Coffee at the restaurant down the hill and across the street from the Impact Ministries guesthouse.
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
I wish you were here to see the students interacting with the school children and giving heart and soul to this Mission trip. You would be so proud of them. Their faith has grown and matured in the last few days and they have had some grim encounters with the harshness of life over the last few days. They have prayed for children in the hospital who are sick and not expected to recover. They have prayed with children who are hungry and undernourished. And the most fascinating thing is that our students have received as much love and support as they have given. They are astounded by the dynamic faith of the Christians in Guatemala.
As I write this blog, I can see the students leading an afternoon of VBS. One group just led the kids in singing, “Our God is Greater, Our God is stronger.” You should hear them sing. It is so loud that it is almost deafening. Another group is working on a Bible memory verse with a group of 15 students. They are learning the verse in both Spanish and English. There is a group playing “What time is it, Mr. Wolf?” The laughing and screaming is intense – and that includes our students. One group is doing a word search and creating a craft. Others will present a short skit and others will lead in worship.
It is overwhelming to watch our students as they engage with these children. It would make you weep. As I hear them pray, their thoughts are compassionate, sincere and mature. They are truly learning to be missionaries. The RCS students are eager to share their testimonies and their faith in Jesus. I wish you were here to witness all that I see. Thank you for allowing your students the privilege of participating in this trip to Guatemala. They will come home having grown in faith and maturity. They are remarkable young people. I am immensely blessed to be a part of this trip.
Playing English skills card games. “How’s your hand, Cam?”
This morning we had the chance to join an English class at one of the 10 (I think) impact ministries schools. During this time we got to play games with some grade 3’s & 5’s which helped them learn their “be” verb forms. Mr. K and I were partners for the first game and we lost all 3 rounds against the Guatemalan students… the game was in English… they speak mostly Spanish… we speak English… we lost… three times. After that embarrassment we had the opportunity to join the students in a recess time game of soccer (fútbol) and this was very fun but also very chaotic, there were 3 different games going on at one time so I just had to remember to follow the blue ball and hopefully not pass to the other team. My team suffered a 4-0 blowout. After this embarrassment our team went to day 2 of our VBS at a different school in the Tactic area. Today I was on the team for the memory verse, nothing special happened until the end when one of the jr. high student-helpers offered me a cookie. Rule #1 of Guatemalan culture is, “if someone offers you something, even if you think that you are well fed and they might not be you take that gift. They are pouring their heart out for you and if you decline their gift you are declining them” so naturally I thought “oh I bet she would like this cookie more than me” and I forgot rule #1 and said “no.” The moment I said no I felt like the room went silent and I realized my grave mistake once she said “*upside down question mark * por qué no? (why not?)” Once she said this I felt so guilty after that because I had just denied this girls gracious generosity. After my screw up and the great VBS we got to play fútbol with some local Guatemalans who were much better at soccer than I. After dinner we went to a prayer meeting at another school which doubles as a church. Now at the start I wasn’t really into the whole thing because there were people shouting their praises and prayer to God, there were dogs barking from the houses surrounding, there were loud cars and truck passing on the busy street below, and there were many more distractions. So for most of the time I was just sitting and trying to pray but I ended up being too distracted until near the end the pastor told everyone to find someone to pray with. The man that was sitting next to me tapped my shoulder and put his hand out to me, I didn’t know his name or even the most basic information about him but I figured, “God knows what this man’s needs are so I will just ask that God will grant these”. I did not expect for this moment to be so emotional because I didn’t feel like I could have much of an impact on this man because I don’t know anything about him. But now that I am reflecting on this I think that the power in the prayer wasn’t me helping God help him I think that the prayer was more powerful for me because it gave me the opportunity to talk to God from a new perspective. I spoke to God on someone else’s behalf rather than just my own and that really impacted me. I am very thankful for the opportunity to be on this trip and I hope that I have more times with God like this. Thanks Grand Queso for letting me write this down.
The past few days I have been introduced to a new way of life. Guatemala is like a completely different world compared to Canada. The people here are very special they are one of a kind. It has been an amazing experience. Today I got to help students practice English at a school. It was really fun. We worked with grade 4, 5, and grade 6 students. Three girls in grade 6 came to sit down with Mr. K and me. We played a version of Go Fish where you ask a question in English about clothes and try to collect 4 cards. We were done early so i got to practice my Spanish speaking skills with them. One of the girls was around the same level of English as I am – Spanish may be a bit better. She would try her best to speak English to me and I would try to speak back to her in Spanish. I actually was able to carry a decent conversation with her in Spanglish. We had a translator near-by but I didn’t really use her. Mr K felt left out because he couldn’t pick up any words in Spanish. He just sat there confused. [editor: 16 year-old Sam had all the attention from these young ladies for a different reason I think!] This was probably one of the highlights of the trip so far. Today at VBS I was at the games station and I tried my best to communicate with the kids. The kids didn’t care if i could barely talk. They laughed and had a good time from my wild gestures. They soaked up the love from us. What really touched me was that a couple of the kids remembered my name from yesterday and I couldn’t remember theirs, only their face. That means I was a big deal to them. It was so touching being able to put a smile on the kids face’s. One of them had scratches on his face and a scar on his body and I think that someone might have hit him. I don’t fully comprehend the impact we make on these kids lives. It has been an eye opening and awesome experience in Guatemala so far.