Far from what I once was, but not yet what I'm going to be

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Coming home is never easy. It's never fun either.

But they say home is where the heart is. . . Well my heart is in a Guatemalan village 10,000 feet in the mountains. Does that make Guatemala home? Maybe I'm just a nomad. Lost and confused.

I returned from a 10 day trip to Guatemala. This was my second time and it was great. The first trip was life changing - the greatest trip of my life. This trip didn't disappoint. Still changed me. Still great! :)

There is something so special about your first time in a new place. The first time you meet the people there, taste the food, see the sights, get bit by the bugs. . .

HOWEVER, nothing can compare to returning to the same village and seeing the same children and people that I met last year. The second I stepped out of the van, my 9 year old friend, Ruth, RAN up to me and embraced me with all she had. You just can't describe those moments. It's moments like those that made this trip. Reconnecting with old friends. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the people you met a year earlier.  All that was going through my mind was "they remember."
My Ruth is the one in the light green jacket giggling to herself ;)
Oftentimes I come across people who question the impact of short term missions. Trust me, I get it. It used to be hard for me to hear these people out because I have such a heart for missions and have been on 5 trips myself. But I really do understand their concern. But it's the little moments like THAT - Ruth running up and embracing me with the biggest smile I've ever seen. Laughter in the air; music to my ears. They remember! We bring joy and encouragement to these people. We build relationships and love them like Jesus loves them.

We had a sermon in church today on James 1:27. "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."  That's what we're doing in this village. THAT is what short term missions is all about.

If you read my posts from last year's trip or talked to me at all, you may remember that last year we laid the block for the church in the village. We built the first story. Finished all the block work. I was so excited to see how much further they had gotten in a year's time. I was saddened to see there was little to no progress on the church since our last day in the village last year. This also solidifies my belief that we are making an impact. WE are building this church in Guatemala. Literally building the church.
Working hard on the re-bar
This year we did all of the re-bar work for them to lay the ceiling of the first story/floor of the second story and begin to build up. Re-bar work is very tedious and time consuming. It was so awesome to see how excited and overjoyed all of the people in the village were just to have us there. Our presence lit up their faces. Their smiles are so bright and bring tears to my eyes. I've never seen such beautiful smiles.

I know that we made a difference being there. We made a difference in the village physically by building the church building. We made a difference in the church spiritually by helping build the church body and bringing believers to their community. We made a difference personally by continuing relationships that were made and built last year. Not only is this village being impacted, but so am I. I can't help but be impacted by their joy, excitement, and unconditional love for everyone around them. They have nothing but are more than content. They are so generous. I definitely learn from them each time I interact - language barriers don't stop love and joy. Some things are universal.
Their smiles are more beautiful than anything I've seen.
Their laughter is music to my ears.