Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Guatemala: The Ultimate Field Trip

It is a bit of a joke, that a mom who home schools her kids can turn anything into a field trip.  We can justify taking the kids grocery shopping in the middle of the day because it involves math, health (read the labels!), social skills, and even music (who doesn't sing while driving?).

One month ago today, on June 17th, Nikita and I landed in Guatemala for an excursion that was so much more than grocery shopping, but definitely counted as a field trip.

We had signed up for a GoodGoers "Mission Based Adventure", and had chosen Guatemala because we wanted to see the culture of Kimberly's birth parents.

The team we were on was an eclectic one-- our team leader was from Missouri, another member hailed from there as well, a young man from Kansas, another young woman from California, a family of 3 from Georgia and a family of 4 from Texas-- plus Nik and I from Massachusetts...a bunch of strangers brought together by God to spend a week as servants for Manos de Jesus and staying at Monte Flor.

We traveled to remote regions in the back of a truck.

 We painted a house that needed a new coat.  A house that was maybe 8 feet by 12 feet and was one room.  That makes my bedroom bigger than this family's home.

We blew up balloons, brought out crayons, and blew bubbles with children who knew us only as "Gringos".

We went to three of the six Feeding Programs run by Manos de Jesus, so we could sing with the children, play with the children, and help where needed.

We traveled to 6 different homes to help install cooking stoves for 6 different families.  The traveling might sound simple, but it was 20-45 minutes up, down,  and around the mountains surrounding Chichicastenango (and one home in Chichi) the back of trucks...more exciting than the zip line we did on the last day of our trip!

 The flashlights are being held because this woman's small stone home is very dark inside-- only the flash of my camera made it seem so bright.
 The homes were always too small to fit the entire team, so most would play with the children, while a few took turns helping to put together the stove.

Our trip ended with a day near Lake Atitlan, going on a zipline, having lunch out, relaxing,  and packing for home.

So this was our Ultimate Field Trip.  To really qualify as a field trip...whether it be to the grocery store or to Guatemala...something must be learned.

What did Nikita and I learn??

We learned that there is a need.  We did not just read about it or hear about it.  We saw it, and we felt it.  And for just a few days, we tried to meet it.  We tried to be los manos de Jesus.

And while we have come home with memories, with a knowledge of how to pray and support this mission and the people of Chichicastenango, the amazing people of Manos de Jesus will continue to  do their work...

The shoe factory at Monte Flor makes shoes so children can go to school- 50 pairs are given away every Tuesday.

3 feeding programs that each happen twice weekly feed several hundred children each week...and teach them about the love of Jesus.

Teams from all over will continue to travel to also be the Hands of Jesus for a few days.

And Lord willing Monte Flor will soon be providing desperately needed dental care to the people of Chichicastenango.

If you would like to go on the ultimate field trip, check out this website.

Or, see what your church is doing.  The people of Guatemala are not the only ones in need, but it is the area we chose.  For this very special reason:

Nikita might even go back for an entire Summer!

Where will your Ultimate Field Trip take you?

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