An Experience Of A Lifetime

11707523_10205659837147587_7888750578414982962_nAnd, I’m back from Guatemala! Wow, what an experience. I am not exaggerating when I say that this trip was one of the best weeks of my life and I highly recommend a similar adventure to everyone. Sure there were ups, downs, and all-arounds, but that’s what makes it all so amazing. You learn a lot about the world, life and of course, yourself. Luckily for me, I had my travel journal to document each and every day. When I would sit down to write at night I just couldn’t help myself. The words would pour onto the pages.

Some of my entries were more serious in nature, exploring questions and interactions that I had. And then, as I scroll through the pages I also see quotes like “drop it like it’s hot” or “the globe is still round” scribbled down. Such great reminders that even when you work hard and don’t sleep all that much, you can still have some fun!

11794389_10152874778570683_42298003221812590_oLooking back on my journal I am most surprised by how much my perspective changed in less than one week. On our flight to Guatemala I kept thinking that when I arrived I would feel sorry for the children that I was about to meet. I thought I would want to bring them home. Love them. Expose them to life in the U S of A. Now that I am back on home soil, I can say with certainty that I have an entirely new outlook. I now realize that even though those children live in a much different environment, they are truly happy. They take the hand that’s been dealt to them and make the best of it.

If anything all the kids needed was a little bit of love and attention and I am grateful that in just a series of days we were able to give that to them. They don’t need fancy clothes, iPads, or a lot of the other things that money could buy them. Instead of arriving with massive suitcases of “stuff” we spent our time helping the kids find Jesus, understand compassion, and feel truly cared for. Focusing on human connections and a greater purpose brought us all so much closer together. Walking away from it all I feel accomplished, and I think I have a perpetual smile on my face.

It’s really amazing how much of a difference just four days can make.

11817262_10205795441097601_3812254524765026457_nWhile my time in Guatemala was short in the grand scheme of things, I am lucky to leave with memories and new insights that will stay with me forever. As you can imagine there is so much more to share, but for the time being I will leave you with a few themes that have been top of mind for me …

  • God revealed to me that people are happy. All they need is love and a bit of knowledge
  • I can’t fix everything nor should I try
  • Things are just things
  • I am blessed with what I have and now I need to figure out how I can use them to further God’s kingdom
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff
  • Appreciate family time
  • Life has a hierarchy. God first, spouse second, children third, family fourth and work fifth

As a result of this whole experience I have a greater awareness of the world, am more appreciative of what I have, and feel excited to share my stories with others. Thanks to all of you to allowing me to do that! And, a huge thank you to my family for making this trip possible.

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3 thoughts on “An Experience Of A Lifetime

  1. Tina thanks for sharing. I’m so proud of the woman that you have become! And so happy that we are family 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. “Drop it like it’s hot!” bwaaahahahaha… oh man…. that made my night! it really was an awesome week and I totally concur – what we think makes us happy really doesn’t: These kids were thrilled with fingernail polish and a few tosses of a baseball. You’d see 7 year olds – often shoeless – caring for 5 year old or 2 year old siblings – carrying them on their backs, sharing “Guati GoGurt” – that ketchup packet – and even digging and carrying concrete at the work site with a smile. I think bringing them here would ruin them… They’d end up watching the Kartrashians or something…
    Our garages are bigger, nicer (paved floor, wired, secure doors…) and cleaner than their homes. They have no social safety net, ours has become a hammock. We take for granted things they can’t even conceive of… Yet they are content, at peace, and simply searching for connections and probably wondering how and why we ever found their village.
    It was awesome to see our group react and interact through each situation.
    … peace out… LOL…
    -Jeff (Jefe)

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