-Lydia Thomas

In 2013 I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Guatemala with my parents and my brother. I fell head over heels for the people and the culture and vowed to go back as soon as I could. Since that first trip, I have gone on the Guatemala student trip every year.

What keeps me coming back?

I just returned from my fourth trip to Los Verdes.

As I sit here and reflect on these amazing experiences I’ve had, I can’t help but think: What is it that keeps me coming back?

Renewing relationships with the children…

I cannot begin to describe the joy I felt as I received hug after hug from these joyful children who by our standards have no reason to be joyful. It’s a stark reminder to be grateful for what we have and to be joyful in Christ, not in the stuff we have.



Being inspired by the staff…

Every time I leave Guatemala it is harder than the last, and the people I find myself missing are the staff in Guatemala. Not only do the children inspire me, but the people who work day in and day out for these children inspire me. Over the years I have formed amazing friendships with the local people in Guatemala, and the need to grow these relationships pulls me back to Guatemala. The teachers and staff have a passion for Christ and a passion for these children that inspires me to be a better person.

Getting closer to our sponsored child…

My family sponsors Melany, and I return each year to see her smiling face and grow closer with her. We hope to sponsor her brother Angel when he becomes available to sponsor.



Seeing God in action…

In addition to renewed relationships with the people of Guatemala, is the opportunity the trip provides to see God in action.

Teaching Bible stories to kids forces the team to discuss and truly understand the Word of God in a completely new way. It’s one thing to read a Bible story, but to be able to teach it to a child requires a deeper sense of understanding.

Each night the team sits for a debrief. These discussions can be as simple as just talking about what happened that day, but they normally end up going into discussions far deeper than any normal conversation.

These conversations have been significant in growing my faith and really thinking about my faith and Christianity as a whole. I’ve been so blessed to have amazing leaders and amazing team members that allowed for these discussions.

A time to reflect and rethink…

As I enter my Senior year of high school, many decisions are coming my way. The trips to Guatemala have pushed me to rethink what I want to do with my life, and where I thought my life was going. The trips have pushed me to the path of medical missions, and I could not be more excited to see where that will take me. I hope to continue going on trips–to Guatemala and to wherever God leads.