Friday was our last day in Guatemala. We hated to see our Mission Trip come to an end. Ron had planned to give us a day away from the center and he gave us a trip up in the mountains to the volcano. We awoke to a beautiful day and the walkers, Eric and I not included, went for their 5:30am stroll. At 7:00am we gathered for breakfast and had our devotions. Our early morning devotions together is something we are all going to miss. At 8:00am Samuel arrived and we headed for the volcano.
We stopped at the entrance to the park and paid our fees and everyone decided rather to ride a horse or walk. The hearty ones opted for the walk. Guess who decided not to walk but ride a horse. But I wasn’t the only one. Tom and Eric also took the horse ride as the way to climb the mountain.
At the base camp we climbed out of the van and we riders mounted our horses and we were on our way. It was nice to be out in the fresh air and watching the city and valley recede into the distance. For me it was fun to be back on a horse as we had had horses in Oregon while my daughter, Carla, was growing up. I admired the girls who did the walking as it was a hard climb. But I stayed on my horse, “The Prince of Mexico”, as sometimes it is wise to listen to what your body tells you. And as my wife Shirley tells me, “Your aren’t as young as you used to be.”
Every once in a while we caught a glimpse of the volcano belching out black smoke into the sky. As we rode and walked higher we started leaving the trees behind and breaking out into the terrain covered by lava. We learned that an eruption 2 days earlier had left a new deposit of lava and soon we were riding through the new ash and lava rocks.
Then we arrived at the second base camp and it was getting steeper and there was more ash. We had to leave the horses here and everyone walked.
It was very steep and very hard walking and as we came closer to the top and the volcano you could start feeling the heat coming up through the rocks. A few of us finally succumbed to the steep and rocky trail and decided not to go any farther. I won’t name the ones who turned around but, I was one of them. The others went on up to the flowing lava and made us who didn’t wish we had.
Then it was the long trek back down to the real world. We walked back to the horses and after taking a break we mounted up and headed back down. We learned that our lead guide and a couple of the other guides were Christians and had only recently accepted the Lord as their Savior. So, that made a great ending to a great stay in Guatemala.
We went out to dinner that evening and as we listened to the music and looked at each other around the table I think we were all a little nostalgic about our week together with the children and yet were anxious to go back home to our friends and families. We all know that this week with the children at the center will stay with us forever and we will always have a bond with them and it will also keep us who made the trip bonded together.
I thank God for the opportunity he gave me to participate in this trip and to have had the experience of becoming a friend and mentor to these children for a week. I know by talking to the others they feel the same. So, if you want and experience you will never forget, sign up for a Mission Trip to the Malnutrition Center in San Juan Guatemala. I promise you will feel closer to your heavenly Father and you will come a way with a new outlook on your short stay here on earth.