By Jan Perry
We experienced God’s providential love through loving God and loving others…in Guatemala 2016
The mission trip that I thought “I” had decided to take proved to be something God had already orchestrated. I was thrilled, at my age, to be able to do this, especially with Sara and Kim…three generations.
Shortly after the very first meeting in Scott’s office when 18 of us “signed up,”things began to make a downward spiral. On three separate occasions from September to January, health issues arose in our family that seemed to be getting in the way of some of us making this trip. Kim was waiting for a clear “go” from the doctors and we were waiting for Phil’s meds to begin their work. Scott was dealing with stuff too. Family members were concerned. The advice was, “just keep coming to the meetings and work projects and see how it all plays out.”
On our third meeting, we discovered that a fellow (not from our church) was going to join us. We discovered he was a doctor…relieved hearts all around…just in case we have health issues? God’s Providence.
On April 16th, driving from the airport to our “hotel”, we saw sights that many of us have never seen before. Devastating living conditions that we have only seen in pictures where we can turn the page or close the book, were in front of us every day. We left the smell of clean air back in the States.
Without knowing that some in our group were experiencing culture shock, after breakfast on Sunday morning, Steve Wilson felt it in his heart to share his first mission trip experience and how frightened he had been. And after a heart to heart with Sara, which led to her opening herself up to our group, she was comforted and encouraged by heartfelt prayers, was relieved and jumped in, ready to go on Monday morning. God’s Providence.
We arrived at “Arca de Noe” (Noah’s Ark School) on Monday morning to begin our mission work. Again, devastating conditions that most had never witnessed. An old, cement school with a locked gate and bars on the open windows, definitely in need of severe repair that we certainly could not even begin to accomplish in our short time there.
Then, the children arrived. Happy, joyful little faces with beautiful big brown eyes, hanging on the gate, waiting for it to be unlocked. In they ran with open arms, giving hugs and kisses to complete strangers. They ran off to their classes…dimly lit rooms with old, worn desks, one little lined notebook and one pencil per child…yet they were excited to be there. We witnessed them praying before classes began and singing (loudly) about Jesus.
We cleaned classrooms, worked in the “cocina”, painted, helped prepare food for the children (and us) and played with the kids. We witnessed people in their everyday lives that were the complete opposite of ours, serving with happy, joyful hearts. People who “don’t have much” in comparison to what “we have,”loving what God has called them to do in circumstances so vastly different from ours. We saw Jesus EVERYWHERE!
Most of us came home with a new family member (sponsor child) that we fell in love with. The Wilson’s discovered a “twin” that needed sponsorship…God’s Providence.
We ALL came home with a heart full of love and joy…wanting our thankfulness for what “we have” to be even greater and our “wants” to be even less. God’s Providence.
No serious illnesses…in Guatemala…or at home. He knew that…that’s why He allowed us all to go. God’s Providence.
We saw that even though we live totally different lives than our friends in Guatemala, we shared the love of Jesus. THEY taught US about what the love of Christ can do…true happiness and joy in knowing Him…without a lot of stuff.
We experienced loving God, and loving others. Every single day. God is calling us to do this here in our own very needy community. We need to reach out and demonstrate to those around us the love of God in the way we live, work, play and serve. I am praying that we will find ways of seeking out the needy and those who don’t know Jesus and maybe feel hopeless, and bringing them some joy and happiness through knowing Christ.