guatemala redux (part 5)

Most often, I’d say after three months and five parts, you have to find a conclusion. There is honestly so much more I could share but I’ve lost my voice this last couple of weeks (mostly literally) from this lovely pneumonia-ish thing that’s flung me back with a reminder I’m just not in control. I’ve really felt for those who struggle to breathe due to chronic illnesses or worse. You have my utmost respect for the patience you must find on a daily basis.

But, Guatemala. Last I left you we’d finished our Wednesday and we were hungry for more. Today, I’m going to do my best to limit the words (no voice, remember!) and share photos of what our final two and a half days were like. Honestly, there aren’t enough words in all of ever to talk about Friday or the Saturday morning we departed. That’s what photos are for. So with that, let’s wrap it up.

Thursday morning brought each of us a choice as to how we would spend the few hours we had prior to leading our second bible school. We split almost in half (gender-wise); the guys heading off to a work project to support emptying the bodega and moving multiple van loads of wheelchairs over to a new storage space the H4H team was super excited to have come upon. The women opted to head back to the home to spend the morning with the kiddos. Me? Well, I love a good project and I really wanted to offer the help so I shoved off with the men folk. And because I’m just a little bit immature, I will admit to enjoying watching Mike work. I mean … sorry?

The afternoon led us to our second bible school and after Paso y Paso, we weren’t sure what we could anticipate for round two. The first went so well and the kids were so amazing. The awesome part was that this bible school went entirely differently, but was still just awesome. We were blessed to encounter Jhonatan and Andrea Mendez who operate Ahava Ministries. Our team filled in during their bi-weekly after school program where kids are ensured a nutritious meal, tutoring support and most importantly, the love and Word of Jesus Christ. You could learn more about them here.

What you just can’t interpret from these photos are the stories each of these children has to tell. I thank the Lord in advance for the opportunity to go back in the future and build relationships with these kids; so that they see the love we have to offer isn’t temporary and something they can count on. For now, they have a wonderful team of people committed to doing that on our behalf.

Thankfully, we had a moment to rest Thursday afternoon and catch up. The team sat on the roof as we often do and I thanked the Lord for the amazing display that greeted our chat.

Friday was the hard day. You know that old sermon you commonly hear around Easter that references the fact that it’s Friday, but that Sunday’s coming? That’s how Friday felt. You hang on to hope with everything that you have that the reality of what you’re exposed to isn’t the end. That the story gets better and that ultimately, those people get to claim victory over that situation. But we know what we are faced with in the immediate and we do what we’re asked in the effort of making disciples.

We visited a landfill in Escuintla, Guatemala. It took us about an hour to travel there and the change in temperature was about as visceral as the scenery. We pulled in by way of a pretty difficult to traverse dirt path and were led to a series of cinder block homes flanked by a steaming landfill. Surrounding the homes were children and families and frail animals. Our job that Friday was to assist a team of folks from BuildinGUATE to serve lunch to the community, move some dirt for an upcoming construction project and for Dana (primarily) to run a health clinic.

I’m going to just share a bunch of photos because seriously, words will not ever do justice to what we encountered. But, I do want to take a moment to acknowledge Dana. Dana is a nurse who chose to homeschool her kids for this season. But with her experience and passion, she was the perfect individual to run this clinic. Some of my favorite photos that day are of her as she so gently cared for members of the community; assessing injuries, deciding how to treat and providing advice on how to move forward. I was simply in awe and I know this day was incredibly difficult for her, but she was being nothing short of Jesus and I was so ridiculously proud to have been witness to it.

That evening, we were treated to dinner in San Antonio with the full H4H team. Mike and I had the opportunity to experience Daryl and Wanda Fulp as we hadn’t spent much time with them yet this week. I say experience because you just do with Daryl. I often feel like the Lord finds those people in the deepest trenches and he’s like, ‘yep. you’re that guy. i’m going to use you to do amazing things but you have to share your story, too.’ He did that with Daryl. I assure you. And Daryl is literally the luckiest man alive to have Wanda by his side. She is the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman.

There was no shortage of love the day we left. There was also no shortage of tears for yours truly because I literally exist to keep Kleenex afloat. The Beyer family welcomed us for a final breakfast and we had the chance to head back to the home for a visit with the kids and the Fulp’s.

And then, just as we were due to leave, there was this moment that sealed the entire deal for me. I watched Jen, the consummate ‘mom’, hold Edy, this beloved child the Lord brought to the Fulp family with no promise of just how long he would be a part. As I watched her, each moment and encounter was wrapped up into this precious reminder of what love is and what love does. Because it is 100% without a doubt a verb. And we get the unique opportunity to be a part of it. Amen.

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