The following post was written by Laura Dunham from The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL. Laura and her family participated in a mission trip to Guatemala in March of 2012.
First, I want to say that God orchestrated a phenomenal team for this trip-including our wonderful translators! God used each of you in different ways to teach us & to grow us in faith! We came home with new, sweet friends-something we didn't anticipate. I cherish the spirit filled, real talks I had with members of the team. So thankful to have been around God seeking people who desire to know Him more and live for Him.
I wasn't sure what to expect on the trip. I knew I wanted to serve- the key word is "I." I did have prayers and hopes for the trip, but wasn't sure how it was going to go. God used the trip to talk personally to me, to confirm some things He has been doing and working on in my life and also to encourage me and confirm me as I parent my children.
We wanted to take the children so that they could be exposed to what we talk about and what they hear preached on Sunday mornings. The boys were resistant to going. At the end of our trip, they didn't want to leave. They now ask "When can we go back?" They want to do it more of it! When I asked them what impressed them the most, they talk about having joy apart from our circumstances and being broken by the pain and suffering they witnessed. When Natalie speaks of Guatemala, she is full of emotion- not only due to what she saw but for the people there. God is developing a heart for the nations in them! I can't wait to see how He grows it.
Personally, I had many moments in which were highlights for me:
-being the recipient of the warm, friendly smiles in the faces of the children and adults I got to meet and talk with
-watching Benji being a part of one of the PE classes, seeing the boys playing with him and the HUGE smile on his face as he played with them (he was scared to go and had been prayed over by his small group before and during the trip)
-meeting Alma and watching how she has adapted and learned to get around in her home despite her physical limitations- and doing so without complaints or a poor attitude, actually with a sweet smile on her face
-playing ball with Mark Antonio; that was really a sweet time. An 18 year old boy, who didn't want the Americans coming to help his family, playing catch with me and his younger brother, laughing and smiling.
-seeing Juan, that father of the large family, laughing with Caleb one day
-food bag deliveries/home visits- watching it unfold, seeing God work, being a participant mostly in observation, praying over women and feeling inadequate to offer up words of encouragement on their behalf but trusting the Spirit to intercede on my behalf for them, loving every minute of it
-Tabitha House- hanging out with so many children who are craving love and attention, not being sure I had anything to offer and then being obedient by sharing some things I don't normally share with a group on women who I can't communicate with, being the recipient of a huge blessing and being able to pray over some sweet women who, more than likely, depend on God in a much more mighty and powerful way that I do
I don't feel like I did much, but I feel like I received so much. I came home heavy hearted. Satan tried mightily to sabotage the intimacy that developed with Christ, the desire to want more of it and the trust that grew over the week. Two kids were throwing up & one had lice. There must be something that went on that God is going to use & is using for His glory....humbled to have been a part of it!