As a missions team, something that brings us together is our shared memories, stories no one else knows, things no one else can see. Sometimes its so hard to let other people see those memories. To be honest, very few people have heard any stories from the four months I was in Guatemala and I think even less really wanted to hear those stories. But these stories are the most powerful thing I have to offer to those who were here during that time. So in effort to keep the ties between my teammates and I strong, and to share with you some fun, scary, silly stories from Guatemala, here is a story-series…Once upon a time…
I was making hot chocolate tonight, something I rarely do. I don’t really like rich drinks and I don’t usually like drinking that much sugar. But tonight I needed desert and my sister offered me some of that powdery stuff from the package and I decided to go for it. And then I had this weird moment where I realized…that the last time I had hot chocolate from those little packages was in Guatemala.
There was this time around half-way through our stay in Guatemala when our program sent us to a larger, more suburban town in Guatemala to work with the Christian and Missionary Alliance church there. We spent two weeks painting schools. Literally, all we did was paint schools. We were tired, stressed from the work in Magdalena, frustrated with seeing the same people every single day and frankly, exhausted physically, emotionally and spiritually. Some of us were sick. Others were bored (ME ahem…) but we ended up on this compound, in the middle of this Guatemalan town, where we knew no one, knew nothing about what we were doing, and couldn’t get out. I was scared, to be honest.
One night, we were able to get out of the compound, after a long day of painting and go to a grocery store nearby. We went crazy. I think there were four of us. We ran around the grocery store looking at all this food we had never seen, trying to find the american stuff and then trying to find the ingredients we needed to make cheesecake, without having to ask anyone in Spanish where anything was. I got a little excited about peanut butter. You should have seen how expensive chocolate was. BUT WE BOUGHT IT ANYWAY
That night we gathered around the counter and made cheesecake. We laughed, we skyped our family, we watched movies together, and we made hot chocolate. I think we all had a cup (or two) of hot chocolate. We were a family together. I cried with them and laughed with them that week and to be honest, it was one of the only times we were truly and completely happy together.
But those things changed some when we got back. We all have our own group of friends, our own families and our own plans for the future. Some things stay the same though. I still crawl onto my teammates’ beds and cry with them. I still laugh at the times we had together. I especially think of the times we made hot chocolate and watched funny movies together. These are the things I will remember about Guatemala: my sisters and my brother.
As life moves on and we each have our own responsibilities, I remember that being with them is where my identity is. They know me better than anyone else. They love me unconditionally. And I’m so very thankful for them. Do me a favor today and thank someone who has shared a journey with you, even a seemingly insignificant one. Thank them for just being there. For accepting you. For maybe laughing or crying with you. For annoying you. For telling you “no” when you wanted to hear “yes.” For fighting for you and with you. On whatever team it is you are on. All these journeys matter. And it matters that you shared them with someone and that you chose to thank them for that.
Because believe me, I will spend the rest of my life trying to thank these four girls and one guy for all they mean to me.