Guatemala Extreme

by - April 13, 2010

If I had been on the the Guatemala Extreme Mission, these are a few things that would have happened along the way.

I would have been intimidated by a three mile trek up steep rocky paths up the mountainside that took about three and a half hours in almost triple digit heat.

I would have been put to shame by a family carrying the youngest members on their backs when they PASSED UP our team on the path up the mountain.

I would have been grateful to be living in the time and place of indoor plumbing when I was a woman, because seeing this women's work of biblical proportions made my heart break and my back ache for those who haul water up the mountain every time their waterhole dries up.

I would have somehow gotten bit by fleas and bruised my hip bones from sleeping on a concrete floor inside my sleeping bag, inside the tent, inside the church building. The building alone is not enough protections against the tropical critters, so we would have slept in tents inside. I use the word "slept" loosely, though, because it's hard to sleep when it's stifling and the wild monkeys in the not-so-distant woods are howling you a lullaby.

I would have cooked beans and rice and homemade tortillas for supper each night on an open campfire....INSIDE the pastor's home. Yes, this is somebody's home. They cook every meal this way, and daily breathe into their lungs the black soot that covers the ceiling and their makeshift shelf.

I would have been grateful that this huge fuzzy spider didn't enter the church building we slept in until our team was packed up and walking out. I definitely would have been wondering if he had friends that forgot to vacate when we invaded their territory.

I wonder if I would have embraced showers from heaven this enthusiastically, thinking this just might be my last bath for a few days.

Easter morning church would have looked like this:

and commemorating the Lord's supper in such a place with such a people would have been a singular event that would stand out for all time.

I would have seen that the Lord shed his blood and gave his body for the simple and useful, the discarded trash, the broken and worn alike.

I would learn that going to the ends of the earth can seem much more like "this end up" and require more endurance and sacrifice than ever imagined when reading those familiar words from my comfortable pew.

I would hear God's love reverberate from English to Spanish to Kek'chi and dissolve barriers that culture, language and lifestyle erect.

I would see that a smile, a hug, God's children look more similar than different.

I would have looked into eyes that had never before seen a movie and seen hundreds come out of the jungle drawn by a meager sheet-screen and projector run by a humble generator.

I would have worshipped in a church that our team built last summer for this village.

But since I didn't take this amazing journey, I can remain ungrateful for my bathroom,

and my laundry room.

Since I didn't go Guatemala Extreme, I was home to pray that our team would be safe and remain strong so that their prayers would be effectual for a people who have only God to turn to when problems arise.

Since I didn't go, I won't have learned that like Paul, we can buffet our bodies and make them our slaves, so that, after we have preached to others, we ourselves will not be disqualified.

I wouldn't know so completely the humble kindness it was for Jesus to wash his disciples' feet,

and I wouldn't see what He saw when He said, "Suffer the children to come unto Me."

Or then again, maybe, in God's grace, I would.

{My thanks to the team members who made their photographs available to me to tell their incredible story.}

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  1. What amazing pictures! Humbling to see how others live and know we complain if we don't online in 2 seconds! Thanks for sharing. :)


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