In the first week of March, a team went out from our church to serve the people of Salama, Guatemala and share the good news of Jesus Christ alongside Chris and Donna Mooney from Bethel Ministries International. Three women from SCC went; two were daughters. This was a second trip for some and a first for others which included building 3 homes, visiting poor families in their homes and distributing wheelchairs.
We thought you might enjoy hearing from some of the women who went on the trip and graciously agreed to journal “live” each day for us so that we could get a personal glimpse into the realities and emotions they experienced that week. Although this post is a little longer than our usual one, we think you will enjoy the journey!
“3:30 a.m. alarm wasn’t bad on that first day, probably because of the excitement… The large amount of excitement and anticipation also led to levels of disappointment when our flight was cancelled. It is difficult to try and function in normal life when you are mentally prepared for Guatemala.” – Renee
“Day 2 (or should I call it Day 1, since it’s the day we really left) didn’t start as well. I couldn’t sleep the night before. I’m not sure why my mind was racing and I couldn’t sleep, but maybe I can blame the change in travel plans for causing me some anxiousness. I begin a very long day on 3 hours of sleep. Lord – please give me the strength and stamina to make it through this day with a joyous heart…
The Lord heard my prayer because I believe that I had a joyous heart the whole day. What a great group of people that we are traveling with! I think this is going to be a great team. I’ve been looking forward to bringing Cameron on this trip for quite a while now…” – Renee
“Talk about the definition of a long day! Man, I am tired! But I am so thankful we have made it safely to Salama… we started out with a flight cancellation, moving our flight today when originally, we should have been leaving yesterday… Literally, all that was going through my head was, ‘we are not even going to get to go to Guatemala. There’s no way, maybe God’s trying to say that we shouldn’t go to Guatemala…maybe he has other plans for us, or maybe he’s just trying to protect us.’ Either way, I was really just starting to get upset because it was going to be my first time out of the country and I am so excited about it. But then I learned a very valuable lesson. What God was really wanting me to know is that He is in control of every situation. He would not ever let us down and it’s time for me to place all of my trust in him.” – Annie (age 14)
“We began our day with the wheelchair distribution. This was a nice way to begin our work in Salama. We really have a chance to interact with people on a personal level. I found myself more confident this year and I more easily engaged in the touch-feely outreach that Chris [missionary] recommends.” – Renee
“Today we distributed wheelchairs to people. It was fun. Annie Nichols and I gave out toys to kids. After we finished the Mayor took us to lunch. It was fancy and delicious. Then we split up into groups and our group (all girls) went on food distribution and we visited homes. At one house the kids were so fun and I had a great day… – Cameron (Renee’s daughter, age 11)
“During the wheelchair distribution, I got to interact with a bunch of elderly, as well as with some children. The children were precious and just loved anything you gave them, even if it may have been just a little smiley face sticker…Then there was an elderly lady who had lost both of her legs because of diabetes. While my dad and I were talking to her, she asked if we could take a picture with her. When we showed it to her, she began crying because she had never seen a picture of herself. It was just moving because it just shows how little they had but I was able to show love to this women by being a friend to her.” – Annie
“The mayor and his staff as well as the townspeople were so appreciative of our presence. Surprisingly there was a lot of pomp and circumstance to open up the day…They had the staff filming and taking pictures of the people getting wheelchairs being carried in (like paparazzi!) They would arrive with a bus-load of people they had picked up from various locations from miles around. Some people carried their family members down rugged mountainsides to be able to receive their much-needed wheelchairs. We were able to give about sixty people wheelchairs and others crutches, canes and walkers as well…
In the afternoon…we went back to a house that we built last year. I was so excited to see Eduardo, the precious little boy I had fallen in love with last year. He remembered us!! I had pointed out several pictures for him from last year which he seemed thrilled to get…Tragically, Eduardo’s mother had just been in a terrible motorcycle accident 3 weeks prior and was in the hospital and most likely paralyzed from her waist down…I am praying that she is healed. Things were already difficult for this family to begin with…” – Angie
“We divided into three groups today and Cameron and I were assigned to home visits. We drove about 45 minutes into the mountains to reach the village/town where we spent the day. To get there we drove on very bumpy, windy, muddy roads. Nothing like off-roading in a fifteen person van! This was an area of agriculture, grown on steep mountainsides. The poverty and natural beauty are in stark contrast to each other….
There was one man who I distinctly remember from the wheelchair distribution…. Once again, we prayed over him and prayed for healing. He has a lot of guilt for not being able to attend church. We should pray that he can find freedom in Christ so he can erase the guilt. It is very obvious to me that the Lord is working in his heart…The Lord continues to bless us with health and good weather. God is Good. I pray for all the hearts that heard the gospel today. I pray that the Lord would continue to speak to them and that they might seek the Lord and find his everlasting love and peace. Amen” – Renee
“Today we worked hard…At one point the mud was ankle deep! After we finished we were heading back down the mountain and we got stuck so we had to push the van. Today I saw many of my old clothes being given to other kids and it warmed my heart. Also I really was amazed at how some of the families got down the muddy hill.” – Cameron
“…I was in one of the slab groups. Let me tell you, it was a lot of hard work…There was no clean water and trash all over the place. The stench was horrible, and it was just a downright dirty place. But then I realized that no matter what these kids have, they still continued to play and have fun with each other. It was just really moving to see that these kids have love and happiness in their lives…” – Annie
“Today Cameron and I were assigned to a house build. We were both excited to do some physical labor and to meet the family that we were providing for. Engaging with this family was somewhat difficult. They were not extremely extroverted and were actually difficult to get a smile out of. However, we continued to try and engage with the children by giving toys and trying to translate from English to Spanish and visa-versa…I had given the girls a ring-making kit as a gift. They seemed to enjoy it and they started making rings right away. About an hour later, one girl came and grabbed my hand and led me into the house. She proceeded to give me a ring that she had made. It was so touching to me that she was so unselfish and generous to give me back part of the gift I gave her. What a reminder from Christ about giving, even if all you have is very little…” – Renee
“…I got to build a house and it was hard work. I mainly played with the kids, screwed in screws and put glass in the window panes. The house went up really quickly and we finished it by 5 p.m. We played with a punch balloon (me and the kids from the house) and they had fun. I knew the family was glad that we came and they liked their new home. I was glad to see our hard work had helped someone else.” – Cameron
“Today we went to build a house on top of a mountain. When I say on top of a mountain, I mean literally, their house was on top of the mountain! We had to carry all of the supplies up it, and it was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do….” – Annie
“The emotional rollercoaster. Today one minute we were weeping with joy and dedicating a house-build to a grandma raising 5 grandchildren and an hour later I was weeping from heartache over the loss of a father whom I had met last year…I had printed out pictures from my visits last year just in case we got to see them again. I had taken a family picture of a very sweet man Victor who was a widower raising his daughter and his young twins. He was very emotional last year and recommitted his life to Christ… She [the oldest daughter] was very happy to have the picture to treasure the memory of him. I wanted so bad to take away her heartache. We were able to give her some money for school for the twins and backpacks…I can’t fix the situation but I can pray and that will do!…” – Angie
“Cameron and I were assigned to the home visit team today…The mountain views were amazing and we had enjoyed seeing all of the agriculture; broccoli (lots of broccoli), tomatoes, bananas even. And the people were very friendly – always saying hello as you pass by…We started with a home visit to a family with six children, two of which had disabilities. As soon as Chris gathered us in a circle inside the home, the fifteen year old boy with disabilities started hugging him and then kissing him on the cheek…” – Renee
“Today my dad, a few other people, and Chris and Donna, and I went on some home visits. We had to travel by van to this village on a really big mountain…We met a lot of people, two families that I remember the most. The first one was with this 14 year old girl who lived by herself and completely took care of her six younger siblings…I have been praying for her. No one should ever have to do that.” – Annie
“After a long, laborious, and God-filled week, I was very glad to be heading to Antigua – and even more so to get back home….I am really glad to be going back home. I was really just looking forward to being able to sleep in a nice bed and use the faucet water! Thankfully I have had a wonderful experience there!” – Annie
“I was able to bring Evan [Angie’s 13 year old son] with me this year. It was very special to watch him join in this year. He became one of the guys. It was so encouraging to watch these godly men come alongside Evan and encourage and influence him…I’m looking forward to decompressing for a few days and taking time to reflect on the trip…I can’t wait to go back!!” – Angie
GUATEMALA TEAM WOMEN: (left to right) Annie Nichols, Shannon Miller, Angie Meyers, Cameron Thiesing, Renee Thiesing and Donna Mooney