I sit here, a full 48 hours after arriving back in the US of A and I stare at my blinking cursor as it taunts me, threatening to remove all words that might possibly form sentences that sum up the past week in Guatemala. We joked that it was like a week at Bible camp. You show up as strangers, you experience life changing things, you hug at the airport and promise to be pen pals, and you go back on fire… that is, until you get the question, “so, how was it?” Part of me wants to shout it from the rooftops how freaking blessed we are in this country, the other part of me wants to cry for the people we met and the privileges they may never know, the final part of me wants to get on my knees and thank God for his faithfulness that spans the oceans, either way, there is no simple answer.
Being that Guatemala was my second trip this year with Healing Waters, I felt more equipped. While I knew that I would once again experience the high-highs, I was tightening my seatbelt for the inevitable low-lows that would come when I returned home (you know, to a warm home, a stocked pantry, running clean water, and a family who loves me.) These trips aren’t mission trips, we aren’t serving or building or giving things to others, we are there standing side by side those on a mission to empower the world through clean water. We are recognizing God’s sovereignty in their work, we are acknowledging the hard work they are doing, and we are showing our gratitude for their perseverance in answering the calls they have been given. We aren’t there giving hand outs or pretending to be the ones championing missions, we are there to acknowledge the work, provision, and faith of those who call Guatemala their home and most of all we are there to take their stories back and tell them well. So if that’s the vision of our trip, why is it so stinking hard to get home and explain it all. Maybe it’s fear I won’t do their stories justice, maybe a piece of me feels they are so sacred that they shouldn’t be shared, it’s probably that little voice in my head that tells me that people just won’t understand.
The thing is? You won’t understand. But if I’ve learned anything coming along side of the beautiful souls of Guatemala it was this: sometimes you have to believe in the things you haven’t seen. Isn’t that walking in faith? Like the pastor who literally dug a well for six years…. six whole years. He dug each day, deeper and deeper in search of water. He listened to the call given to him and kept the faith in a dark cold hole, knowing that he was never alone. Or maybe it’s the faith of Louis, a man who left Guatemala for New York to live the American dream. He did just that until a prophet told him to go back to Guatemala because there was work to be done. He met and fell in love with his wife Armina and they now feed over 50 children daily at their home (with no electricity or running water.) Regardless of if you’ll ever see it all firsthand, I am asking you for a little dose of faith: believe me when I tell you that God is working in this communities, that the faith is so strong, that there are good people doing big things. Trust me when I tell you that your gift will go far, that there is such a need that we could easily fill if we championed it together. This holiday season I pray that you take a step back from your comforts, that you really look around and forget about the hustle and bustle of the holidays and think about the simple things we should be grateful for, because trust me, we are so truly, truly blessed. The glory be to Him!