think about being in America again. I feel like in many ways I have gotten really used to the Guatemalan culture. I’m used to the extremely early mornings due to firecrackers, dogs barking, and the wind against the tin roof in the room we stayed in on the very top floor. I’m used to cheek kisses, Spanish, and beautiful chocolate brown eyes looking back at me. Most importantly, I’m used to being blessed by the amazing people of Guatemala every day. It’s been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve been stretched in ways that I was not prepared to be stretched in and humbled in many ways. Through it all, I saw Jesus so much this week. Even writing this now, I’m overwhelmed by the grace I’ve been shown this week by people and especially God.
As I said, I’ve been really humbled this week. I went into this trip thinking that I had it all figured out. I’m leaving Guatemala knowing that I only have just a small grasp on the complexities of life and the goodness of God’s love and grace. I thought that my own good deeds and abilities would be sufficient for this trip. I found out rather quickly that believing that was far from the truth of the matter. I thought going to a foreign country would bring out the best in me, I now know that it actually brought sin and other things holding me back from God to the surface. For example, I realized the importance of family on this trip. My whole family went on this trip. Towards the beginning of the week, I sort of pushed my family away because I wanted to just be with my friends. This especially happened with my younger sister Karlee. For many years, I’d put up walls of self protection in our relationship. This led to us often having a rocky relationship at times. It came to point in the week where we were really struggling. I felt that I had let everyone on the trip down, especially my family. Though the struggle may not have been really obvious to others on the team, it was obvious to me. God has started to break down those walls in my life. I feel so much peace in knowing that Christ has redeemed my imperfections, because there are many. I leave Guatemala knowing that Christ’s grace is sufficient for me. That reality is so humbling and freeing.
I met one special girl named Estefani this week. Estefani is five years old, in kindergarten, and has one the most adorable laughs I’ve ever heard. I met Estefani the third day of the trip and immediately felt like I had been reunited with a life long friend. Every time I was around Estefani, I forgot that I was over ten years older than her, we could barely understand a sentence of each other due to the language barrier, and that we were separated by geography, race, and social status. Estefani is one the best kids I’ve ever met. Even though we don’t know about each other’s hobbies, family life, or best memories, we knew one thing without any doubt. We knew that we loved each other. Every time Estefani would see me at the school, she would run up to me and whisper in my ear, “I love you.” I believe God let me meet Estefani to show me more about himself. Estefani is loving, selfless, and always ready to greet you with a warm hug. Estefani knows almost nothing about me, yet she was always ready to show me love. I believe that this is how Christ loves us except that he knows EVERYTHING about and still greets us with a warm and comforting hug. I believe that where words failed, the Holy Spirit stepped in. One verse that has really encouraged me this week is Romans 15:13. It says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” It was so wonderful to sense the Spirit’s filling this week. The people of Guatemala have such great hope in Christ, and this has encouraged me so much.
I have been shown such selfless love this week. Every person I met sought to serve me first before serving themselves. The hope we have in Christ has also been made so apparent to me. I have been truly blessed by the people of Guatemala and the team that came down. I wish I could write down everything that happened in the past week, but that would be a very long post, so I guess this will do. I would like to thank everyone that prayed for the team this week. God answered in ways I didn’t even imagine he would. Thank you, God, for Guatemala.