The last day of our work at the La Toma School was as if many days were passed; the memories are too great for only one day. We all will have our own perspective; here I can only share mine. Chester and I went into the 4th grade class (12 year olds) and began a conversation/teaching with them about what they believe gives them a good life and what hopes they have for their families.
Their list was a bit different from the previous class and I loved this because God allowed us to hear their hearts. For me, being able to hear what is inside them and to teach in tandem with someone from this land….this is the greatest gift. My heart for multicultural experiences and ministry is no longer a dream – the seeds are sprouting.
The pictures can tell the story, but in general, we listened to their thoughts, we had some discussion about it and then went to the Colossians 3 scripture as it offered some direction for their thinking. We then asked them to connect the Colossians verses with some artistic expression. Thus, you see on the white board, our own drawings.
The bird on Chester’s side is the Quetzal, which is the national bird and very beautiful. He has long tail that helps him to fly with much power. Very amazing. I really like this bird – he is very special.
About 10:30 we were assembled into a classroom and the Principal, teachers and children began to make presentations to express their thanks for our work and friendship. The team I am with has been coming here for several years and we have experienced the fruit of those long friendships. The culture in Guatemala is very rich and each expression of their presentation has much to teach us about the people and tradition. A series of dances were shared and we received it all with much joy.
After this I went with John, Jerry and Diane to the home of Elvia and Daniel. They invited us as John and Jerry are working on sponsorships to keep the children in school. It was just a short walk (everything is just a short walk) through the jungle.
It was wonderful to go to their home and meet all the family. They are faithful people and the children are hard workers, humble and very polite.
And then, a great adventure! Elvia and Daniel took Diane, Chester and me to the river. More fun than I can express! We hiked up to a rock, dove into the river and floated downstream. The kids loved that we did it and it gave me much joy! This was my third escape to the river but my first true swim. We found some crabs or giant crawfish. We walked back to the work site soaking wet with big smiles on our faces. And admittedly…saying a few prayers along the way that the water, which we know is highly contaminated, will not hurt us.
Back at the work site, the job was clear: finish the roof! It was hard and we worked very long to get it done. I spent the remainder of the afternoon on the roof. As we covered the decking with tin, it became very slick. Woody tethered me with a rope and then with great patience, he and Howard allowed me to assist, screw and nail until the roof was complete. It was hard work and good work. My appreciation and respect for these team members – every single person – grows deeper with each day.
I am so thankful for my years of youth ministry because that is when I learned to trust God completely, take big risks and get deeply involved in the life God has given us to live. Being tethered by a rope and trusting someone to do what they could to keep me from falling off is one of many ways that happens. Running to the river with amigos, teaching youth whose culture and language I do not know, and agreeing to spend 2 weeks away from all that I do know….these are all encounters with trust and faith.
Thursday morning we packed our bags and shared our stories around the communion table before leaving Mazatenango. I carried Treasure deep within my heart, and even now. Hasta Luego…