As I look back on our trip to Guatemala, I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and hope. I went into this trip thinking I was going to be God’s hands and spread His love to the Guatemalan people, but I never expected what I would get in return. Every person I met poured into me even more than I did them. They all truly have my heart. These people are filled with infectious joy, and I admire their positive perspective on life.
We were able to serve these people by building houses, bathrooms, stoves, and washing their feet. Each family welcomed us with open arms. The gratitude they showed us was like no other. They would offer us soda or make us bread, even when this generosity would take away a majority of their money for the week. Even with a language barrier, I was amazed to realize I was still able to connect with each of these families and learn their story.
The most impacting relationships were ones that we didn’t even speak, but we were able to just be together. Through this, they were able to feel the love God has for them. I am so thankful God hand picked each person on this team to bring us together. Each of us were vulnerable and stepped out of our comfort zone, but in this it showed me that God works in the most unexpected ways.
In Guatemala, once an orphan turns eighteen, he or she is kicked out of the orphanage into the streets. While this is difficult for many orphans, it’s especially challenging for those with special needs. On the Pray America campus, there is a house, Casa De Sarita, for aged-out orphans with special needs. Hugo and his wife, Gilma, have a heart for taking in aged-out orphans, and together they are the house parents for several aged-out orphans in Monte Flor, the Pray America campus.
Our team had the honor of being the first to include the Casa De Sarita kids on our team for our projects throughout the week. We were able to bond with them both on and off the projects, and this allowed us to get to know their hearts. They each had a heart longing and willing to serve, and our team wouldn’t have been complete without them!
Returning home, we want to continue the mission in our daily lives. Our goal is to be the 20% of people who go on mission trips and actually change the way they live afterwards. The Guatemalan people put such value in every relationship they have, and this is something we admire about the people we met. We want to invest in everyone around us in our daily lives and spread the love of Jesus in our community.
As a group, we have grown so close and made connections that will last a lifetime. Together, we want to spread the love and joy of knowing who Christ is throughout our community. This trip has been an eye-opening and life-changing experience that has made us value the importance of our relationships with each other. And none of us were made to face this life alone.
Story written by Zen Rosen and Kaitlyn Snyder