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Guatemala Mission Trip Day 5

The children, or “chicos” in Spanish, were beyond excited to see us this morning. Our morning was filled with mostly playing: soccer, serving food, nail painting, and jump rope. We shared some about our lives in the United States and they shared about their culture with us and even gave us beautiful drawings. A highlight was being able to lead the children in a time of worship, in both English and Spanish. Listening to children sing the words to “How Great is Our God” in the midst of the trials they face every day is a moving experience.

We are all blown away by the patience, love, and gratitude the children had for us. At every meal, they wait for sometimes 10-15 minutes with their food in front of them until all the children are served and the prayer has been said. They seem to never cease expressing gratefulness for what God has given them. We saw this first-hand as we went into 3 different homes in the community today. We watched in awe as a father expressed gratitude for all that God has blessed him with, regardless of the fact that they lived on dirt, had no running water, and worked long hours for very little. We listened as a mother explained how thankful she was that we had cared enough to visit. She said, “no one like you has come to visit me before”. The overarching theme that every family expressed was one of thanks to God for his many blessings to them.

I believe I can speak for the team in saying that we all agree that this gratitude is contagious. As we prepare to return to our comfortable lives full of hot water, hardwood floors, jobs that pay more than $100 a month, and actual kitchen appliances, this simple but important lesson of thankfulness has invaded our thoughts. Although we came to spread God’s love to others, God, abounding in love and an abundance of grace, showed us love through the actions of children, of whom do not even speak our language. How amazing is that? 

Prayer requests:

  • For the health and hygiene of many children who face malnutrition and lice as a normal occurrence.
  • For the children who so desperately need someone to love them. 
  • That they would feel our prayers and know God loves them.
  • For all the coordinators of Ambi and HopeChest—that God will make His vision clear to them for the children in Guatemala.
  • For the team, as we all process what God has taught us and is still teaching us during this time.
  • For the team’s health and safety as we drive 3 hours tomorrow. 
Posted by Shelby Boos with

Guatemala Mission Trip Day 4

Today was our first day visiting and worshipping with the children of Tecpan, Guatemala. We quickly learned the geographical and cultural differences between Verbana, our previous location, and here. 

After driving more than 6,000 kilos up into the mountains, we are visually seeing the differences as we’re surrounded by volcanos, mountains, and endless fields for farming.

While the views are beautiful, it is evident that the fields are the most important part of this community, as it provides all financial means and job opportunities for all members living here. 

As opposed to the “city vibe” of Verbana, we are not immersed into a more native Guatemalan culture where Spanish is the secondary native language behind Cakchiquel. The landscape of homes has changed where the primary surfaces are concrete and dirt, with little surrounding walls and protection. We learned that males typically are pulled out of education after the ninth grade, and females do not often get to continue school after sixth grade. Working in the nearby fields and housekeeping are the primary focuses to survive and provide at an early age. It’s a cultural expectation.

We arrived at the school in the village to meet the children of the new Ambi location: a smaller group than what we had worked with in Verbana. There was no electricity, and the playground was an open dirt area, but there was still somehow a smile on every child’s face.

It’s been a common theme throughout our trip: While there may be cultural, financial and historical differences and challenges...one theme remains the same: Our shared love for The Lord. 

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” - Hebrews 12:11.

This verse has truly become visible for us during our time here. We met our second Ambi leader at the location who has sacrificed her job, family, and opportunity elsewhere to commit her life to serve the Lord’s purpose for her. Her purpose is to carefully discipline and transform this community through love and discipline to the children within this Ambi location. 

While her two years of creating this new culture within the care point has been a difficult and long process, God has worked through her and the staff to produce a harvest of righteousness within the classroom. We were able to witness it today first hand. 

There is no use of “I,” but instead “God.” It’s his power and love that has reaped this harvest. While we have had the chance to play soccer, jump rope and paint nails with the beautiful children here, we are only servants who have no idea the magnitude of God’s plan for here. 

Prayer requests that we ask for during this time:

  • Continued health and energy for the team members and all Ambi staff who serve on a daily basis. 

  • The opening of hearts in the children in Tecpan as we continue to worship with them tomorrow.

  • Prayer that the children feel love, gratitude, and support that they may not receive at home.

  • Prayer for God to work through leaders here who can teach the children their worth in God’s eyes.

  • Prayer for God to provide food and resources for these children.

  • Prayer that the children can make an impact through their hearts for the Lord in their homes as they have the opportunity to share with their parents.

  • Prayer for our chance to communicate with families on our home visits tomorrow as we have the chance to share the gospel.

  • Prayer for the children to know that their worth lies outside of farming, housekeeping and cultural norms in the community.

  • Prayer for the children to know that God does not love them differently based on their gender.

 

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Posted by Hanna Yates with

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