I sit here on a snowy Thursday morning and find myself reflecting on how, just one week ago, several of us from Mt. Haley were experiencing different weather, a different language, a different culture, and a different sense of community.
We as a church have been building up for this Guatemala “Shack Attack” trip for quite some time. We gave over $2,500 toward expenses for the trip and, more importantly, for a house to be built for a family in Guatemala City. We joined hands with a neighboring church, Meridian Church of God, to bring about this experience, in which we shared the love of Christ with hundreds of children and adults and in which we learned a great deal about ourselves and our own way of life. I’d like to share with you a few of the lessons I learned on this trip.
- Though cultures differ greatly, family is universally important. The house we worked on will soon be home to a family of five, and yet it is very small – certainly smaller than our youth room at church. This family will make this newly constructed space their home, and that is quite significant. We also visited the home of a family whose house was built this time last year – a truly beautiful space that has quickly become their home in the past few months. Having a space for families to live life, to build relationships, to grow together – this is a crucial component of life both in the Guatemalan community we visited and for us here in the States. What is your family life like? What space have you created for those relationships?
- Though languages differ greatly, Christian love is universally understood. We saw this lesson most clearly when we attended a Sunday morning worship service in the church just a hundred yards down the railroad tracks from the house construction location. We witnessed laughter, greetings, and hugs among the Christian community there. We participated in tremendous worship of our Lord with familiar and unfamiliar songs sung in Spanish. We experienced a remarkable display of Christian humility through a public confession of sin, and we saw the body of Christ extend forgiveness to those who made that confession. Where do you see Christian love expressed in your life? How would your life change if you saw it more clearly?
- Though personalities differ greatly, relationships are universally meaningful.
Many of the children we met in Guatemala were gregarious, excited to see us, talkative, and very expressive. Some, however, were much more quiet and reserved – like me! While I watched the dozens of children we saw each day, I noticed that some children, just like here at home, tended to be in the center of attention, while others stayed on the edges of the group. And then, on our last day at “the tracks,” two young girls appeared at my side: Andrea and Julia. These two girls, eight and seven years old, respectively, were very shy and not very talkative. But they plopped themselves down next to me and were content just to be next to me or to be held on my lap for the bulk of the day. Who are the “overlooked” people in your daily life? Are you one of them? How can God use your personality to be a blessing to people around you?
Whether in the sunshine or in the snow, whether in 70 degree weather or 20 degree weather, God is at work in people’s lives. I am excited to continue bringing about the kingdom of God in our own community after seeing it at work in Guatemala City last week! Will you join me in our ongoing mission work?