Well, after our special send off and our ‘see you laters’ we did our best to get some rest, knowing our wake up call would be early… like 3:30 am early. We had to be up and loaded at 4 am to head back to Guatemala City. That’s just how traffic rolls in third world countries.
Thankfully the journey went a little faster on the way back into the city than we when arrived and travelled out. I’m sure being exhausted and sleeping for a couple hours of the ride helped. Some of us did get to see an awesome Guatemalan sunrise on our last day in country. And then the beauty wore off as the gridlock increased. It’s hard to imagine so many cars on the same road on an early Saturday morning.
But we made it to the city and were treated to an amazing breakfast at San Martin. We all most certainly over indulged a bit on our last meal in Guatemala. But we did finish in time to have a little shopping at one of the local markets. It was so funny to see nearly the same items we see at the market in Nicaragua, just with Guatemala on them. But we each found a few things to bring back to remember our time in Guatemala.
From there it was on to the airport and before you knew it, we were boarded and ready to fly back to the US. Most of us were spread out which gave us some neat opportunities to share what we were doing and share the hope we have in the Gospel. Some of us struggled more than others – especially if we were nestled between two Spanish speakers. But we all did our best and also caught a bit more rest.
With the travel time and time change, we were back in the US around 5 pm. We were welcomed back with what it seems the US is great at providing… long lines. It took us nearly 2 hours to go through passport control, immigration and customs. We watched a few other mission teams scrambling and pray that they made their connecting flight.
Being welcomed back into the US ushered in the other reality that we had forgotten about… cell phones. We went from 11 days of face to face eye contact and great conversations to only seeing the top of people’s heads. It was a sea of people, herded like cattle in lines… all face down in their phones.
All in all, coming back is a bittersweet time. Each and every year that we launch out we face a bit of the same feelings… glad to be back to our lives and families here in the States, but also leaving a piece of our hearts behind. This year was no exception in Guatemala. We made some great friends, had some great ministry experiences and saw our hearts transformed in powerful ways by the Holy Spirit.
But one thing we say every year… just because our time in Guatemala is over and the mission is over for this year… we know that the mission never ends! God has more work for us to do! We long for the day when every nation, tribe and tongue has the opportunity to know of the life-transforming work of the Gospel!