Team: Monument Point Fellowship Church
Written By: Marisa B.
This trip was my first time visiting Guatemala; it was an incredible week full of new opportunities, beautiful people, and precious time spent with God. The prayers of our team this week were for God to move in us and through us while on this journey.
As we arrived in country that Saturday, we first went through the capital, Guatemala City. It was an amazing place that I can only describe as “something you would see in the movies.” Cars, motorcycles, colorful city buses – loaded with people, and all the traffic weaving in and out of each other. As I stare out the window I can’t help but think to myself ‘WOW’ there are a lot of people here. I sat and watched some of our veteran team members catch up with Alejandra, and our driver, Samuel. I loved to see the excitement coming from their faces, just seeing old friends they hadn’t communicated with in a while.
The drive up and around the mountainside was breathtaking. An hour passed and we were finally there! Our team packed five bags of supplies to carry with us, and it wasn’t until we arrived at the malnutrition center where we were serving, that I realized just how precious these supplies would be. The next few days feel like a blur as we seek to acclimate on the first day by going on a fun excursion– and then jump into the challenging work planned for Monday through Thursday! Our team was so eager to get to meet the children we would be serving!
Waking up that first work day, I have no idea what to expect. We walk down the stairs to the main building and disperse to our assigned locations. Some of the men are working with the older daycare group. While others (including myself) are assigned to the younger daycare. Children are dropped off and picked up daily by one of their working parents. This program is special to these impoverished families, as it provides free food, education, and childcare so that mom and/or dad can go to work and provide for their families.
Our remaining team members are assigned to a group called the “Dolphins”. This team consists of children who are institutionalized for a brief period of time in order to receive care for undernourishment. The goal is to nurse these special little ones back to health so that they can return home to their families as swift as possible.
Our daily work involved helping the children with breakfast, brushing their teeth, and assisting in regular curriculum from their daycare program. We all jump right in to help in any area that we can! Brushing teeth, washing hands, cleaning faces, doing crafts, singing, dancing– and all with big brown eyes staring up at you. There is a language barrier, as most of the children speak either Spanish or Kachiquel (the indigenous Mayan dialect), but that is not stopping any of us from expressing love and getting to know our new little friends!
It is so neat to witness the amazing, hearty, healthy hot food that these children get while at the center. For breakfast they have eggs and salsa with homemade corn tortillas, or beans and plantains with bread. And their drink is Atole, a thin drinkable corn drink with fortified nutrients and cinnamon. For lunch the first day they would have a bowl of steaming hot chicken soup with rice and corn tortillas along with fresh juice. It is so cute to see the children devour their food. Most of them require no help from anyone and they give no complaints! At the end of the meal, they even pick up their plates and cups and put them on the cart where they belong. EVEN THE 2 YEAR OLDS!!
Now on Wednesday we were able to experience watching numerous sponsored children and their families receive baskets (large bags) full of food. Rice, beans, sugar, oil, pasta, eggs. We played with the children, while parents received a special training, regarding health and hygiene, and later we distributed the supplementary food baskets. Every single one of the families I met looked at me with a thankfulness in their souls. I have never been around so many people that had such a happy demeanor about them.
Despite their challenging home situations and food insecurity, these families were joyful, kind and humble. My hear was changed and I came away amazed by this experience. Some people that have experienced similar situations may use the phrase “there are no words to explain”, but I disagree. I say God’s Word explains. We are called to love and to receive it.
As I write this, I haven’t yet completed this journey. Our team has one more day with the children we have grown so much to love. I’m not sure how hard it will be to say goodbye, but I know we will have left them with the love of Christ in their hearts.