Tonight was the night I looked forward to the most as it was the children's party at the mission center. About 20 children and youth came to share in an evening of fun, worship, and food. We started with outdoor games, relay races, a "Biggest fan" competition, and a lively rendition of "Going Bananas" led by our Servants mission leader Lisa. The Guatemalan children are very eager to learn English and so Pastor Cathy, Elizabeth, Brooke, Elijah, and myself taught them some English words and played pictionary in English. We shared about Pennsylvania and gave the kids Hershey bars to experience a little bit from our world. They loved the word dog, cat, and chicken the most! Next we came in for devotions and the youth led some amazing worship and Jonathan and Emily offered testimonies. Next came dinner with frijoles (beans), tostadas, guacamole, cheese, and Coke (a big hit). The big finale was to take group photos.
As I look back on the week, one of the greatest blessings for me was the connection with people who live here year round, as well as with members of our own team. I am accustomed to having a lot of quiet time and reflection but this week was a continuous flow of people. What I found was that I enjoyed getting to know the members of our team as well as those we served, and had many significant conversations. Most of them were working side to side, washing dishes, carrying buckets, waiting on cement to dry, painting, drilling, and actually helping a Guatemalan mother wash clothes. Something remarkable happens when we work side by side in God's mission. I grew to know and love each member of our team, as well as many of the people here in Guatemala, including Kasey and Esther (our missionaries), Myrna, whose wall we were building, Lisa, our team leader, as well as countless others we met along the way. What I treasure most about this trip will be the answer to a prayer that we were able to form bonds both in and outside the team, and experience the love of God through the words, actions, and face of our team from FUMC as well as here in Guatemala. What makes it so memorable is that one of the families said much of the same thing, and thanked us for sharing our lives and hearts with them.
Dios te bendiga, Villa Nueva. We will always remember you and hold you in our hearts.
-- Mike Boileau