Between additional travels and the inability to access the internet during that time, I’ve fallen quite behind with updates from this year’s mission outreach to Guatemala. I think it was about the third night that we were in Antigua that it began to dawn on me that I truly wouldn’t have the opportunities I expected in order to quietly sit, reflect and write about what God was doing in and through the teens this year. Where did I come up with that expectation? Granted, this was only the second of these types of trips I’ve been on, but didn’t I learn from last year?!
This trip is nonstop activity! And, as a leader, who’s there to pour into the lives of the teens on his or her team, it starts early in the morning and doesn’t quit until late into the evening. Maybe next year (yes, I’m hoping to go again) I’ll understand.
So, here’s what happened: Each day, after a morning devotion together, 12 teams boarded 12 buses to head out to their designated location; some went into Guatemala City, others drove to orphanages or schools in the high-country villages, and some drove more than two hours to Lake Atitlan where they boarded a boat to take them to one of the villages that surrounded the shore. After 10 days in Guatemala, 400 teens—whose lives will never be the same—were used by God to change the lives of more than 3,000 people!
For our team, one of the last to arrive in Antigua, we were on our way within 10 hours of being at the hotel. After a few hours for sleep, we woke to enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet followed by devotions. Then, after loading the bus and counting off to make sure we were all aboard, we headed out for the small village of Santa Maria.
Large buses and narrow streets make for an exciting drive!
I still don’t know how the drivers do it.
Once the bus was parked, we walked up the main roadway into the village square and met with the principal of a school. Needless to say, he was excited for us to be there—we were going to paint the exterior walls of his building!
Each of the team members grabbed a brush and a bowlful of lightly terra cotta tinted paint and went to work.
And, boy, did they work!
After a lunch break for the first of many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (a staple on this trip) every part of the wall we could reach had a fresh coat of paint.
Now, it was time to play with the kids for the rest of the time we had before we needed to get back on the bus to head back to Antigua.
One of our team members, Andrew, wowed the crowd with yo-yo tricks. Little did we know that Andrew was a champion yo-yoer in his home state!
After we got back to the hotel we headed out near the pool to spend some time rehearsing the “Spellbound” drama.
It had been two days since we last worked on it and it would be two more days before we had a chance to perform it for a group.
Everyone was thrilled with how well they remembered their parts.
After dinner it was time for the first FUAGNEM event (Fired Up And Going Nuts Every Minute) in Antigua! Cotemporary Christian Artist, Jamie Jamgochian got thins started with a few of her songs. Susie Shellenberger then exhorted the entire group to not push the snooze button when God calls in our lives—an important challenge for us all.