This summer, Lydia T. traveled with us for her fourth trip to Guatemala. Here she shares about the things that push her to return, year after year.
In 2013 I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Guatemala with my parents and my brother. I fell head over heels for the people and the culture and vowed to go back as soon as I could. Ever since that first trip, I have gone back to Guatemala every year on a student trip. This past trip was my fourth trip to the Learning Center in Los Verdes. As I sit here and reflect on the amazing experiences I’ve had, I can’t help but think: What is it that keeps me coming back?
The first thing that comes to mind is the children. I cannot begin to describe the joy I felt as I received hug after hug from these joyful children who, by our standards, have no reason to be joyful. It’s a stark reminder to be grateful for what we have and to be joyful in Christ rather than in the things we have.
The second thing that comes to mind is something I never would have expected. Every time I leave Guatemala it is harder than the last, and the people I find myself missing are the VisionTrust staff there. Not only do the children inspire me, but the people who work day in and day out for these children inspire me. Over the years I have formed amazing friendships with the local people in Guatemala, and the need to grow these relationships pulls me back! The teachers and staff have a passion for Christ and a passion for these children that inspires me to be a better person. My family also sponsors a girl named Melany, and I return each year to see her smiling face and grow closer with her. We also hope to sponsor her brother Angel when he becomes available to sponsor.
The thing I have enjoyed the most, besides the people of Guatemala, is the opportunity the trip provides to see God in action and reflect on that. Teaching Bible stories to kids forces our team to discuss and truly understand the Word of God in a completely new way. It’s one thing to read a Bible story, but to be able to teach it to a child requires a deeper sense of understanding. Every night of the trip, the team gathers for a debrief. These discussions can be as simple as talking about what happened that day, but they often end up going far deeper than any normal conversation. Over the years, these discussions have led me to deepen my faith in the Lord and really think about my faith and Christianity as a whole. I’ve been so blessed to have amazing leaders and amazing team members that allowed for these discussions.
As I enter my Senior year of high school, many decisions are coming my way. The trips to Guatemala have pushed me to rethink what I want to do with my life, and where I thought my life was going. The trips have pushed me toward the path of medical missions, and I could not be more excited to see where that will take me. I hope to continue going on trips—to Guatemala and wherever else God takes me.