I sit here — nervous, excited, and expectant! Tomorrow I’ll board a plane and make the three hour flight back to Guatemala. Why, you ask? Mainly because when God says go and bring others along for the journey — you go.
This is my fifth trip and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Because in the still of the mountains and the brokenness of poverty, I have learned so much.
It’s hard to put it all in words, but let me try:
1. You can not truly effect change in a community unless you are there.
I’ve donated monies to many organizations before, but never went to see how change was coming along and how lives were being affected. What I’ve learned is that you can not throw money at a problem and hope it is solved. It takes real people teaching real people a better way to live through the bond of a relationship.
That’s why we partnered with Guatemala’s Potter House to help build a house for the community last year. I’m excited to go back and see how the family has done this past year. Plus I love getting to stay in touch my girl Yakelin who I sponsored from there. This girl is growing up too fast!
2. True joy exists even in the city dump.
My first trip to Guatemala City and to serve the people in the Dump community wrecked me up good! It was such a stark contrast to what I “thought” poverty was. Walking through the dump grounds and the community, I was continually amazed at the joy found in the children there. Smiles. Giggles. Peace. I continue to say, “marbles and mud puddles become ponds of grace” when poverty stares you in the face. And we could all learn something about being happy and joyous with what we have.
3. When the need seems too great, just look at what’s in front of you.
I have never been suffocated by the overwhelming thought that the need was so great, that my little self could not make any difference at all, as I have in Guatemala. But I learned quickly in my first trip,
We aren’t called to do everything to alleviate the need — we are just called to love and serve the person right in front of us.
And when you can rest in that moment you’ll see a true slice of heaven beam through the vast need that suffocates.
4. When you have nothing to give, remember you are enough.
I remember being numb. I had been so far out of my comfort zone for days that it was almost unbearable. I stood in a Cerebral Palsy unit at a hospital and was asked to look after Micky. Micky was young, couldn’t speak, nor move. My soul was crying on the inside and a time or two a tear leaked down my cheek. I was angry at God wondering why he had brought me here to serve, when it was very apparent I couldn’t make a difference. Through Micky’s sweet smile, God whispered in to my heart, “Alene, you are enough. You being here is enough!”
You would think I would know Spanish by now, but I don’t! As a matter of fact, I only know enough to get me in trouble. Spending an afternoon in the Grampas home, I figured I’d make the most of my Spanglish. (English and Spanish mixed in with a side of the Texas twang, y’all) When that failed, I whipped out my Translator App and what transpired after that was 45 minutes of laughing. Nothing but laughing. Tears rolling down your face laughing! I’m not sure what my translator app translated, but it must have been wrong. However, in that moment our hearts met, our souls encouraged one another, and no words were needed.
So tomorrow I return!
While most of you aren’t coming along with me, I invite you to follow along via facebook, twitter, and instragram. You can find our team at #serveguate. I’d love to know you were following and praying for us.
We could really use your prayer this year. We are partnering up with a new ministry and are hosting a retreat for them. They are weary and worn from a year long journey of teaching in the schools there. I’m blown way that God would provide the opportunity to speak into these people.
So, my bag is packed. I’m ready to go!
Will you please come along in prayer?