What I Really Left Behind in Guatemala.
Your word, O LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
When I lifted my hefty suitcase onto the flat, silver scale at the Delta airline counter, the blaring red digital display registered 46 pounds.
Whew! Close. Ever so thankful it was below the 50-pound limit and wouldn’t cost extra bucks to get that thing to my destination – Guatemala – with 29 other members of my church for a short-term mission trip (www.corinthtoday.org).
Three of those days we served in the remote (I say, remote) village community of Villa Hortencia, located nearly 2 hours east of Nebaj, which is approximately 8 hours north of Guatemala City. The mornings were spent resurfacing the basketball court at the school and the afternoons were packed with VBS activities: lively music, animated Bible stories, educational crafts, followed by several hours of soccer, jump rope, hand-slapping patty cake, and endless bubble blowing. It doesn’t take much to produce hearty Guatemalan giggles.
When time came to pack it up and leave the village to begin our return trip, I dug through my belongings and considered:
Do I really need to hang on to those jeans? especially after they’d drawn unsolicited attention from one particular, self-appointed adolescent fashion judge and were characterized as “Mom jeans”? 😳 Fine, then. No.
Must I keep all these t-shirts? Um, no.
Couldn’t I part with my worn, sporty black Nikes? Guess so.
And wouldn’t those who ran the village school benefit from some of the VBS costumes and props? Oh absolutely.
So I left them. And when that suitcase hit the scales in the Guatemala airport on the way back, it registered a mere 17.8 pounds.
But that’s not what I really left behind in Guatemala…
On the Friday morning of our departure, we had time to say our final goodbyes to the village children. I knelt down before several groups of them, returning their toothy smiles, and then, summoning my inner cheerleader, I reviewed the Bible points we’d taught them over the past three days:
Dios provee! (God provides)
Dios protege! (God protects),
Dios te ama! (God loves you!).
Much to my joy, each time I began with “Dios…” and searched their eyes they completed the phrase. The truth of God’s meaty and worthy Word had fallen on their minds and He’d made its imprint on their hearts.
Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Psalm 119:89
~Will one of those Guatemalan boys grow to be head of his family and, when work is scarce, be encouraged to remember, God provides? I pray he will.
~Will any of these children wonder at some point during the upcoming rainy season if God will protect them and their families during those months when the clouds unzip their burden and unload upon their rickety shelters? I pray they will.
~Will one of those little village girls one day become a mom of ten, then discover she has an uncurable disease but find comfort in the knowledge that God loves her ❤️? I pray she will.
While I may have returned to North Carolina wheeling a significantly lighter burden, it heartens me to know that what I really left behind was far weightier than a random collection of cast-offs that won’t assure a kids’ eternal destiny with Jesus.
What weight have you lost lately?