Guatemala Mission Trip
June 25 – July 3, 2011
There were many aspects to the Guatemala mission trip. First was the long-range
planning and fundraising that preceded the actual mission trip. Then there was the
excitement of going to Guatemala a country where most of us had never been. We had an
opportunity to see and experience a different culture and learn about the Mayan people.
We went to be of service to Salud y Paz that provides dental/medical care to the Mayan
people as well as a K-2 school. Through our labor as a construction team we helped
Salud y Paz increase their capability to better provide services to their patients. Members
of the team are always encouraged to take opportunities to interact with those that we
have come to serve. I must say that our team was not shy about playing with the school
children, bargaining with the local sellers of crafts, and getting to know our
guides/translators. It is amazing how much fun one can have on a mission trip. Did you
know that you can find humor in sifting sand or that there is humor in forming a bucket
line to transport buckets of concrete? It is also a time to learn new skills and an
opportunity to try something that you did not think that you could do. Not every job was
hard labor as the staff at Salud y Paz needed help in organizing supplies, many of which
we had brought with us, and helping with the disposal of outdated medications.
This was an opportunity as well to develop deeper bonds with our fellow team members.
With no radio, TV, or telephones to interrupt it provides for the chance to communicate
on a personal level. We shared meals together and the conversations were rich with what
we had seen and had done. This experience carries over to our evening devotional time
when we share a devotional and talk about the events of the day and our experiences. We
talked about where and how we saw God that day. Through these and other experiences
we continue our spiritual journeys.
This mission trip provided a number of opportunities to visit interesting and culturally
rich destinations. While construction was our mission we combined that with exploration
of a beautiful but poor country. Market day in Chichicastenango a Mayan city was
incredible. The Spanish Colonial city of Antigua is beautiful and worth another visit. We
got to know Panajachel on the shore of Lake Atitlan rather well, as that was the
community that we stayed in while working at Salud y Paz. Lake Atitlan provides a
beautiful setting surrounded by inactive (I hope) volcanoes. The sum of the experience
was incredible both with the projects that we worked on and the sights that we got to see.