Guatemala Day One
By: Kristen Oliver
First of all I want to apologize for taking so long to write my next post. Life is crazy busy right now! (Can you relate?) Between being out of the country, being very sick, birthday parties and the 4th of July, I have barely had time to catch my breath. All the while I have been taking down notes whenever ideas hit me to write about. Although I haven’t written a post in a few weeks, I have a lot of good stuff to share coming up.
Many of you know I recently went on a mission’s trip to Guatemala with my darling husband and about 22 other people. The purpose of the trip was to work with Impacto Ministries. We served in San Juan, Guatemala at Happy Tummies, with the Abuelitos and elementary aged children. We also joined some of the Impacto staff on home visits, and helped build a house for one of the families in the community. The goal of Impacto is, “to get the word out into the community that something good is going on and somebody is here who cares.”
As you can imagine there is so much I could share and I’ve been debating how to share my experience in Guatemala. What I would like to do is simply share my heart, which will be in the form of journal entries and devotionals from each day and tons of pictures!
Day One 06/16/17 Devotions on the plane (without my study Bible…ahhh!) 1 Timothy 5 -“…give the enemy no opportunity for slander.” (vs. 14) -“Keep yourself pure.” (vs. 22) Dear God, I pray that during this time you would allow me to speak words of encouragement and truth. That nothing could be used as an opportunity for slander or misuse and that I would be pure in my speech and intentions. In Jesus name, Amen Last night I put Landon to sleep and he has been asking for weeks when Mike and I were leaving so he could go on his trip with Nana and Papa. I reminded him that in the morning mommy and daddy where leaving for our trip and he started tearing up and getting sad and asked me to stay with him till he fell asleep. Landon is so big and strong and independent during the day and at night he loves to cuddle and be with mom and dad. I stayed in his room for 30 minutes and as soon as I left, he walked right into our bedroom and laid down on the mattress on the floor (he has been doing this for almost 2 years!) Lucas slept till 1:30am in his crib and then he got out of his crib (been doing this for about a month!) and in bed with all of us! I have to say, I enjoyed the extra cuddles, although it was hard to sleep! We got to the Tampa airport at 6:30am and our flight didn’t leave till 8:30am for Miami. Once we landed in Miami we had a 2 hour layover until our flight to Guatemala at 12:25pm. We had about a 30 minute delay on our flight leaving Miami because the President was landing in Miami at the same time we were trying to leave! Since that was happening the whole airport had to stop what they were doing until further notice. Luckily it was only about a half hour delay. When we were taxiing on the runway we saw the Air Force One plane, so that made the extra waiting time worth it!
Maria was visiting her family in Guatemala. She spoke broken English and I speak 10 words in Spanish and even with the language barrier we talked and enjoyed each others company.
We landed in Guatemala City at about 3:30pm, by this time I forgot we also had a 3-4 hour bus ride to Impacto Ministries, or so I thought. The bus ride ended up taking about 5 hours. This in and of itself is not horrible, however for a good portion of the ride, in the refurbished school buses, we were on the side of a mountain going up very steep inclines. If anyone knows me they know I have a hard time driving in Tennessee in the mountains, so Guatemala was that but much more intense and long! Needless to say, my music, essential oils and prayer were my best friends the entire trip up the mountain. And is it a coincidence that the first song that came on, as I’m clutching the seat in front of me for dear life and closing my eyes so I don’t see how close to the edge of the mountain and that we are parallel with the clouds, was called Mountain by Bryan and Katie Torwalt? It was exactly what I needed to hear. At that moment God told me, “Kristen don’t worry I am with you there is nothing to fear, I control the mountains and valleys.” Cue a deep breath and release of immense stress and worry over the fact that I had NO control over that situation, except to cover that trip in prayer. I know a lot of my family and friends were praying at the same time and I have to tell you, THANK YOU, they were felt and needed.
The view of Lake Atitlan from our room
The Promised Land
Dinner: Guatemalan style chicken, rice, guacamole, papaya, butternut cinnamon squash and bread.
This is just a snapshot of day one. What I am discovering as I revisit this journal entry, is even from the first day of travel, prayer was the central theme. This theme of prayer continues throughout the rest of the week, in an even more powerful way! Stay tuned for more journal entries from Guatemala to learn about this beautiful country, how God is working over there through the people, and how he used our team and is continuing to do so back home.
Have you ever been on a mission’s trip? What was the hardest part, physically or emotionally? I would love to hear about it.