Friday, July 24, 2009

Never the Same - A Summary of my Guatemala Experience

I am back from Guatemala! Here is one final summary of the whole trip.
First, I’d like to say Thank You a million times to everyone who helped me go!! If it were not for your financial support and prayers, I wouldn’t have had this experience.
The adventure began in Miami Fl. There I got to meet the rest of my team (40 people), and we learned the drama that we would be using during the next two weeks. The drama is called “Spellbound,” and it tells the story of the Gospel. First they cast us in different parts. I was cast as the “Evil Magician,” who represents Satan. It was a very challenging, but very fun part to play. We spent two full days in training, and I loved every minute of it.
We arrived in Miami on Monday, and Thursday afternoon we flew out to Guatemala. It was so exciting to finally leave Florida and begin our real ministry! We stayed in Antigua, a beautiful village about an hour south of Guatemala City. We were privileged to stay in an absolutely gorgeous hotel. We even got to eat at the hotel restaurant for breakfast and supper. The food usually tasted wonderful, but of course there were a few weird things that I decided not to try.
Each day we woke early, ate a nice breakfast and had team devotions. Then we’d load up on the bus and go to our ministry sight for the day. We did the drama at schools, parks, an orphanage and a soup kitchen. Sometimes we would also help out by cleaning, painting, or doing whatever was needed. After we performed the drama the audience had the opportunity to come forward and give their lives to Jesus. It was so exciting to see people ask Jesus into their hearts every time we performed. Afterwards we were able to mingle with the audience, during which time we were usually able to witness to a few more. We also got to play with the children, giving them little toys and painting their faces. They are so precious! Matthew 19:14 - Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
One day we went to a soup kitchen in Guatemala City. While we were there, the First Lady of Guatemala arrived. She told us through a translator how grateful she was for all the work we were doing. Then she invited us to their palace so she could “honor” us. My friend Aubrey prayed for Guatemala with her, in front of the TV, and over the radio that day. The next day our team wasn’t able to go to the palace, but three other teams were able to. While they were there, the First Lady proclaimed every person on the mission trip "Special Ambassadors" to Guatemala! I'm not exactly sure what that means, but what an opportunity to witness to the very government of Guatemala! We were so thankful that God had made such a divine appointment and helped us to have such an impact.
Every night after we got back from ministry, we would have FUAGNEM (Fired Up And Going Nuts Every Minute) service, which consisted of worship songs and an inspiring message. The worship was amazing, and every night I was challenged to go deeper in my faith. FUAGNEM was definitely one of my favorite parts of the mission trip.
Sometimes during FUAGNEM a few people from each team could share something that happened that day. One team shared how they got to pray for a man who was born without a knee cap. After they prayed for him, the man had grown a knee cap and was able to get out of his wheel chair and walk! How amazing!
About 500 teens went on the mission trip. God used us to have a big impact in Guatemala – over 3,000 lives were saved by the end of the trip! But just as important, God used the trip to have a big impact on our lives as well. My heart was definitely touched in a big way. I am thankful beyond words for this experience!
I would ask that you continue to pray for me and all the people who went on the trip. It’s harder to radically live out your faith in the mundane surrounding of home than it is on the mission field. But it’s just as important to be a missionary here as it is across the world, and I know God used that awesome experience to equip me for the rest of my life.
The theme of the mission trip was “Never the Same.” And with lots of prayer and determination, I don’t believe I ever will be.
This is our lovely resort.

Myself and my roomie Heidi in full make-up

I didn't forget to celebrate Independence Day! Me and my roomie Kate. :)

We painted lots of faces! This is my friend Anne with a Guatemalan girl.

A ten-year-old Guatemalan girl - already responsibly working.

My whole team after performing at an orphanage

Here I am with some children from a school where we performed the drama.

Ayiesha Woods and her brother Donald were on the mission trip! They are both so awesome!

Here I am with Aubrey! (Guatemala Missions Trip...09 - blog roll.) She rocks!

This is Lake Atitlan. One day we sailed across the lake to do our drama on the other side.

Here I am atop the ferry that sailed across the lake. It was so fun.

Me with awesome friends Carly and Catherine (Cat was also my roomie!)

Some more awesome friends - Bethany, Ashley (roomie:), myself, and Tyler.

Airplane buddies, Alex and Lydia, on the flight home!


a u b r e y said...

Hey Liberty!

I finally got a chance to update on reading your blog. It's great! The trip was absolutely an amazing experience, and I think in some ways ministered more to me than we actually did to the Guatemalans. What you said earlier about "this is what the body of Christ is supposed to be like" you were absolutely right. I really miss that, and I'm working on bringing it back home. I will continue to keep you in my prayers, I hope you're doing well. Always remember that the God in Guatemala is the same God in America.

Much Love, Miss you!

Nicki said...

Great photos, Liberty. It's fun to see them again. I'm glad you were able to go on this mission trip, and I hope you'll have more in your future.