Life Changed By Beautiful Guatemala

Life Changed By Beautiful Guatemala

It is 10:12 a.m. as I sit here in my living room typing on my mac book for the first time in over nine days. My head is heavy from lack of sleep and my body feels a bit tired, but more importantly I feel heaviness in my heart. You see it has been a long time since I have done a service trip.  In fact the last trip I took was in 1996, I just graduated high school and it was a bit different then this trip we just came home from. That trip was focused on preaching and spreading the good news.  As a team member I rehearsed lines to memorize for the play we performed a play that was solely about living a good life or go to hell. Accepting Jesus into your heart to go to heaven or if you do not you will be banished to hell.  Looking bad that makes me sad to think I missed out on so much more, because I was only focused on preaching.

As I sit on my cozy green couch, snuggled up with a tan fuzzy blanket sipping my fresh hot cup of coffee I can’t help but have a smile on my face as I think back on this past trip and the sole mission of this trip. There was no preaching, no trying to change the way people think, there was only smiles given and love acceptance to all who we came in contact.  This trip was simply Families for Humanity, simple as that. What if we can all live our lives like this? Loving people for who they are and not by what they may or may not believe.  I know some may disagree with me and that is Ok, but for me this trip only confirmed to me that my family and I are doing exactly what works the best for us.
It is hard to get back into the realty of life here in the states when you have been so far removed from the hustle and bustle we have created here. Going to the grocery store for milk and eggs this morning I moved slowly down each isle in awe of all that we have here. As I filled my coffee machine this morning I was reminded how easy it was to get running water, I simply turned the facet and instantly clean water was flowing. My mind flashed back to the village we walked through and the long hike I took to go to their water supply. I stood watching a group of women wash clothes and fill up large water buckets in this small flowing creek. After they filled their water jugs they simply put them on their heads and hiked up a long and windy path to bring it back to their homes. Let me just say I did not have a heavy almost forty pound water jug on my head as I hiked back up but I was huffing and puffing from the step climb.

I understood this trip would change me as every trip I have taken in the past has. However this time the goal was to also change my family. Change my kids and as a family give back to humanity together. Before we left I had hoped this trip would affect my children in a positive way. You see we can only say, “Do you guys know how much you truly have? You should be grateful for a roof over your head or running water?” so many times. But this past week they saw first hand the realty of so many. It was tangible, relationships were made and a passion and love grew in each of my kids at different times.

This morning as I take another sip of my coffee I can’t help but hold back tears. This trip was more than I could have ever expected.  Part of my wishes we had done this years ago. Going forward these trips will always be apart of our lives.  It was simply amazing as I watched and listened to each of my children start to “Get it” during different experiences. The bunk bed project really affected one, while the village with no water really spoke to another kid.  That is why we did this that is why we saved for a year and chose to make our family vacation a service trip. It was for those very Aha moments each of my kids had.  It was worth every penny we saved, every dollar spent to have the experiences we had.

As I posted pictures on my facebook page I read so many sweet comments, thank you to those who were supporting this trip by the bunk bed funds or in other ways. But please let me say this, I am not a special person. I am no different than anyone else. I am just a woman who is passionate about the world around us. A mother who wants more for my children, who wants them to grow up loving every human, having real relationships with others and who gives back to humanity.  I believe that is what we all want, right? You see you can do the same; your family or teen can do and experience the same. However your experiences may be different, your journey is only that… your journey.
I am surprised how each trip I have taken has changed my life course. In Mexico when I was sixteen opened my eyes to world travel and gave me a bug to see the world. Africa.. Well I fell in love and was married one year later. Though it has been almost eighteen years in between trips I have always lived my life with the lessons I have learned from my service trips. This trip has changed me and altered my life course in ways I did not see coming. I am already planning on going back to Guatemala in November to bring other moms and teachers with me. There is a little school project I have big dreams for! My thirteen-year-old son is planning on leading a group on teens next July. (I can’t help but smile as I type) He can’t wait to show his friends or team beautiful Guatemala and see their lives change before there very eyes. As a family we will all be back next July bringing other families as well. 

There is so much more to say and process, but I will be blogging more over the next week.  Our meeting with Gabi’s birth family, building bunk beds, holding and playing with the children in the orphanage and so much more. Right now I must finish my coffee and bring myself back into my new realty and begin to write some new goals for the future and get on planning new teams to experience what we have experienced.

What about you? What about your family or Teen? We are not a special family; we don’t have extraordinary talents, just an openness to take a chance on a trip of a lifetime.  All of us are so thankful we took that chance that we were open-minded and each of us has come home changed.
Future Dates:
November: Mother’s & Teachers: November 21st-26th
July 2015: Last Week Of July: Teen Team & Family Teams Forming Now

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