Never Leaving

Every person that I have met who has been to Guatemala warned me that I would never want to leave. I figured at the book end of two weeks, I would disagree.  As we wrap up our time in San Pedro however, I already feel homesick for this beautiful place. The moments that I have experienced here are sure to stay with me forever. San Pedro is such an awe inspiring town that no amount of staring at pictures could have prepared me for. Each building is unique and absolutely bursting with color. My team jokes that I’m so surprised because I’m Canadian and all I see is fresh white snow, but the truth is I could live inside a rainbow and not experience such an assortment of shades and colors.

For all the differences you see in the architecture, the Guatemalan people provide that much more of a spectrum. Every local that I have met on this trip has carried such hope and with that, a great amount of joy. I could not have imagined that doing VBS programs for children could be so rewarding. The smiles on their faces literally stretch from ear to ear as they watch the “loco gringos” jump and shout in front of them. The spontaneity of this trip has also been incredibly eye opening to how God can work in mysterious ways. It can be nerve-racking as Westerners who live with nonstop schedules to not know what you will be doing an hour in the future, let alone a day. We have stopped on street corners in crowded markets to sing and praise God, which would probably get us all sent to a psych facility back home. The people here are so welcoming and open to love. From sitting with a group of kids coloring and laughing to holding choppy Spanish conversations with adults, I feel God and his presence in every single moment.

Another thing that I truly did not anticipate on this trip was how close I would become with my team. I thought we were coming here to serve the people of Guatemala. Little did I know that we are also here to serve one another as fellow disciples and children of God. Each person on the team brings their own unique gifts and beautiful spirits. Separately, we would never have been able to succeed on this trip, but together, our personalities and talents complement each other in ways that make us capable of anything.  In a group of 25 teenagers, you would expect drama and gossip, but there are so many kind hearts in this group and I feel like I am fully comfortable with anyone and everyone.

Each moment on this trip has been so special. As a contemplative person, I have taken a lot of time to sit back and fully watch the days unfolding before me. I see my teammates playing with the children or even just laughing with each other and the joy in their eyes is so pure and unfiltered that I myself can’t help but smile as I watch it. I breathe in a full lung span of air as I look out onto the lake and mountains and feel fully at peace. Even just sitting in coffee shops (while drinking amazing Guatemalan coffee), and watching the bustle of people going by brings so much happiness to my soul.

When I get back home, it will be so surreal to look back on this trip and all that we have done. As we head onward to Antigua and then home, I know that we may leave Guatemala, but Guatemala will never leave us.

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