I can say, without reservation, that this been the most extraordinary summer of my life.
The red lines show our paths driven…
The blue are the paths flown.
One of the high points our summer travel was our mission experience to Guatemala. I went there to serve with members of our youth leadership team and my own older sons, Ruben (12) and Milo (11). We joined with larger group from Texas Covenant churches, including Life Church (Fort Bend), Access (Houston) and Redeemer (Carrollton).
This trip was every bit beautiful, grueling and life-changing. I wish you could have gone with us! We served by helping the outreach of a church that serves in an agricultural town called Patzicia.
Our experience was organized by Covenant Merge Missions. What is distinct about Merge is that our team was not housed in a hotel or hostel. Merge went the extra to connect us with local families who took us in for the week. This is an amazing way to get to know the real culture of Guatemala and to learn about the people.
Some of our work was helping bless local families with construction projects.
These were families or individuals in the community who were in need and who the church identified as outreach.
By our actions, our words and mostly our love, we ministered to those we served and left (hopefully) lasting impressions of the Kingdom of God among them. As I prayed with the family at our worksite, I reminded them that Christ is right now building us a home and when he’s ready to have us, he will return and gather us together.
We also participated in several local outreaches to children and youth.
I have a wonder if someday I’ll be watching the Olympics and the Guatemalan Women’s basketball team will be playing and one of their players will say they were introduced to the game at a church outreach…
One of the most challenging moments of the trip were with the home visits. Here we went in small groups to visit the poor and often forgotten. The local church there, inspired by Merge, reached out to homebound elderly with supplies of food and encouragement.
We sat with them in their humble “homes” and shared the gospel, prayed, worshipped and even broke bread with them. Inside, were some of the most humble living situations I’ve ever seen (and I grew up very poor). But outside their door was some of the most beautiful vistas and mountain landscapes you could ever imagine. What a contrast.
Overall, I believe we made an impact in that town that rarely sees North Americans walking their streets. But I also see the impact in my life as I was stretched to experience a measure of God’s grace that I rarely reach for. I think of the 45 minute conversation I had with a women who spoke no English. I speak a small measure of Spanish but I can hear it pretty well. We negotiated in conversation for while sharing our stories and praying together.
I wondered… Will I be as patient, as diligent to connect with people from other cultures around me when I’m back in Round Rock?
Oh, and we saw an active volcano eruption.