Last day at the Community Center, wow, this week has flown by. What an incredible time we have had with the children, teachers and families of Los Verdes. Even though school is for 3 and 4 year olds in the morning and 5 and 6 year olds in the afternoon, some of the other kids were sneaking in to join in and to help the younger kids. What an amazing example to true community. Families are obviously very close and care deeply for one another. If the kids did not need all their lunch (fortified rice made over a wood stove), they took it home to share with their family. “Hermos y primaros” brothers, sisters and cousins were inseparable at times until they were drawn deeply into the stories of Noah, Jonah and Jesus as told by Josue, one of our Vision Trust Leaders. We played many games this week; we learned some of their games including an authentic piñata celebration and we taught them some of our games like Duck, Duck, Goose or Pato, Pato, Ganzo. Every day we did get in a little football (soccer as we would say). This is a favorite pastime in Los Verdes and the kids obviously start playing at a very young age; even the 3 year olds were making goals fairly consistently!
The laughter from the school caught the attention of all that walked by and there were many. Most people in this little village do not have cars. Some have bikes but most travel daily by foot. We saw men and women caring heavy loads. Several loads of firewood went by each day. The wood was used to cook the daily meals in the cinder block homes with tin roofs. Some women had heavy loads on their head or back while carrying a young child wrapped in a cloth across her chest. I have no idea how far they walked each day. This week one of the 5 year olds could not come because she was working with her family in the coffee field. Another little boy did come; he was seven but this was his first day of school ever. Every child has an incredible story and we (and you) are able to be a small part of that story. Heather, our liaison to Vision Trust, talked to us about opportunities to make a difference on an on-going basis in the lives of these children. All of us are returning home with an extended Guatemalan family member. We are hoping to find friends at home who will join us in sponsoring these beautiful children.
We have studied Acts throughout the week for our daily devotions and we have learned so much from the bible, our group and our Guatemalan friends about living the Gospel. Acts 2:42 says “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, and to prayer.” This week, we have allowed ourselves to focus on what the bible tells us to do. We have focused on teaching, fellowship, sharing meals (sometimes too much!) and prayer. As we reflect on this week, we already know that this will be a significant challenge to do this at home. There are plenty of reasons, many distractions but God’s word instructs us very clearly.
Thursday night we went to Pastor Alfredo’s church. What a wonderful experience to worship with our brothers and sisters in Guatemala. Our warm welcome was incredible. You would have thought we were long lost family members returning home. There was no doubt we were all in God’s family and uniting in His house. Their praise went on for about 50 minute and it was alive!!!! Scripture was read and Pastor Alfredo taught. Prayer and worship were amazing. I sensed just a slice of Revelation 7:9 people “from every nation, tribe, people and language” worshiping before the throne. At the end of the service (1 ½ hours later) we were invited up to the stage to introduce ourselves and tell a little about us. After each introduction (and translation) we received a round of enthusiastic applause and big smiles. Bill summarized our trip and our week and thanked our gracious hosts; everyone in the village that we had met throughout the week. Church was dismissed but most stayed to mingle. Though we could not exchange many words, there was a clear language being exchanged; that of Christ’s ever reaching love. I cannot count the number of hugs and thank-you we exchanged. Clearly God had brought our little group and this little village together to show us His love knows no bounds and needs no words. We were so blessed to be a part of the partnership of CPCC and Vision Trust Guatemala in Los Verdes.