Over the week of Thanksgiving, we take a mission trip to the Guatemala City dump. This was our second year in a row taking this trip during Thanksgiving week, and we’ve decided it will continue until God says differently! I can’t even begin to convey to you the amazing moments we experienced this year, and the radical ways that God crushed our hearts and healed our own minds and misconceptions about what He wants from us. I left there, and remain a very thankful gal, recognizing Jesus more and more in every moment. Here are a few pictures and explanation of what God allowed us to do:
Several days we led a medical clinic, where we treated the people who live in the dump who have various diseases and sickness because of their living conditions. After being seen by our doctor, they come see us for prayer and ministry. We share the gospel of Jesus with them, and make sure they hear a clear presentation of truth and what Jesus came to do.
We raised enough money to buy and build about 20 bunk beds for children who were sleeping on the floor, or on pallets, often with 5 or 6 others. I didn’t realize the impact that this simple gift would have on these people, and it overwhelmed us at times, seeing children jump on their beds, and tears streaming down parents faces at the thought of their kids getting continuous restful nights.
Another project that we took part in was building stoves for people living in the dump. Again, we gathered funds and put our muscles to good use hauling cement blocks, sand, and equipment, and put together stoves that would allow them to have warm food and beverage for years to come. These aren’t even close to the stoves we have here, but they serve a great purpose for these people and their families. I have to give it to our guys, it’s a big job!
We served in an orphanage that stole my heart! We were blessed to spend a lot of time with them, and even paint a little house on their property. A little 3 month old baby named Amy grabbed me and made it very difficult to break away easily! And Michael was another little one that buddied up with Brad and that we don’t go a day without thinking of. As of right now, Guatemala is a closed country for adoption in the US since 2007. Were this not the case, 5 would have come home with us! We are praying about this law being done away with so that children don’t have to live as orphans when they are wanted and desired by loving families!
The lead pastor of our group has a little girl named Kinzie who was adopted from Guatemala just before the country closed in 2007! She’s a miracle! She decided to rally up her friends to make rainbow loom bracelets and send them for all the kids we met in Guatemala. It was so much fun giving them away and seeing the smiles on the kids faces, and knowing the little heart that put forth so much effort to see other kids happy! It was a real sweet part of our adventure!
One night we led a homeless service, where I sang in spanish, Brad and Kevin shared testimonies, and we fed them at the end. This was a highlight of the trip for sure. The majority were men, and they were so dirty, so hungry, and ultimately hopeless. Many are physically injured from getting hurt in the landfill, and many are addicted to sniffing glue and other solvents to numb their hunger pains. Brad and others washed their hands with buckets of water over a hole in the floor when they came in. We worshipped, the gospel was shared, and many ended up on their knees in the middle of the room, crying out to God. This night changed us all.
We were also blessed to lead a service at the local church that invites us in and serves with us each year. Pastor Saul and Layla are amazing servants of God and give of themselves day and night to minister to the people in the dump area of Guatemala. Their church is built right at the dump for that purpose, and their dedication motivates me! And on that note, in the picture below you will see them with us, in their home, after they surprised us with a Thanksgiving meal! This blessed us so deeply. Obviously, in Guatemala they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or really even know much about it. But they knew that it was an important holiday for us, and that we weren’t home with our families to celebrate. They got online and found out what types of food we eat on Thanksgiving, and invited us to their home for one of the sweetest meals I’ve ever been a part of. Out of true love for us, they gave of themselves and went above and beyond to make us feel special and cared for on a day that most Americans take for granted anyway. Thanksgiving means much more to me after being in Guatemala for two in a row. I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness every single day!
On our last night, we do a feeding for the people in the dump, and they come up with containers of all sorts for us to put food and coffee in. At times we poured peoples coffee into little plastic bags. Food and coffee was put into old, dirty coke bottles, or old hand wipe containers that had the tops cut out….whatever they could find, they brought to be filled.
I’ll post a few more pictures below and just close with this…It is more blessed to give than to receive! This post could get very long if I shared all the deep things that God showed us on this mission trip. I look forward to kicking off 2014 sharing more about Guatemala with you, and what God is still doing and showing us. I’m so proud of our little home church and the family that God has placed us with! We are also so thankful for the support and love we receive from so many of you! Keep coming back to read more in the coming days!