Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Becoming a More Beautiful You

My daughters Melanie and Lauren on the trip

Last summer my daughter Lauren saw some pictures posted by some missionary friends of ours and called me saying, "Mom, we have to go and help these people!"  So began the planning of my 4th trip to Guatemala.  Through those pictures God planted a desire in her heart.  A desire to go and share the love of Christ with them and hopefully meet some of their needs.  That was what she was able to tell the group of cold, wet dump site workers and dwellers that we encountered on a rainy day a few weeks ago in Chimaltenango, Guatemala.  

The first morning we were able to go to worship time at Gerizim school which is run by the Reynolds through His Appointed Time Ministry.  If you have never worshipped with a bunch of elementary school children who have little or nothing as far as comforts in their lives, it's something that I just could not explain to you here in words.  The raindrops were falling as we gathered outside under a covering and praised God for this blessed moment in time.
Maryorie with the Team
Our Team sponsors her financially at the school

Some of the children praying

Praying for one another.

By the time we left the school the gentle rain was turning into more of a downpour.
I can only tell you that it was by the grace of God that we even made it to the dump that day.  It was pouring rain and the dirt roads looked more like muddy rivers on the way up the  mountain.  Each time I was sure we would not make it through the next bad looking area somehow the wheels just kept on bouncing us closer to our destination.  We had prayed fervently for the rain to subside before we left the school but it soon became apparent that God was making sure we were serious about this portion of our mission.  Would we let the rain deter us or were we "all in"?  Well, I looked at the team and it was clear that these ladies were indeed ALL IN!!  They waded through the water and floating trash to a makeshift shelter where they endured heavy smoke and flies in order to share a message and our purpose.  They stood in the rain and distributed food, first aid kits and other items that we had acquired through financial donations.  A few of the young guys there seemed distracted and were laughing during some of the lesson.  When asked what they were giggling about they replied, "It's like Christmas!"  So what looked at first to be a lack of interest turned out to be an inability to contain their excitement.  In retrospect of this part of the mission I'm not sure how much of an impact we made on them, but I know that they made an indention on our hearts that will always be there.  To see them smile in the face of their adversity if only for a moment made the whole trip worthwhile.  Our time there was short but rewarding.


And more trash
Day two was our most planned for day.  This day was to be spent with a group of 10-16 year old young girls who we invited to come up to the Restoration Center where we were staying.  The city of Chimaltenango is known for its prostitution houses.  From the first time I went there I had a desire to reach out to young girls and hopefully touch this high risk group with the love of Christ.  So the day was titled "Becoming a More Beautiful You."

2 of our little beauties!
This day was sort of a Queen Esther day complete with a banquet for the girls.  First they did crafts and had their hair cut and fixed.  Their nails were polished and they were crowned with tiaras.  Now I can tell you that none of these beautiful girls needed any beauty treatments but neither did all the pretty girls rounded up for the king in the book of Esther.  The girls learned that being beautiful wasn't really about their outward beauty and that if they believed Jesus is King and they are daughters of God then they were indeed already a princess and that their actions should reflect that.  We had so much fun spoiling them and showering them with little gifts.  It was another day etched in our hearts and minds forever.


The Team with all the girls.

Studying in their new bibles

Doing some crafts
Now day 3 fell on Sunday.  We were honored to be asked to give some testimonies in a local church that morning.  What a special time for us.  That afternoon we distributed food to some of the neediest people in the church and left bibles and other things for the pastor to dispense as he saw fit.  We also had supper served to these families and they heard more testimonies from our group.  They were a joy to worship with.  

Melanie gets a hug from a grateful family!

Some of the people enjoying their meal.
After months of planning and organizing the trip was coming to an end.  We accomplished all that was set before us but this hopefully is not where the story ends.  We may never know the lives that God chooses to change because we are obedient to His call.  I do know of 12 lives that will forever be changed though.  9 wonderful ladies and 2 daughters who said yes when I asked if they wanted to go on a mission to Guatemala.  What a wonderful display of courage as 11 brave souls trusted me to lead them to a 3rd world country and back without even the slightest hesitation.  Well honestly I guess they trusted God to get us there and back and I just went along to be bossy!