One of the things we love to hear is how God uses short-term mission trips to completely change a person’s life. A person walks away from “normalcy” for one week with the expectation to change the lives of others, but God uses the week to shake their lives. Last week we had the privilege to meet Mark and Hilary . I asked Hilary to briefly share her story about how God used one week in Guatemala to change their lives.
My name is Hilary and I currently live in Alabama with my husband and two children. My husband, Mark, and I traveled to Guatemala in September 2017, and afterwards made an overhaul to our professional and personal lives.
Mark and I were teaching a small group class in our local church about Going in to the World as Jesus commanded us all to do (Matthew 28:19). We decided we could no longer juts talk the talk, that we had to be living examples of our faith. In June 2017 we signed up to serve on a mission trip that would serve in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. We had traveled plenty between the two of us, but had never traveled on a selfless trip to meet needs of others to help spread the gospel.
My prayer before we landed that September day was for my eyes to see what He sees, a heart that breaks like His, and to unconditionally love the way HE has loved me. There was not a day that went by that I did not cry, and I mean an ugly cry. From the worship in the morning, to working with the teams throughout the day, I was moved emotionally and spiritually every step of the way. The Lord gave me exactly what I prayed for, a new outlook on my comfortable life.
Not only was Guatemala breathtakingly beautiful, the people who called it home were some of the most joyful and selfless people I had ever met. Our mission was to build houses, feed families, help at medical clinics, play with children, and worship in a local community church. We were going to help them, but in turn these precious people prayed blessings over us, our families, and our churches in the America. The poverty in these villages was gut wrenching. Even though we had just finished a book about the state of the World and that most people live on less than $2 per day, until you see it, smell it, and touch it you will not understand it.
We went in hopes to change a little piece of Guatemala, but in reality Guatemala changed us. When we arrived back home, my husband and I knew we had to make changes. We prayed and submitted our whole lives to the Lord. Yes we had given our hearts to Him before but not our actual finances, jobs, and whole lives. We prayed that we would do anything He asked us to do, but He had to make it abundantly clear what that was going to be.
Within a month of saying that prayer we were turning in our notices at our jobs, selling our house, and accepting new jobs at The Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch. We moved in November 2017 and started a new season in our life. In our GOING we found our calling. He gave us our purpose and we have not looked back. We are now houseparents to preteen and teenage girls who have been neglected, abused, and abandoned by a broken society. Our mission now is to show them who love is, who hope is, and His name is Jesus.
If your mind needs to be cleared to hear Him, your heart opened to love like Him, or your soul just needs a revival to follow Him consider GOING. God allowed us to use the facilities provided by GRACE Ministries to minister to the people of Guatemala. I promise you will never be the same and will thank God every day for the opportunity to serve.
Sidenote: Mark and Hilary were trying to sell their house for a year prior to coming to Guatemala. They had even listed it with two different realtors. They accepted the job with the Girls Ranch on Monday and their house sold the following Sunday! Less than a Week! Without a Doubt–A God Thing!
I loved hearing Hilary describe the past year as one of the hardest, most exhausting, rewarding, peaceful years of their lives. They know they are living an abundant, obedient life completely surrendered to His will. God is not impressed with finances, locations, or talents. He is looking for people after His own heart through a life obedient to His calling. Obedience is Greater than Sacrifice.