Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Guatemala June 14th-20th, 2014

Women of Compassion & Springdale Community Church

Day 1 and Day 2: 
(From the perspective of Hannah, age 19)
Starting the trip off early, as in 3:45 am early, I who had never been on any sort of mission trip did not know what to expect. Fortunately this trip consists of a few pros, so I haven’t had to worry about anything pertaining to travel. Even though I did not know what to expect from this trip, I knew it had to be awesome since Cathryn, a 10-year old from Lakeland Christian, started a business of making bracelets with her friends to help raise money for the Malnutrition Center in San Juan. She was so passionate about this mission trip that after she came here the first time, she desired to do more for the Center. I feel honored to go on this trip with people who have left parts of their hearts down here in Guatemala. Today Cathryn was able to give all she and her friends raised to the Orphan’s Heart staff here in Guatemala.

We started off the trip with a slight flight delay, but I did not consider that bad, because if it weren't for that delay I would have never met a girl named Emily. She sat next to me for a while at the airport gate and was also heading to Guatemala for a different mission trip. Even though we weren't going to the same place it was an awesome experience to meet a fellow sister in Christ who had a similar passion as mine to serve our Lord, Jesus Christ. A WOW moment, indeed. After finally boarding our flight from Florida we met up with the other half of our team from Kentucky in Guatemala City, where we entered into a completely different culture. Strangely enough, my friend Josh and I agreed we felt at home. We ate at Pollo Campero and thankfully had Samuel to help us translate our food orders. Even with Samuel translating I still tried to speak to the people of Guatemala in Spanish….it wasn't pretty.

This inability to speak Spanish brings me into telling you of our next day in the beautiful city of Antigua. We woke up, went to breakfast, had an hour of amazing worship and headed straight to the the Filadelphia Coffee Plantation, a coffee plantation that has zip-lining and horseback riding. People could either tour the grounds by horse or by foot with a guide, or go zip-lining. The majority of the group chose to zip-line while a few chose to sit, relax, and bond with one another over freshly brewed coffee. Yum. I chose to zip line which was SO fun and thrilling. The reason this all ties into my poor Spanish speaking skills is because we had an encounter with a few girls who were working near the zip-line course. I was watching them and realized they didn't speak any English and were watching us too. I thought trying to interact with these girls was a perfect opportunity to practice my Spanish and show God’s love. However, while my intentions were good, when walking over I meant to greet them and ask “Como te llama?” ("What is your name?") but accidentally said “Te amo” which means, "I love you" (in a husband to wife kind of way.) Oops. WOW. 

Told you it wasn't pretty. I tried to recover, but the damage was done my friends. At least everyone laughed…right?

Afterwards the group met up with Alejandra and Olivia, our Orphan's Heart Guatemala staff . These two women are absolutely wonderful. They both have such fun, hilarious, and genuinely sweet personalities. You can tell that they enjoy helping the volunteers, as well as the children, at the Malnutrition Center. It was amazing to see their excitement for our group to come and help. They gladly took our group to the ruins of an old cathedral where I watched as everyone really began to bond. We talked and laughed. After this we went to a beautiful market in Antigua. It was amazing to see what the people of Guatemala had made and were selling for very good prices. We weren't there for too long but it was so enjoyable and, yet again, a great way to work on our Spanish speaking skills. 

Once arriving back to the hotel our group gathered to go over rules of the Malnutrition Center. Everyone was assigned to their age groups (I got Bunnies!) and could sense that everyone was ready to get to the Center.  This is when the nerves started to kick in. This is when God said “wake up”. So far the trip has been a total vacation: a beautiful city, wonderful coffee, great food, zip-lining…endless fun! It isn't that working at the Center won't be fun, I have full confidence it will be. But there we will see children who have great needs. Needs that most Americans see as entitlements. These children are in desperate need for love, compassion, and nourishment. While this trip has been amazing and I am so thankful for the memories already created, I cannot describe how excited I am to be serving The Lord, and the people of Guatemala, with the group I am with. 

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