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Touch. One simple word, yet such a powerful expression of love. In Guatemala this week, we have felt the awesome effect of human touch. Many of the children that we have formed relationships with have poor hygiene due to living environment, have runny noses, and even may cough all over us. But when they reach their tiny, dirty, little hands out to grasp our hand, there is a universal feeling of love that cannot be expressed in words.
On Sunday, we were walking through the village to attend a clinic dedication. As I was walking, I felt this little hand reach up and grab my hand. He gave me the biggest smile and said, “Vamanos!” Feeling thankful at the moment for our years of watching Dora the Explorer together when the kids were little, I remembered that it translated to “let’s go!” He proceeded to drag me through the dirt streets and rough terrain to get to our location. He then took me to meet his madre’ and his amigos. He was such a spunky little boy!
As a family, we had many concerns about this trip. And to be honest, there were times that we could have allowed obstacles, distractions, and anxiety to make us feel inadequate to serve on a foreign mission trip. One of our greatest concerns was not being able to communicate the language with the people of Guatemala effectively. But immediately, we learned that a smile and a hug were all that was required to show love.
In one of our morning worship sessions, Bro. Breck spoke of the lady who had the bleeding disorder (Mark 5). Her faith was so strong that she believed that a simple touch of Jesus’ garment, would heal her. When she made her way through the crowd and approached Jesus, she touched the hem of his garment and was healed. In that moment, she went from nobody to somebody.
The people of Guatemala have always been “somebody” to God, but now they have become “somebody” to us. We have formed relationships with families that we hope and pray that we will one day see again, both in Guatemala and in eternity. Now when we pray, we will pray specifically for the people of Guatemala that have so touched and blessed our lives this week, including our friends, Santiago, Christian, Hannah, Diego, Wilson and their families.
Jason, Allison, Avery and Davis Pool
Holá from Guatemala! It is only the third day of interaction with the people of Guatemala and God has already shown and blessed my team and me in so many ways. Today, we divided into 3 teams. The first team went to the build sites that we started yesterday in an attempt to finish building the houses. Another team went to an orphanage and then to a local church for VBS. My team also went to an orphanage; however, this specific orphanage was especially for children with special needs. It was such a blessing to see these sweet children act so joyful even though they had a disability. They did not even realize anything was wrong with them and loved us completely. From the time I got there, one specific girl really attached to me. Her name was Rosemary. All she wanted to do was hug me, kiss my hand, and dance. The smile on her face from just doing those simple things was priceless. We did many other things with the other kids such as push them in the swing, sing songs with them, and just love on them (even though we were really the ones who got loved on).
After we left the orphanage and much confusion on where our VBS site was, we finally arrived at a local church pastored by Edgar. We had about 40 kids show up. I had the privilege, along with 2 other girls, to teach the bible study about Jesus’ life. It really blessed me how attentive they were and how they longed to hear what we had to say. After that, we had a craft. We made butterflies with coffee filters, clothes pins, and markers to go along with the verse 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” They spent so much time coloring and getting it just right. Finally, we had recreation. All of the guys on our team played soccer and Frisbee and all of the girls painted fingernails. I am pretty sure I am a professional now because of how many fingernails I have painted. It was so sweet because all of the girls faces just lit up as we painted them. Seeing that made me realize how much we take for granted.
When we got done with VBS, we headed back to the mission house. Shortly after we arrived, we found out that we had no water whatsoever. My human nature of course automatically went to me. I began to get really frustrated and think “why can’t they just fix it so I can shower and wash my hands?” Not long after those thoughts, I began to think about the children we have been working with the past 3 days. Most of them came to us dirty, not knowing when the next time they would be able to wash off would be, but they didn’t care. They had love and that’s all they needed to have joy. I just realized how often I get so caught up in me and my needs that I forget to look around and realize the desperate need of the lost and needy people all around me everyday. It also is a perfect representation of Christ. We think that we need to be clean and holy before we come to him, but quite the opposite is true. He wants us just the way we are, dirty hands and all. I’m so thankful for such an amazing opportunity to come to such a beautiful country and share God’s love to such beautiful people. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the rest of the week!
Over the last 48 hours I’ve heard my own words parroted back to me by some of greatest young people I know. They were parroting them to me to mock me, but to encourage me. To remind me that God is in control and that I am not. Now, before you begin to panic, nothing is wrong. In fact, everything is right. God put knew opportunities in front of us for ministries. As we headed back from a block party, we found one of our van tires was flat. As we stopped to air that one the other went flat. We had one spare and two flat tires. We crept along from one tire shop to the next to only hear, “Can’t help you today.” Then one last store. Guess what? They could help us. What did those “missionaries” in the van do? They did not lament their situation. They looked at the unexpected incident as a possible opportunity God wanted them to use for His glory. Their answer was found in a little girl whom they encountered. Every moment was captured by that team in the life of that little girl. That sat and played with her and left her one of the Doll Makers dolls. (Thank you!) The little girl treasured it and held it tight. God took a flat to bring the team right the place he intended for them for ministry. Today, we also learned that the water pump at the house was not working. Thus, after a long sweaty and even nasty day serving and building houses in the village we learned there would be no showers. However, Brother Breck made a few quick calls and got us access into the seminary to use their showers. Running water never felt so good removing the layers of caked on dirt. While the shower was all the dirt and smells away, it could not touch the permanent memories that are there. Missions has forever changed my life.