My experience in Guatemala
There is no better way to learn more about yourself, about God, and build new relationships than submerging yourself into a foreign culture and serving the people that live there. These mission trips or “service trips” are kind of labeled as trips where we missionaries are doing all the serving, yet looking back on my trip to Guatemala this March, I now realize that the people we serve willingly served us right back . All of the Guatemalans, kids and adults, loved me and exceeded every expectation of mine. They saw no limitations in loving us. They took every moment with us to engage with us, weather it was through sunday night church service or playing card games, plus they didn’t even mind that we spoke very broken Spanish. Going into the trip, I was blinded by the limitations and differences. It was like someone had blindfolded me, handed me a bat, spun me around, and told me to hit the pinata. Everyone around me was screaming left! Right! Swing! Turn! As our leaders tried to prepare me, that is how I felt… overwhelmed. I was so concerned about the blindfold, or differences, that I didn’t focus on how our leaders were trying to prepare me. Once I took the blindfold off, hitting the pinata was easy as cake, and then I got to enjoy all the candy inside. I learned not to focus on the limitations, and it was quite rewarding in the way that I formed new relationships. Our team leaders tried to explain to us how insignificant the limitations are in comparison to the big picture of why we are serving and what the message we want to portray is, but I don’t think one can understand how all of those differences can be wiped away until you actually experience it. Love with a true purpose and Godly mindset breaks all the chains, exceeded all the limits, and overflows your heart. Loving those people was only possible because of the organization my team went through, Eagle’s Nest. We served the staff at the orphanage by entertaining the kids and holding and feeding the babies. Along with engaging with the locals there, we always did some type of manual labor in the morning weather it was painting fences or moving sand. That labor was hard work, but everyone enjoyed it and it was a great way to get to know everyone on my team! The people in Eagle’s Nest were truly wonderful, and I have never felt so welcomed by a complete group of strangers like this before. The Guatemalan kids and staff were loveable and incredibly compassionate towards us!
The one thing that resided with me most is that God has big plans. And I mean really huge plans. I met a senior in high school named Hannah Adams who is interning at Eagle’s Nest the first few months of this semester. Her journey of coming to know Christ and now living in Guatemala, away from all the comforts of her hometown Jackson, Mississippi, is very inspiring to me and has lead me to realize that God has plans I can’t even dream of happening! Looking into every face of the kids at the orphanage and knowing God has a specific plan for each and every one of them gave me warm and joyful feelings I can’t describe. It sparked wonders in my heart about how God can love everybody perfectly and unconditionally.
You can hear stories about mission trips and how “impactful” and “amazing” they were, but those adjectives are just words until you experience them first hand. It’s hard to explain all the emotions and things you experience on a mission trip, that’s why most people just say it was fun. I think God really enjoys prying open hearts when his sons and daughters step out of their comfort zone. I personally got to witness my friends experiencing that, which is amazing. The best part about mission trips is that no matter how far you go, ten miles or ten hours, He will show up and teach you more and more about who He is, all through serving.