I Didn’t Even Want to Board the Plane

When people ask me how Guatemala was, I tell them it was really amazing. I share the funny and touching stories and show them my favorite pictures.  But what I don’t mention is how hard it was and all the doubts I had throughout most of the trip.  

Coming into this, I just assumed everything would be perfect.  I didn’t even consider all of the possibilities of what could go wrong.  So when a lot of unexpected things happened, I was frustrated and overwhelmed.  First off, I was shy and had trouble fitting in with my team.  I didn’t join in conversations or help during team building games, so I felt left out.  On top of that, I was so homesick that I didn’t even want to board the plane to Guatemala.  After my parents convinced me it would all be okay and I got on the plane and we landed, the culture shock was insane.  The smells, people, crazy driving, and many other things made me very uncomfortable the first couple of days.  
Being so focused on what was different and not so nice, I didn’t even notice how beautiful the country is.  I didn’t see all the color, friendliness, and the apparent presence of God.  Everywhere you turn is a smiling face, always ready to reply to your “hola”, and worship songs could be heard sung all throughout the town.  I also didn’t see how my missing home was something I had to experience on this trip.  Being away from everything and everyone comfortable is a part of missions, but also just a part of growing up that I had yet to experience before this.  I was totally on my own, finding out who God planned me to be, which is really cool.  Lastly, I didn’t realize at first how beautiful my team is.  They are so full of love and joy, and I’ve never been surrounded by so many people with such a passion for God.  It took a couple days for me to open myself up to my team, but we became family, serving Christ and having the most amazing time together.  
I questioned God a lot on this trip.  Why did he call me to this?  I’m not strong enough.  Why am I having a hard time when others don’t seem to be?  Why Guatemala, when I don’t speak any Spanish and can’t even communicate with those I’m here to be with?  I don’t know any of the answers, but I do know that this is God’s plan for me and it is far better than what I planned for myself.  I still got tired, frustrated, and homesick, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.  I saw God work in incredible ways my two weeks in Guatemala, and my faith grew in ways I didn’t believe possible.
So when people ask me how my trip was, I’ll still tell them how it was the best two weeks of my life, how I made 24 new best friends, and how I can’t wait to go back next year.  But I’ll also tell them the trouble I had, because it shows how God is with us always and can still work in amazing ways through people with fears and doubts.  
And for high school students reading this who are considering going on an Ambassador trip, do it.  Yes, there may and probably will be points where you’re tired, homesick, and questioning God, but you will also come out of it rejuvenated in your faith, and full of love, joy, and amazing stories of God’s grace. 


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