Ministry in Reverse

It’s hard for me to put into words what this past month has done for me. I’ll never know how to thank the people of Guatemala for impacting me so greatly. Seeing the pure joy on the kids’ faces when we walked in the building and hearing them shout “GRINGASSSS,” or having kids on the street say the Bible verse we taught them a few days before.. that feeling knowing you made a little bit of a difference in a child’s life is amazing. Though our main mission was to minister to kids, I want to share about a few people who have ministered to me and impacted me the greatest on this trip:


Tomas. We met him while on our first prayer walk in Guatemala. For me, prayer walks are a little uncomfortable and hard, but I didn’t come to Guatemala to be comfortable. When we came to Tomas’ house, I immediately saw his kids from the front gate so I waved to them and said “hola.” They were smiling with pure joy and waving so hard. Before we knew it, Tomas and his kids were down at the gate talking to us. We exchanged the usual “hello how are you,” but then something really cool happened… He invited us into his home. We talked for awhile with Tomas who actually spoke ENGLISH. He told us a little about his story and his time as a cook in America. It was so cool getting to talk to someone about Guatemala, America and also about faith. We prayed for his family and then he invited us back over for coffee. He showed us so much grace when our plans messed up, just as God would. We hung out with his family a few more times, and on the second to last day, he cooked us lunch! He truly wanted to serve us and I think that is just the coolest thing. (Also his food was the bomb!) We are all called to be servants of Christ, and Tomas is definitely living out that calling. His family is one I’ll never forget. Plus his two boys–who are the cutest ever–are named Kenny and Willy… how precious and American!! Tomas taught me that if you take the time to invest in people and show them God’s love, life can look a lot different and a lot better. 


Diego. Wow what a great guy. A few of my teammates and I were out picking up trash for our ministry that morning. That’s not always the most fun thing to do, but God used it to put Diego into our path. He saw us and said “thank you” with a smile. In English! When you hear English in Guatemala, you always stop because that doesn’t happen often. We began talking to Diego and quickly saw his love for Christ. He was very insightful with his faith and he inspired me. I told him I was getting baptized that Sunday (which happened to be his birthday) and he asked me why. I was a little caught off guard when he asked me that because I didn’t know what kind of answer he was looking for. So I just started talking. I told him that baptism was a way to tell the world that I am a Christ follower. I hadn’t been baptized since it was my decision to do so, and I have felt the Lord telling me to do it for a while. Then, while in Guatemala, the Lord told me it was the perfect time. Diego said he only asked because he wanted to make sure I was doing it for the right reasons and not because I wanted to follow the crowd. It was so eye-opening to be asked a question like that, and I’m so glad Diego did. We ended up going to a coffee shop with him and talking more. He told us that he went to college in New York for two years and received a business degree and that’s where he learned his English. A few days later we went to Don’s with him and talked more about the Lord and his dreams. Eventually he wants to have a place where missionaries can come and work for however long they want. A place to call home in Chichi. His main focus is education, and he wants to have a scholarship program and a school where locals can learn English, while also having Americans come and learn Spanish. His dreams are big, and I’m praying that they happen because that would be so cool. Diego encouraged us to never forget to pray. God gives to those who ask if it is in His will. His fire for the Lord is so evident and his servant’s heart is beautiful. On our last night, we met up with him one last time to get ice cream. Conversations flowed and laughs were shared. When we said goodbye, he gave us bracelets so we will never forget him. I truly consider Diego a real friend and a spiritual mentor. I cannot wait for him to come to Tennessee soon! 


Juan. This man is a legend. Juan was our host and quite the character. I can always count on him to make me laugh by being the most sarcastic person I have ever met and saying “no hablo ingles” when he clearly speaks English. Being able to know Juan and his family this past month has been the biggest blessing. Juan’s ideas are incredible and big. He is trying to raise up the younger generation so that they can change the world. That’s why his church is called New Generation. His devotion to his community is stronger than I have ever seen before. His faith inspires me to be better and to give bigger. Juan and his family fast meals so that they can give meals to people who need it more. He teaches English at the school, but only agreed to do it if he could also tell the kids about God (which doesn’t happen often in public schools). He volunteers his time to go to the hospital to give food and prayer to those in pain. He gives all he has and more for his family and his community. He dreams of having property for missionaries to come and live, and he wants to work in more schools that are in need of someone like him. He never stops looking for more ways to help Guatemala, and I don’t think he ever will. Juan will never ever be forgotten, and I wish I had the words to thank him the way he deserves. I want to be like Juan when I grow up.


These people and so many more in Chichicastenango influenced me in ways I’ll never be able to fully express. I thought I was coming to Guatemala to minister to others, but the roles were completely reversed. Thank you Guatemala for an amazing month full of friendships, growth and God’s love! 


“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone-especially those in the family of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10


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