Today was our last full day on mission here in Guatemala which always makes it pretty emotional and bittersweet. Our initial plans to host a fun day at camp for both groups ended up getting changed a bit… which on mission, you learn to roll with it. Instead, the leaders here planned a half day of fun for our team to rest and recoup.
We loaded up the truck as they told us we were headed to a waterfall and swimming hole that was high in the mountains. It was about an hour and a half long ride for us which was a bit interesting in the back of the truck. We had to navigate up some steep roads, but the view and scenery along the way was amazing.
We arrived at a Christian camp called the Mount of Olives. Not sure on the olives part, but it was definitely a hike up the mountain to get to the waterfalls, but boy when we did, the beauty was amazing. We climbed our way up to the swimming hole under one of the larger waterfalls and jumped right in. It was a bit chillier than we expected, but refreshing none the less. We hung out for most of the morning and even enjoyed a picnic lunch.
But we had a deadline to meet, so we hustled back down the mountain to make it to our worksite at 2 pm. It was time to pour the concrete floor for the second story which meant… bucket line! This time, as we pulled up, we were amazed to see how many from the community had gathered to help. Men, women and kids and they just kept coming. Of course, throwing candy out of the truck probably helped gather a few kids along the way.
It is pretty hard work mixing the concrete on the ground – volcano style – which we also do in Nicaragua. But then, the owner of our hotel agreed to bring down his concrete mixer. This made the job so much easier and all people stood around watching this machine work. For us, this was the first time in all of our third-world missions that we have been able to use such a machine. But it made the best concrete and sped up the job considerably.
Since we didn’t get to say our “see you laters” at camp, we walked the road in Limones and got to say some. It was sweet to see the kids at their homes and we had a few tearful “see you laters.” We also got to walk down to a micro-finance project sponsored by Sarai which is a mechanical corn grinder to make tortillas. This is such a blessing to the community and saves a bunch of hard work. It was also neat for us to see the other aspects of the ministry here. They really have a similar vision to ours when it comes to ministry and missions – and that is invest in a community in a way that shows and tells the love of Christ and empowers the people to grow, develop and succeed.
After a few more “see you laters” and hugs, we had to head back to the ministry center and get everything packed. Reality started to set in that this was our last night. But we had no idea what was in store for later.
We did an early pre-dinner team time and then were escorted back to the ministry center. We arrived to live music and a special seating area outside. It was a fabulous last meal with all the ministry and community leaders that we worked alongside all mission attending. We were challenged and prayed over and then given a token on their appreciation. We, too, got to express our gratitude to God for leading us to Guatemala this year and to the ministry and all our new friends for being such gracious and loving hosts. We are most certainly leaving a piece of our hearts down here in Guatemala.
The students are off to bed as I write as we have a 3:30am wake up call. We have to be on the road by 4am to give the travel time needed to make it back to Guatemala City.
It’s hard to believe our time here is almost over. We are so grateful to God for leading us here and giving us this time here to serve and to be blessed by serving here. And we are incredibly grateful to each of you for reading, supporting financially and most importantly praying for us daily.