Since I fully accepted Christ into my heart in my early teens, I have always felt a call to go into the world and spread his love through works. About 2 years ago I heard about a mission’s trip put on by the Young Adult Missions (YAM) group. I got to not only hear about first hand experiences but also see photos and evidence of the help and love that this team has been bringing to rural Guatemala for the last 10 years. With a high poverty rate and lack of affordable, trustworthy, or available health care, these missions have been able to dramatic help the communities that are not far off the beaten path. This was not an opportunity I could let slip by and saw it as the answer to the call I had heard back when I was younger.
The YAM team provides able bodies to help with Medical, Optical, or construction depending on the make-up of the team. These groups are supported directly in Guatemala by the Salud y Paz organization that oversees and brings in many teams each year to help the people of Guatemala. I signed up for the next year’s trip as soon as I could.
A year later I began the process of raising support and mentally preparing to let the Lord’s will take control. I was able to raise support quickly and for that I am still grateful and also why I am writing this small account of my experience in Guatemala at the beginning of 2014.
The trip spanned from early on January 1st as we left Rochester at 2am until we returned the evening of the 13th. We were a 20-person Medical and Optical team, and soon after entering Guatemala city were joined by 5 interpreters who would help us make it through the week with the native people of Guatemala who mostly speak a Mayan dialect called K’iche.
It wasn’t until the 2nd or 3rd day in Cunen that the subtle differences became apparent between our countries. The life of a Guatemalan is a life full of hard labor, working in fields for 10-12 hours a day with no machines aside from spades and crop knives for only a couple dollars a day. Mothers each give birth to many children and tend to lose at least one of them to things like malnutrition and medical related causes. Homes aren’t much more than concrete slabs with a few walls if they’re lucky…
Another aspect of the trip that surprised me was how our 20-person team, by the 5th day, had become somewhat of a family – each dinner was like a household dinner where we would pass the food around the table and enjoy conversation with one another. The sense of fellowship and the bonds that were built is something I will always cherish. This aspect also helped us work more fluidly together, because within that 5-day span, we saw over 750 patients! Although numbers are not the reason we come, the more help we can give, the more impact we can make.
I was given a cheap guitar for the week to play for our devotions (Since at the church I was a music director for the 11 o'clock service), and halfway through the trip I wrote a song I titled “Little Girl With The Missing Shoes” based on some of the things I had witnessed on the trip. Afterward I was inspired to make a video tribute to not only the need in Guatemala, but also the organization that makes our mission work possible; Salud y Paz. I filmed the remainder of the trip thanks to another member of the team who let me borrow their extra camera and, after returning, turned that footage into a video that can currently be seen in the "Videos" section.
Other than getting a stomach bug, which took me out for a day, the trip was a wonderful humbling experience that helped me put parts of my life into perspective. I thank all my sponsors again for the support and all those who have kept our team in their prayers. After this experience I know I would like to pursue more missions work sometime in the future, but for the time being it has given me a drive to accomplish what I can to help support future efforts in regions like Guatemala and other parts of our planet that don’t have the standards of living we’ve come to take for granted.
Missions Trip To Guatemala