I thought i would know what to expect on this trip, at least a little bit, seeing as i was just here three months ago but God has a funny way of letting you know when you’re wrong. The whole ordeal of getting to San Juan was a little rough for me, and at our hotel in Panajetchal i found myself getting really frustrated with the trip because of it. Thankfully though, we have a God that supports you even when you aren’t doing the best job of supporting him. He showed this to me last night, when I was playing in a soccer game against some of the local kids. Let’s be honest. I am not a soccer player, and when put against the kids from our church and the town, I look even worse. As I ‘m running around in the rain I had to just stop and look around at the scene. Even though I was by far the weakest link on my team, they all supported me. My team was a mix between the two cultures and I had warned the kids of San Juan of my lack of ability. their only response was that it doesn’t matter. As we were walking back to our hotel I just had to think about how God had shown me – through a soccer game that regardless of how selfish and frustrated I might get with any situation, he is still supporting me. Which just might be the best news I’ve heard all week.
Wow. This has been the most amazing first few days, and we haven’t even started teaching yet! A few of my favorite things so far have been: going on the roof at the hotel we stayed in the first night in Panajachel and walking on the prayer tour around San Juan La Laguna yesterday. As for the roof, a few of us hiked up past level 3 of our hotel and climbed the stairs to get onto the roof. We saw two precious Guatemalan ladies doing all the laundry for the hotel in bins of water then laying everything out to dry in the beaming sun. They had music playing on their radio as they worked and worked. We snapped a few pictures up there and took a few moments to take in the beauty of the buildings and streets around us and below us. I tried talking to the precious ladies, shouting, “Musica!!” and thanking them for letting us come up there. Anyways, onto the prayer tour. Everything came to life during this because I finally got to see the school we are going to be teaching at, meet the head of the school, see a beautifully redone church, view an area destroyed by Hurricane Stan, and finally, meet Milton and his family. There is so much to say about our visit to Milton’s home, but, basically, we all stood in Milton’s bedroom and listened to his long-winded yet incredible story of how he nearly died after falling 50 feet down a well one night while he was really drunk. Milton woke up in the hospital and doctors predicted his life would come to an end due to severe wounds and a broken spinal cord. After prayers, lots of money, and trips to see the best doctors in the country, God has been healing Milton little by little. He is beginning to regain feeling in the right side of his body and is starting to slowly but surely walk again. It was just so cool to see how God has worked through Milton and healed him inside out. We prayed for Milton, and he started crying. Milton reminded us that God’s heart is so big that is is incalculable. It was extremely touching and so humbling. I wish I could ramble on here for hours and tell everyone how amazing this trip has been. These Guatemalan kids are absolutely precious. They have so much joy in their eyes and in their hearts, and their smiles are infectious. I have loved using my Spanish skills to connect with the kids and make conversations every time I see them running around on the streets. It is amazing how different our lives can be from the lives of the little kids, yet some things refuse to change. The same God is in Kansas City and here in San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala. I cannot wait to see what else He has in store for us on this adventure, and I pray that I can continue to keep my eyes open and ears in tune.
One word four syllables…Guatemala!
I don’t do too much blogging but I’ll give it my best shot. Here is a quick recap of what might have been the longest day of my life. mi norm es jose soy de sanjuan la laguna y es u n nor tener tantas remans notre americanos bisitandonos That was mi amigo Jose. We played soccer with him last night, he is a crazy goalie. Ok back to the longest day of my life. I woke up at three in the morning after about two hours of sleep. and then proceeded the the prestigious Kansas City International Airport and arrived around (this is from John Kurtz and will be continued later…)
First thing, I AM IN LOVE WITH GUATEMALA and everything about it! I wake up every morning and see these amazing mountains obscured by clouds, huge trees everywhere I look, and the beautiful blue Lake (called something I for sure can’t spell). I have had so many moments so far on the trip where I have see God I can’t even count them!! Walking in the streets of San Juan we see God’s masterpieces, the people here! My favorite thing is when their faces light up when you say “Buenos trades”. When we teach I am amazed at how eager the kids are to learn and how excited they are. Two things that happened today that just made me smile. One was this morning when we had devotions with the 2nd graders. I shared one of my favorite verses with them, Jeremiah 29: 11. After two of us shared the kids sang us songs in spanish. They sang “This is the day that the Lord has made” and “Hallelujah.” They sang so loud and got really into it! It was so cool to hear worship songs I sang at that age in Spanish and hear God being praised in another language. My group sang “This little light of mine for them.” I didn’t want that time to stop! Later in the day at recess I had a wonderful conversation with a mom of a four year old I was sitting next to. I had one of our interpreters come over so I could have a full conversation with her. I found out she was six months pregnant with her second child and thats it’s due on my brothers birthday. She invited me to her house on the lake and left saying that she will see my again. Those were the moments that stood out to me so far today but there are so many more I have and will have here in Guatemala. I am praying for God to give me the strength for the rest of the week and patience because we are all running on very little sleep. My prayer for this week is that I see God in every moment of my day! So far I have! At the beginning of the week Nate reminded us that we didn’t bring God to Guatemala, he is here already and working in incredible ways. As I spend more and more time here I realize how true Nate’s words are. God is doing amazing things in the school we are teaching at and I am so excited to come back some day and see what these kids have done for their community. I am so blessed and I don’t think I will be able to leave San Juan tomorrow. PRAISE HIM!!!!!! (It’s a Guat thing)
I don’t think I can truly start this blog without saying WOW!!!!!! I was naive enough to think that I would have some sort of idea of whats going on because of my sister’s stories. The very first day I knew that this trip will be like nothing I have ever experienced in life, nor will it ever be repeated. Our day in Guatemala started with someone losing their bag, which got in about an hour ago by the way. Also I had heard of the mudslides that they get here, but knowing our luck, we got to learn about them first hand after being stuck because of on for 2 hours while going to Panajetchal. This was all after waking up at 3 in the morning to make our flights to Guatemala. Looking back over these first 3 and a half days, I would never ever give them up for absolutely anything on earth. I know I am truly blessed to have the family I do, live where I do, and have the live i enjoy so much. Just being here in this beautiful place I see how much God has blessed not only my life, but the lives of everyone that we come into contact on this trip. and this place IS beautiful. I have never been to a more amazing, awe-inspiring, beautiful place in my life. God truly works in mysterious ways. No matter if it is the scenery, the kids here, or any other second in my day here, he is give me an insane opportunity and experience.
The thought that I can’t get out of my head is that I am in Guatemala right now. Seriously? Why was I lucky enough to get an experience like this? Waking up to see mountains and a beautiful lake right down the road is humbling within itself. I have to say it’s much better than waking up to see 124th street outside of my bedroom window (no offense mom and dad). This trip has been absolutely what i didn’t expect, which is weird because i can’t even count how many conversations i’ve had with people who have been here before, both friends and family. I’m loving it all, especially those times that test your ability to truly be flexible and trust the Lord and trust the team to handle situations that kind of shake up the schedule. It’s already been such a huge learning experience for me about how to work with so many different kinds of people and how to truly invest in some self reflection. This place is shaking up my life in the best ways imaginable and I can’t wait to use this missions trip to begin the mission trip of my life. This won’t end here for me in San Juan because I plan to share everything I’ve learned here with the people back home in Overland Park and then when I head off to school in Columbia (no groans please). I can’t wait to share so much more with everyone back home. I love you and miss you! PRAISE HIM!! (yes like Molly said, it’s a guat thing) 🙂
This trip has been absolutely amazing!!! I have seriously enjoyed every single second! This has been an eye-opening experience for me and I feel so blessed to be here! We are surrounded by beautiful volcanoes and a gorgeous lake. I have learned so much so far and I know I will continue to learn even more. I have especially learned how to be flexible because the plans seem to change by the minute. Also, the people on this trip are amazing! Everybody is so friendly and encouraging. Because teaching is so exhausting, the encouragement from friends is the only way we can make it through the day! I love walking through the village and seeing the smiles on all the kids faces every time you say “hola”! You can tell the kids are truly excited to see you and they immediately start calling you their amigo! God has done amazing things for this people and continues to be at work here in Guatemala. At the school, God has been teaching through us and has been delivering some pretty amazing stories. Guatemala is a truly inspiring place, and I love it!!!