2017 Guatemala Mission Trip
Two weeks ago, a group of thirteen 11th and 12th graders and their adult leaders traveled to Guatemala. There, they served alongside Faith Project International — the mission organization started by the Cowherd Family. While in Guatemala, our team worked with the local village to build almost twenty stoves, enabling safer cooking and living conditions. Here are thoughts from some of the participants:
Hannah Loper, 11th Grade Student
The first time I went to Guatemala I was thirteen years old and it completely changed the path I then took, it opened me up in to a person I never knew I could be. It taught me how to be a good person who learns from others and the experiences around them to create a better future for themselves and others.
Now four years later as I start to apply for colleges, I had almost lost that person that I had become. I was going to go to college to be a producer — I had it all figured out, the college, the connections. I was going to buy into that American dream and new world idealistic life style, not that being a producer is evil, but I was ignoring a part, a large part of who I was. I was going to give in to something that seemed easy according to the circumstances and what everyone thought would be easiest for me to do with my future. I was going to completely leave behind that person who pushed me into helping people on plenty of different mission trips in different communities. A person who had hopes of becoming a pastor and joining Campus Crusade to put the gift of writing and speaking God had given me back to him in all that I did with my life. I was going to forget that person’s purpose.
Now I share this because I want people who are questioning going on this trip to realize it’s impact, that one stove can change at least fourteen different lives the moment it is completed. But the way that it changes you and how you go into your future impacts dozens of more people along the way, by the stories you will be able to tell and the type of person you will become.
This leads me to the second time I went on this trip to Guatemala, right before my senior year when my college applications were just around the corner. Every single second of the trip I wasn’t able to think of a future, a future with out the mission work that was laid before me and without the happiness of the people I spoke to while I was there, my soul felt like it was at home. For the first time in four years I saw the world the way God had been trying to make me see it, and what part I played in it.
Like any time you’ll read a mission experience, my life was ultimately changed, but not just once but twice by this trip, there’s something about it that sets it apart from the rest. It has the ability to make you question yourself of course, but also what the world back home is lacking. Which is a pulling back from the thought of self and a pushing forward of the importance in community. That there’s truly more to the world then what we have structured it to be and how we live our lives either helps that structure or crumbles it and allows for the realm of extreme possibility to take hold of your future and the others around you. So you can truly pursue what will not only make you happy but what can also help others find happiness. This notion made me take hold of a different future where once I recognized it an unending line of possibilities began to fall in my lap, and I can earnestly say that there will be a third time I go to Guatemala and it won’t just be for a week.
Emma McClane, 12th Grade Student
Throughout our week of adventures in Guatemala, including fiascos with American Airlines and our never-ending supply of delicious corn tortillas at the mission house, the most important aspect I came away with was the importance of community. In a place where losing 5 of 15 children before their 5th birthday isn’t all that surprising, you would think that would take a damper on their attitudes or put a strain so taxing on them that they recoil into their own world. However, that’s far from the case.
These people were joyful and loved one another. They would do anything in their power to help out another person in their community, even if that meant hauling a heavy metal stove across town. Not only did they show love to one another, but they wanted to give us giant gingos a hand up as best they could by pitching in to help us build the stoves and providing what we requested with no hesitation. That sense of community and wholeness that the village in Quiche showed us is something I hope we take back to the states and value with a new respect.
John Shughart, Adult Leader
I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to lead as an adult on this year’s MLT trip to Guatemala. It was a true blessing to observe our Youth Group in action as the Hands and Feet of Christ. The Youth have so much potential and investing in them to be able to go on trips like these can have such a huge impact in our Church and the World.