Stephen and I were blessed to join a group from our church on a first time mission to Hope of Life International (Clike here for info) in Zacapa, Guatemala. We had never been to a third-world country. What a life changing experience. You cannot understand "needy" or "poor" until you visit outside the United States- the "poor" here do not even compare. Mainly because of opportunity. In America millions of people rely on the government to feed them, clothe them, pay for bills, even for job opportunities. The people of Guatemala do not have that luxury. I've heard/seen people say/post "They should take care of themselves," I would guarantee anyone with that attitude has not witnessed poverty on this level.
One day we got to do a TOMS shoes delivery (this does not change my views of TOMS shoes, you can read here my thoughts). We pulled up to the village of La Laguna (no running water or indoor plumbing), you would have thought we were celebrities the way the street was filled and cheers erupted when we opened the windows to wave hello. My eyes immediately filled with tears. These people are so excited for a pair of shoes. Plain black, mediocre quality shoes. A pair most kids (and some adults) would scoff at- or possibly wear because of the blue/white label on the back.
Men who serve those that can do nothing in return are REAL men! He's handsome too huh? ;)
|Sharing clean water!|
This is the current church, as you can see around 35 people is a packed house-
Chilhowee Hills Baptist, has partnered with World Help (Lynchburg, VA) and Hope of Life (Zacapa, Guatemala) to do a total village transformation. The first and MOST IMPORTANT is to build a well, with clean water. The water "system" was not put in correctly, the water is mixing with the sewage- making children and people sick :-(
My buddy Alex, in front of the new well site, and where eventually(Lord willing) the new church will go. The well will cost over $15,000 PLEASE CONTACT ME if you are able to donate, completely tax-deductible!
|Some of "our" people!|
The next day we went to a feeding center at a trash dump. These people lived in or right outside the dump, they worked there (picking out recyclables to sell).
These faces are etched in my mind, so beautiful- gracious-sincere. These are the poor of the poor, and yet, like in James 2:5 they are "poor in the eyes of the world, to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom..."
The kids didn't even care- didn't "know better"- they played and laughed- I loved seeing them. Humbling.
|Would you let your kids be here??|
There was so much more to our trip, but it would take hours and hours to record, and most of the pictures are on facebook. Please consider a mission to any third world country, God will provide funds and break your heart in the most glorious way possible. You will see that even though you don't have everything you want...you are blessed with MORE than you need! Your heart will be stolen, just as ours was!!!
PS- In my next blog I will introduce you to Diego!! :-)