Tuesday, April 3, 2012

RAOK #34 - Guatemalan Goodness

Little concrete block church in Olintepeque, Guatemala
Last summer, the hubs and the oldest daughter embarked on a life-changing adventure when they went on a mission trip to Guatemala with 10 other people.  They worked at that cute little church shown above.  It was the first such trip for either one of them and I admit I was jealous that they got to go!  Someone had to stay behind with the other youths and since it was the first time to go to a totally different country, we agreed it was better for big daddy to go. So I was the designated parent at home.  Next time....!

I could go into so many details about that trip and everything they experienced and felt, but then this post would get way too long and I might lose my point along the way of what my RAOK was.  Suffice it to say two things:  The daughter came back and that Sunday after church she updated her Facebook status and said "It's kind of funny how I sat in a nice big air conditioned church this morning and the only place I wanted to be was a small dusty one where I could barely understand a word being said. God has definitely moved this past week."

The second thing that both of them said was that we Americans "feel sorry" that people in other countries do not always experience the same wealth and amenities that we do.  But, when they got down there they realized that the joke is really on us . . . because those people REALLY KNOW what it is like to depend on God for everything.  We don't seek Him as much because we are more financially self-sufficient, but they truly understand what it is like to be blessed because they rely on Him for everything.  Very thought provoking, eh??

Let me tell you about RAOK #34 and then I'm going to share some neat pictures.  One of the necessary items for our group to have was an interpreter.  The only one in the group who spoke much Spanish was my daughter who went through a language immersion program for five years and also has three years of high school Spanish behind her.  But learning the language here and speaking it there are two different things!  So the liaison from Guatemala arranged for a couple of interpreters for the group.  Isaac and Raquel were the two interpreters and my family grew to love both of them while they were there.  Raquel has never been to the United States and it is her dream to come here one day. So . . . RAOK #34 was my sending a letter to Guatemala to her with our desire to sponsor her visa to come here sometime this year.  She is SSOOOO excited and we are too.  We can't wait for her to come and stay with us and learn all about our culture here.

They took many hundreds of pictures but I'm just going to post a few to give you a taste of what they experienced:
Make-shift medical clinic staffed by our team.  Not surprisingly, the #1 complaint? Stomach issues!

A make-shift dental clinic was staffed by a dentist on our team and his wife. Because there is little or no dental care available, they pulled hundreds of teeth.  This is where my daughter spent the majority of her time working and my husband handed out toothbrushes and taught scores of children to brush their teeth!

Here is some of our construction crew.  With just a few people and in a short amount of time, they built a retaining wall for the church and also installed a ceiling with working electrical lights.

People came by the hundreds and waited for free medical and dental care that they either do not have access to or cannot afford.

Unbelievably, the local fire department had neither a defibrillator nor training on CPR techniques.  Our medical guy arranged for the donation of the defibrillator here in the U.S. and then provided life-saving training.

A few members of the team were responsible for providing entertainment for the children and making them more comfortable with these "strange" Americans.  This was especially important for those who would later have a scary dental or medical procedure.  My daughter told a funny story that one of the little girls with wide brown eyes kept taking her finger and swiping it over my daughter's skin.  She finally realized that the little girl had never seen freckles in her whole life!

The husband is shown here with the widow of the original pastor of the church (in front) and family.  At the Sunday service she told the congregation that she could "die in peace" knowing that her church was finally going to be completed and a ceiling installed - the answer to her prayers of many years.  On another note, the hubs LOVES little kids - check out that adorable little baby hand on his face.  If I wasn't, like,100 years old in baby-making years, we'd probably have more.  I think he was ready to swipe one of those beautiful Guatemalan babies and bring one home to me though :)

As you can see, he looks gargantuan next to the Guatemalans who tend to be smaller in stature than we.  During the trip, many men and women alike made comments about how big he is as he TOWERED over everyone there!

YES, they REALLY DO carry things around on their heads!  I wonder if they ever get a headache?

Some members of our team are shown here at the little church that came to mean so much to them.

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