Headed home | Hungry For Life
FRC Team Blog:

Headed home

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

This post by Austin

Waking up at 3:45 this morning was bitter sweet. While we are thankful that God has spared us throughout this trip and that we can return to our loved ones, it is always tough to leave a mission project when the need is so great. We pray that God would bless the work that we were able to get done in Membrillal and Zapote, and that it can be to the furtherance of His Kingdom. This mission trip has been incredible, and as a team we can agree that the personal and spiritual growth experienced was significant, and far outweighs any of the time and costs associated with being a part of this journey.

Having a clear picture of a country after only 10 days is very difficult, but we are leaving with a much better understanding then when we arrived on April 30. Looking back on the past 10 days, each member of the team noticed interesting economical, geographical, and cultural surprises.

Being that Guatemala has the largest economy in Latin America, there appears to be a modernization of road systems, shopping centers, and city structure not seen in other 3rd world countries. The people here seem to be resourceful with a great work ethic. Unfortunately like in most developing countries, economic disparity is rampant, and the wealthy get wealthier on the backs of the countries poorest. We seen this in the rural areas we were privileged to visit, where it became abundantly clear how blessed we are back home in Canada.

Driving to and from our various destinations, it was incredible to see how fast the landscape could change. It would go from dry and desert-like, to a wall of green with waterfalls and rivers in the space of a few kilometers. As the entire country is mountainous, the different climates are largely attributed to the significant altitude changes. Guatemala is also host to some of the worlds most active volcanoes. Throughout our trip we would hear the booming sound of minor eruptions and see a plume of smoke snaking its way above the clouds. It is hard to describe just how amazing it was to spend some time near these volcanoes and feel the vibrations as the lava pushed its way towards the surface. On that note we also pray that God will keep the villagers out of harms way, and that if there is a major eruption that the towns will be spared.

It was impossible to miss the chicken busses in Guatemala, as they were found regardless of where we were travelling. These “decked out” old American school busses would be jam packed with people, cargo, and yes – chickens. They are a source of pride for the people, and culturally important. Unfortunately, in the inner cities these busses also come with risk. If the busses travel through gang territory, they are required to pay tolls. If the driver refuses, the entire bus may be subject to robbery and/or violent behaviour. This may be part of the reason we seen so many armed guards and military men throughout the country. The standard security for gas stations, grocery stores, malls, and even parking lots consisted of a man or two armed with a shotgun. Occasionally we would also see the military armed to the teeth with assault rifles. Even though there were these obvious signs that violence was common and regular people needed protecting, never did we feel unsafe or in danger. The team leaders and project contacts were very thorough in making sure everyone was out of harms way.

It was also very interesting to hear about the different mission work going on in Guatemala. We visited schools, churches, hospitals, dental clinics, and mental health centers. It was very inspiring to hear how so many of these projects were able to use the strengths and resources of different denominational mission organizations. There seemed to be a common goal of providing humanitarian aid and preaching of the gospel, and even though the different organizations may have slightly different theological ideas, they were able to find compatible similarities to best serve that common goal.

As a team we would like to give a big thank you to everyone who contributed in any way to this mission trip. There is a lot that goes into a successful trip, and a special thanks to Hungry for Life, Nico and his family, our project contact Tono, driver Rudy, the cooks, and off course all our donors. The gratitude and thankfulness to God from the various families whose lives we were privileged to touch shows how important it is that these trips happen.

And then there is the team. It will be tough to say goodbye as we reflect on the past 10 days. We calculated that we spent about 30 hours crammed together in the van, and you can only imagine the sassing, laughing, and inside jokes that develop after spending that much time together in close proximity. This trip will always have many wonderful memories attached to it; we are so thankful for all the conversations, as well as the personal and spiritual growth it afforded. Above all may God bless us and Guatemala both in this life, and the Life to come.

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