This blog post is brought to you by team member Bob H. from Illinois.
My phone rang. My son was calling me. After the usual “Hello” and “How are you?” conversation, he asked me, “Hey, Dad, how would you like to go to Guatemala?” I said, “Sure! Where’s Guatemala?”
Well, I soon found out he was asking me to accompany him and his team from Albany, NY, on a mission trip to a very poor village northwest of Guatemala City named Cruz Blanca. So, I went. Our week was spent building fifty ONIL stoves for people in the village, and I loved it; so much so that I returned again this year for a similar trip.
We worked on stove-building teams of about three to four people, plus interpreters. We really enjoyed working with each day’s team – but I’ll have to admit, my Wednesday team was special. It was family: me, my son, Jonathan, and his father-in-law Stan. Our entire morning was spent constructing three stoves in homes that were essentially right next to each other. They housed a mother, her three daughters, and her six grandchildren.
The grandmother was a happy woman, obviously proud of her children and grandchildren. This matriarch of the family directed the stoves locations and had one of her daughters graciously buy us soda at the local tienda (little convenience shops that are seemingly everywhere). We finished the final stove and gathered to say goodbye. Just then, the grandmother began talking passionately to each of us. It was in Spanish, of course, but I did recognize the word “Dios” and figured out that she was thanking God for what we had done.
As I was preparing to walk away, my son turned to the interpreter and said, “Ask her if there’s anything we can pray for.” The grandmother’s response was to pray for her family’s economy and health, especially the health of her two grandchildren who were having breathing problems, which is EXACTLY what the new stoves will prevent. We gathered in a circle, and Jonathan, with the help of our interpreter, started praying a simple, but heartfelt prayer for exactly what the grandmother requested.
That’s when I just about lost it. I don’t think anybody saw me wipe away the tears with my dirty work gloves, but, at that moment, I was so proud of my son. But beyond that, I was proud to serve with the entire team that came to Guatemala that week.
If anyone reading this is even slightly considering a mission trip or supporting a child financially, don’t hesitate. Do it. You’ll never feel a better sense of satisfaction or reward. Man, am I ever glad I took up my son’s invitation. It was such a privilege to work with an organization like VisionTrust that is doing what Jesus would do if He was in Cruz Blanca. And you know what? I think He IS in Cruz Blanca. And, I bet one grandmother would agree with me.