On July 3rd, Soy picked up Diamond from the airport to serve with us for the next 10 days. Diamond will graduate in August with a degree in Spanish, and she attends Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tennessee. She has been involved with short-term mission trips to Guatemala in previous years. In addition to working with the kids at the center, she has been able to quickly establish relationships with some people staying at the mission house. She has a big personality, she has great desire to serve the Lord, and she is not afraid to show the love of Christ.
Here is short reflection of her time spent serving in Guatemala:
8 days. 8 days was all I had to squeeze in all of the love I could from the precious children at the feeding center. In such a short time, helping at the center has made a such an impact on my heart for the children and people in general of Guatemala. A third world country has a way of doing that as you see the difference in their needs compared to your own. Now this wasn’t my first trip to Guatemala, but it was my first time working at the feeding center. Every day we would set up the room, plan songs to sing, and while I was there, games to play. Grades alternate days as MWF was 3rd-6thand TR kindergarten-2nd. My first day was a Thursday so I met the younger kiddos first. Without even knowing my name or anything about me I was attacked with hugs and kisses. There are few better feelings in the world than that kind of love. I soon learned the next day the older group didn’t display affection as much as the younger students. You needed to earn their trust and attention. In the short time I was there, I was able to earn it from a few of the older students and they had me wrapped around their fingers.
I mentioned that the students would sing about two or three songs. On one particular morning, I was moved to tears listening to the sweetest voices sing “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong in Spanish. It wasn’t the first time I had heard kids signing in Spanish but for some reason this time was different. After singing, was when the personalities started to come out watching them play games and interact with each other. I learned that the best way to connect with the older students is to participate with them. Unlike the younger students, I noticed they don’t just want their picture taken by anyone. They want to develop even the smallest relationship first. I speak Spanish so it was easier to form that connection. Now I definitely struggled understanding them, but when I asked them to slow it down or say it in another way, they always tried to make it easier for me. We went from smiling across the room, to full conversations, to them stealing my glasses, holding my hand, and a sadness when I told them it was my last day being with them. It’s difficult getting so attached only to have to turn around and leave so soon but I learned to cherish the moments I had with them hoping they enjoyed it and knowing that I did.
One part of my trip that stuck out was when I was asked to sit in on an interview with a parent trying to get their student into a new school that’s being built by the center. The purpose of me being there was to help with my Spanish listening skills. I only sat in for one interview, but it was a hard one hearing about a personal life event and learning of the education levels of the parents. Listening to that broke my heart and only made me want to hug each and every student over and over. These kids have so much going on in their lives and I can’t relate to their serious hurt at that age or even my age now. That is why I am thankful they have a place like the feeding center to escape some of that reality if only for a few hours.
The feeding center is a phenomenal place. Students are given a hot meal, a vitamin, time to brush their teeth, and learn about Jesus. Now those sound like simple things to some people, but for the students here it means so much more. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with a great staff to help care for the kids at the feeding center and it will not be forgotten.
By: Diamond Cassie