By Lorin Smith
I thought I could bring a message of hope to Guatemala. I had a strong grandfather’s image, a good testimony and desire to show some needed love to Guatemalan children. I was wrong about the message of hope. God is in charge of hope; He is the source of hope. I can only go where He sends me. He uses Me.
I was a bad (naughty) grandfather. I gave a teacher a bucket of sidewalk chalk. She wasn’t familiar with the stuff and just handed out a piece to each student. These second graders began to use it on paper. So I took a piece and drew a red heart on the wall, shocking the teacher. Then I wiped it away. The kids were now on the floor drawing on their papers so I got down and proceeded to copy what they drew by drawing with chalk on the floor itself. They were fast learners. I ran to get an interpreter to reassure the teacher. By then the floor was covered with chalk. She made me stay after school to mop the chalk off the floor.
Next I proceeded to buy my grandson a sling shot as a souvenir I was able to tell my testimony to Sam and a few women through him. God as been good to me far beyond what I could have imagined.
The hope thing actually happened, We painted the front walls, some class rooms and an inside wall of the school. Now the locals can have more pride in their school and perhaps add improvements with their own efforts. We tried to hug every kid in the school. They cried and we cried on the day we left; all tears of love. Now there are nine more kids with new sponsors.
Guatemala went through thirty years of guerrilla warfare. Millions were killed. The surviving adults were raised on war, murder and theft. Armed guards, barbed wire and cruelty seemed everywhere. The hope is that we provided positive loving role models for these kids, especially by playing with them.
The average age in Guatemala is just over nineteen years old. They are all kids, teenagers with babies. Without any education all they can do is farm labor , picking coffee, or make cottage industry trinkets. What they need is education. There is a need for trades like electricians, masons and truck drivers. If you can’t add or read you are of little use in a retail business. We had less than a week to support this school. We did what we could, but God will not return empty handed.
Our cup did indeed run over . We left shoes and a large pile of clothing, toys and a table full of peanut butter and brown sugar. Add Jesus and they can have thousands of cookies for smiling kids with big brown eyes. We collectively poured about twenty thousand dollars directly into the Guatemalan economy.
The good Lord supported us, but Satan erased my Spanish vocabulary. God provided the financing. We prayed for safety and protection; He protected us. We didn’t see any dreaded mosquitoes nothing serious took place and I lost twenty dollars from my suitcase but I was planning on leaving it in Guatemala anyway.
Rural Guatemala did not seem to have running water or sewers or even a welfare system. Seismic activity prevents it. If you want clean water collect lots of rain water. AMG, the group we were under seems to be the defacto welfare department for much of Guatemala. They rescue the dump kids, the addicts, the abused or abandoned kids, then feed them and school them and tell them about God. There was lots of noise and lots of activity, mostly pushing small items for small profits. Guatemala city in contrast had money and bigger businesses. It is comparable to Los Angeles with seven million people and nine tenths of the wealth of Guatemala but no skyscrapers. Guatemala is in general a tropical paradise with flowers, fruit and 85 degree weather but it is also dangerous with mosquitoes, volcanoes guerrilla elements and drug dealers.
This short week long mission was one intense education, an awakening., God used us there and now we have a message, a testimony of what we saw and witnessed. Americans tend to put their trust in insurance companies. These Guatemalans have put all their trust in God and are happy. They are content with what the good Lord has given them.