What a week! I have officially finished my first week of the internship at Iglesia del Camino! It's been crazy! Grace (the other intern) and I have to walk to the church each morning at 7:15. We then work hard all day with the teams on various projects. When we return back to the church after the days projects are through, Grace & I (while the team rests) begin to cook dinner for everyone. We serve dinner and clean up. We are usually not back home until 8:00ish. It's a long day, made even longer by the rude awakening from Mr. Rooster at 4:00a.m. EVERY SINGLE MORNING.... it's like clockwork! I can't figure that guy out! But even with the long day, nothing compares to the joy of knowing that we are working in God's will.
On Wednesday and Friday of this week, we took the teams to 4 different public schools that were in the "country side" of Guatemala. On Wednesday we also helped with a feeding program in a small town.
This feeding program is for children who live nearby that are extremely poor.... the lunch that this program provides to the children is (in most cases) the only "healthy and complete" meal that these children receive all week. Over 200 children come (by themselves without parents). There are a few mothers who volunteer to help cook and to help serve the food. The team and us leaders came to relieve the women and to love on the kids.
I found a spot next to a little girl name Jessica and began to talk with her. She was busy coloring a page from a coloring book.... using only the yellow crayon and not staying in the lines at all. She informed me that she was 10 years old and pointed to her other siblings. She was the oldest. Her clothes had holes in them and were noticeably old and dirty. I continued to make "small talk" and reminded her (the teacher in me) to write her name at the top of her paper. She returned a stare that spoke novels. Not only did she not know what I meant by that statement, she had no idea how to do what I had asked. Jessica, at 10 years old, has never been to school. The school in her area is free, but Jessica's parents cannot afford the $8 for uniforms and books. This is the sad reality for hundreds of children in Guatemala. I guess when you are worried about survival, "education" is not the highest thing on your list.
I wrote Jessica's name on the back of her coloring page and explained to her what it was. She grabbed a new crayon and wrote over my letters. She continued to re-write her name (forming many of the letters wrong and inconsistently) until she filled the whole page. She did not stop continually to show me and gain my verbal praise. She wasn't working for any type of reward or affirmation. She was just desperate to know....
**Here is a picture of the feeding program!
On Friday, we went to 2 public schools in the country. Neither of these schools have ever had a missions team visit. They both go unnoticed for the most part.... no one care to deliver the gospel of salvation to these people who are so desperate for a savior. The families of the students at these schools live on less that $2 a day, on a good day..... for the entire family. Keep in mind, these families usually consist of at least 7 people. Can you imagine supporting your entire family on $2 a day? I guess that "2:30 Diet Dr.Pepper" would have to be cut! The students at these schools wanted to be there. There "school building" was just a square, one story building in the middle of farmland. There are only about 6 classrooms that are empty except for the desks.
We had an event at the second of the two schools about drug awareness.... almost everyone of these children are affected by drug and alcohol abuse in someway; either they are directly involved, have a parent who is involved, or someone in their family. It is so sad to watch people try and find meaning in things that will never satisfy; deal with guilt that has already been paid for, numb pain that someone is begging to take away....
A HUGE man gave his testimony followed by a few others from our team. A lot of us who were there have either been involved with drugs or have been affected by someone else's drug or alcohol abuse. It was moving and powerful. As anyone who is affected by drugs knows, this is a hard group of people to reach.... and I know that God was present in this place working in the hearts of these teenagers. I pray that these kids allow God to come fill that void... He filled mine!
**Here are a few pictures! The first is of a child washing clothes directly outside of the school yard. The second is a picture of the basketball court/classroom at the school.... please notice the cows! The third is a picture of the students standing to hear the speakers.... yup, they are standing outside in the Guatemalan heat for 2 hours... no complaints!
On Saturday, Grace and I went to the market with our Guatemalan family! We bought fruit and vegetables! When we got home from the market, Grace and I decided to go for a walk! It was literally pouring down rain, maybe a monsoon ;), the entire time! It sounded lovely! Rain is just so cleansing! We then had a bar-b-que with out Guatemalan family for Father's Day!
Sunday, I was SO blessed to have the chance to spend the afternoon with Layla, Olivia, and Elisabeth! Layla is a doctor and is Pastor Saul's husband; this is the family that Lakewood works with and the people that I served with the first week I was here. It was SO wonderful to see them.... I have missed them! Layla gave me some great advise and God's calling.... and she prayed with me. Spending the day with them was just what I needed and God used them to put a peace in my heart. What a beautiful and Godly family....
John 17:18 "As you have sent me into the world, I have sent then into the world." -Jesus
Church today was about darkness and how darkness strengthens us and teaches us to walk by faith. Perhaps this is why the people of Guatemala, those who do know Jesus, have such strong faith... they walk through a lot of darkness. They are desperate for God and not ashamed to scream out to Him. They are able to persevere through hard times because they have had faith in darkness and have been mad strong... Guatemala is not their home anymore that Georgia is mine; this is not our home. :) What a joyful thought in the midst of poverty.