GO! Trips: Guatemala 2018
GUATEMALA GO! TRIP REFLECTION
In October 2018, Harvest sent a GO! Team to Antigua, Guatemala to partner with a local church, Iglesia del Camino. The team consisted mostly of juniors and seniors in high school that have been faithfully seeking and serving the Lord at Harvest. For many of these students, it was their first opportunity to serve the Lord internationally. The team partnered with the church to assist them in their local outreach efforts, which are focused in communities where Iglesia del Camino hopes to plant churches in the future. God did and is continuing to do a mighty work in our students’ lives. Be encouraged by these reflections from two of our students on how they saw God at Work.
Maddie Elam: Reflection on Guatemala GO! Trip
When I went to Guatemala a few weeks ago, my perspective on a lot of things changed. I saw the world from a new angle, one I had never experienced or seen before. I saw poverty and brokenness and loss. Yet through all of this, I saw God working. Not only in the lives of my fellow team members, but in the people in Guatemala.
GOD IS IN CONTROL
As much as we planned for the trip, no meeting could have prepared me to see the destitution that had struck these towns. Houses were built with thin walls, dirty floors and broken roofs, if there was a roof at all. The space was cramped, and the air was hot. As we went from house to house, I honestly felt so discouraged. What could I do to help? I’m a 16-year-old girl on a short-term mission trip. However, there was one house we went to where the family really impacted me. There was a woman living there with her two daughters, son in-law and three grandkids. She suffered a stroke and lost control of one side of her face. And even though she had been through an ordeal such as that, she praised God through it. She even asked if she could pray for us! In hearing that I was amazed, and I began to question my dependence on God. I witnessed people depending on the Lord for everything. Their next meal, provisions for their family, even their next breath. And here in America, we take for granted what we have. I take for granted what I have. The Lord really showed me how sovereign and in control he is.
We also worked at several kids camps throughout the week. Seeing kids interact with one another and my team members was an awesome experience. These kids were so joyful and accepted us though we didn’t know them. I loved sitting down with them and being able to communicate with them, despite a language barrier. Being able to be in community with them and show them love was amazing.
GOD AT WORK THROUGH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
In the midst of all of our experiences and service, our visit to the malnutrition clinic impacted me most. Seeing those kids really required me to lean on God. It was heartbreaking. I just wanted to stay there forever just to let these children know that they were loved. But what was so cool was how the local community supported this place and the kids. When we first got there, they had nothing for us to do because there were already so many volunteers, and I just thought, how cool is it that people and this community care about this place so much. That there were already so many volunteers, they were turning people away. How amazing is that?
ALL FOR HIS GLORY
Each night, our team had a debrief where we would talk about the day. This really helped me, because it gave me a chance to reflect on what had happened and to really dig deeper into it. It gave me the ability to look for ways that the Lord was working through our team each day we were there. When I felt discouraged after seeing some difficult things, I was able to take a moment and remember the sovereignty of God, and how he uses every situation to glorify him. I was able to remember why we were there. Not for my glory, or to be proud of what I had accomplished so it might benefit me. But that I had done everything for Jesus. And when I got back to America, not only was I humbled through this, but I had a peace of mind and want to return.
Spencer Stonehouse: Reflection on Guatemala GO! Trip
This was my first time going on a mission trip and serving others internationally for Christ. The Lord worked in me through this experience, taught me many things and encouraged me.
I was not expecting to see the level of hardship we observed. As we landed in Guatemala, I could already see the shocking difficulty as I looked out the window. It was different than seeing it in pictures or hearing about it because I was actually immersed in it.
LEARNING DEPENDENCE ON THE LORD
One of the most impactful times for me was the day that we went to a town called Pastores. This town was very much affected by poverty. We went to multiple homes and set up water filters for them. We also gave them food and a Bible. This gave us the opportunity to share the gospel and pray with them. The first house we visited was very difficult to witness because of the poor living conditions. A lady and her two children lived there in a very tiny house constructed of metal sheets and concrete with very little furnishings and no running water. She had lost her husband and was caring for her two children by herself. She had multiple health problems, memory loss and was blind in one eye. Even in the middle of this hardship, the family was very joyful, happy and kind to us. We told them that we believed in Jesus and the mother said that she also had faith in Jesus and that a relationship with him is what gave her joy even in her situation. Seeing someone struggle like this was hard for me. Knowing that she was a sister in Christ was harder because she is part of my Christian family. Yet I was encouraged to see how much joy she has because of her relationship with Christ. This opened my eyes to see the many blessings I have from God and also encouraged me to be more dependent on him because he is all I truly need.
JOY IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES
Another amazing experience was the opportunity to help lead activities at three different camps. As we planned the activities for camp, I thought it would be difficult to connect with the kids because of the language barrier. However, it surprised me how well we connected with them. The kids were very joyful and kind to us. We got to worship with them in Spanish and they were excited to worship. One of the camps had 300 kids. When I first heard about it, I was very overwhelmed, but God allowed it to run smoothly and it was very easy to connect with them. It was also a lot of fun playing games with them. Seeing the amount of joy in these kids who live in challenging conditions encourages me to be grateful and joyful because of the blessings I have. It was very hard to leave knowing that the people we interacted with were still there living in these conditions but knowing the amount of joy they have really impacted me.
God taught me to be thankful, to be joyful no matter the situation and to love and care for others. I also know that I need to be fully dependent on him.