I would have never thought a week long trip would have changed my mindset and outlook on life. Last year my daughter asked if we could go on a mission trip. Like many others we browsed the online list of trips offered. It was kind of like looking for a pair of shoes. We found one that we thought would fit and filled out an online form. It seemed so far away. We raised money and spent plenty too. Our destination was San Cristobal Alta Verapaz Guatemala. This was considered a family trip. It was a safe region that was totally guided.
The final destination was a place ran by Inn Ministries. The ministry runs a church, school and a community ministry. Looking back at our trip I was totally impressed how the ministry runs these trips. Around 8 groups visit them every year and visit the community, schools and church.
Our travel to Guatemala City was severely hampered by air travel problems. Our original flight from Birmingham was delayed 2 hours. Once we reached Houston our connecting flight was already on it's way to Guatemala. Ultimately there was a way there, but it was the long way. After a total time of reaching the airport in Birmingham at 3:45am we walked into a hotel in Guatemala City at 4am local time. We have been traveling for over 24 hours. Our time in the air took us from Birmingham to Houston, Newark then to Guatemala City. The whole group was exhausted,but did well.
The next morning we were on our way to Inn Ministries. Our group was divided into two vans. Our driver was Juanca. Juanca does many jobs for the ministry including the PR. The first thing that really made an impact on me was how the staff was so loving and welcoming. I began to see this is also the case for the culture. They love to be with one another. They hang out, laugh and eat. It's truly something the american culture needs to embrace. It's something our culture has lost.
The ride to the Inn took around 4 hours. Guatemala City was full of activity as we departed. Motorcycles cutting in and out of traffic, vendors selling goods in the middle of the street and stop signs and heavy traffic. We stopped half way for a break at a gas station that also served ice cream. It was nice to stretch and take a break. This was my first experience with an arm guard that has a Pepsi logo on the back of his uniform. It seems they take soft drinks very seriously. Before the half way mark and throughout the trip the roads started climbing up the mountains. The roads were actually fairly smooth with the exception of section that had washed out from the rain.
We arrived to open arms of the staff. They welcomed us and gave an overview of the processes there and our week. We were able to work on the Inn's property. We mixed cement and set block that will one day be another building to educate and teach skills to the children of the area.
The group was also able to visit several families in the community and also a public school. The conditions the children have to endure at the public schools are not extravagant by any means.
My daughter and I had dinner with a young lady and her family that attends the Inn's school. It is a private school that not only teaches discipline, English and responsibility. They also teach the scripture of Christ.
I hope to return soon with my family. Six months after the trip I'm still walking through the experience. I've been globalized. My concern no longer stays within my home boarders. I can't describe the feeling or change in my thought pattern. I'm different. That's the best description I can build. I'm different.