Saturday, March 11
Hey all, Tim here! We have finally arrived in Villa Nueva, Guatemala. Our trip has already had its share of adventure as our 8:42 PM flight was delayed by 3 hours. I’m typing this at 4:30 AM! God has continued to bless our group. Although the delay was rough, it gave us an opportunity to bond and get closer to one another. It also gave us a chance to see just how many groups are going on mission trips this time of year. God has provided for us and we are safe in Guatemala. Please pray for our team to get a good morning’s rest as we will meet the students from New Life Children’s Home in a few hours!
Sunday, March 12
Buenas tardes – Paula here! Today we spent our first full day in Guatemala. We met with our host for orientation and took a tour of the property. The grounds are beautiful and are spread out between a school side and a home side. Later in the afternoon we were able to meet the children, having lunch with them and playing games. The language barrier was challenging, but we are trying, and it feels like we understand each other more through non-verbal communication than the words we may not know. After dinner we played a fun game of 9 Square which was full of laughs and even a little competitive banter – apparently that is possible without fully knowing the language! Please pray that we will continue to find ways to communicate with the kids and that we are able to get good rest tonight as our work begins tomorrow.
Monday, March 13
Hey everyone! Logan here! Today was a really fun day! Emily and I helped teach English to students at school. I have taken on multiple nicknames including the name “Canguro” (Kangaroo) because of my unique style while playing soccer. Today I was talking to one student about Instagram and discussed how I had given up social media for Lent. The teacher of the class started to ask about what Lent was and why I was abstaining from social media. The teacher later told us that she always felt left out because she was unable to fast (for a reason that was not discussed). Throughout our conversation we opened the teachers eyes to a new way of praising God by “fasting” from things that were not food. Something that you can pray for is helping the team and myself be able to communicate to the children despite the language barrier.
Tuesday, March 14
Coby and Trey bringing you our update today! Being in Guatemala has been a great experience so far and the weather has been the best! We have many jobs including painting, staining, or helping to teach English classes. Any time we don’t spend working is spent eating (amazing food and the absolute freshest fruit you can get!) or playing with the kids, which we all love despite the language barrier. We play all sorts of games, especially soccer which the kids demolish us in. There is obviously a very big language barrier, but fortunately, there are a couple of kids that are fluent in English and will translate for us. We’ve have grown so much closer with the mission team and have enjoyed bonding with the kids. Continue to pray that God would work through us each day to impact the kids even when we struggle to communicate.
Wednesday, March 15
Good morning from Tori! I’ve enjoyed being here and connecting and playing with all the kids, and today was a day for the books!! We went downtown in Antigua, starting with a big buffet breakfast along with two museum visits to learn about the history of Guatemala. Two of the kids from New Life Children’s Home, David and Katy, came along with us which made it an even greater experience with many laughs as well. We had a big lunch followed by a shopping trip where we all got to pick up a few souvenirs and see the nicest McDonald’s. We made it back just in time to have dinner with the kids and play nine square. Please keep Anna in your thoughts and prayers as she recovers from an injury.
Thursday, March 16
Wendy Wise here! After our “tourist” day yesterday, we got right back to work today. Coby and Logan participated in several classes in the school, and for the rest of us, it was time to work on our painting and staining jobs. One funny thing has happened: Kendon and Wendy Wheeler (directors) assured us many times that it DOES NOT RAIN in March. Guess what? It does rain in March – Tuesday and Wednesday. Today it looked like a little sprinkle was going to be it, but then while we had “youth group” with all the teenagers this evening, it began to pour! Two of our boys shared their testimonies at the gathering, and both were really special – touched my heart. Please pray with us that some of these precious young people were also touched. By the way, by 4:00 PM, one team had almost finished painting the entire guest house, and the other team had sanded and stained two small bridges and eight picnic tables. Yes, of course its all outside! Hopefully this downpour hasn’t messed up all this work! We have made a lot of special friendships this week, and we feel really blessed to be here.
Friday, March 17
¡Hola from Quentin Smith! Today was our final day of our work projects. I have been on the painting crew along with Paula, Trey, Coby, Ryan, and Logan. We painted the outside of the guesthouse and it looks amazing. The other team wrapped up their projects too; sanded and stained playground equipment, picnic tables, and a couple of bridges. Every day, the children have been so excited and grateful to see us and it has been inspiring to see how happy they are. This evening’s dinner was an emotional one. Not only was this our last meal with the children but they gave us each a picture of themselves and they gathered around us to pray for us. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be on this mission trip, to be able to share God’s love with these children, and to help around the property. Tomorrow we head home. Please pray for safe and worry-free travels. See you all Sunday!
Here’s an extra update from Ryan Alonzo! This has just been truly the best trip of my life. This is the first time I have been outside of the US and the culture at the Children’s home and Antigua is just so fascinating to watch. Seeing how the children interact with me and the whole team and also seeing where they came from before they were sent to the Children’s home is just so inspiring and eye opening. Tonight we had a bonfire to end the week and it was incredibly emotional to see the children saying that they appreciated us coming and hugging us and saying goodbye. Looking back on the week and all that we did this week has been amazing to think about and will stick in my head forever.
Saturday, March 18
Hi everyone! Emily Thompson bringing you your final update! Well, all of the sudden we blinked and now us gringos are back on American soil. This morning we quickly packed up our suitcases and went over to tell the kids one last goodbye. For many of us it was not an “adios”, but a “hasta luego”. After many hugs, we made our way to the airport where we were met with one of the longest security lines I’ve ever seen! Luckily, we made it through without a hitch (or flight delay) and landed back in Dallas at around 6:30 PM. When I think about this week, I can’t help but get a little misty-eyed, the relationships that were built within the team and with the children and staff at NLCH are such a testament to God’s love, which binds all believers together. Because of this cornerstone, we have in Christ all other barriers melted away this week and we shared so many amazing memories with our brothers and sisters in Guatemala!