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What I Didn’t Expect About My Third Ambassador Trip

Coming into this trip, I prayed for an open heart and open mind – typical pre-mission trip prayers. I prayed the prayers and raised the money. I guess I had some pre-conceived notions coming into this trip. I’ve gone on two trips, I know the ropes, I’ve got this. Right? Oh man. God absolutely turned those pre-conceived notions completely on end.

It started with training camp. Training camp was something I was not necessarily looking forward to. I wanted to be on the field, “doing something”. I had no desire to spend a few days two short hours from my home when Guatemala was waiting for me. At training camp, you expect bucket showers. You expect lots of people sleeping in tents. You expect (or maybe already live in) the sticky Georgia heat. Maybe you’ve talked with your team some via Facebook or Skype. Maybe you’re excited to finally meet Deb, your mobilizer, in person. Maybe, you’re lucky enough to have her as one of your trip leaders (team Holy Guatemole knows what’s up).

You expect those few days of training camp to go by quickly and maybe not really affect you.

What you don’t expect is the deep, real conversations that happen the first night with those 5 tent-mates you just met that evening. You don’t expect the laughter and genuine friendships that develop so quickly. You don’t expect to be moved to your knees as the tangible presence of God walks among you during worship. You don’t expect to plan a VBS in 10 minutes and present it in 5 and actually pull it off pretty well. You don’t expect your deodorant to completely melt the first day in your tent (future Ambassadors: pro tip- don’t leave your deodorant sitting on your sleeping mat right in the GA heat)

Again, my pre-conceived notions got turned completely on end.

Then you wake up at 2:30am and board that plane and realize this country is unlike anything you could have imagined. You do things like hike up a hill every morning to eat the best pineapple and pancakes at the pastor’s house. (Side note- now that I’m home, I’m not really sure what to do without fresh pineapple each morning). You wake up to Lake Atitlan surrounded by the Guatemalan mountains and volcanos and it leaves you breathless. You ride in the back of pickup trucks and go across the lake in boats and maybe even hop in a tuk-tuk and it’s all fun but the real fun is walking 90% of the time up and down those mountain roads. You bond with your team over iced coffee runs and quickly find out who is good at bartering because you obviously need a pair of Guatemalan pants.

When you pray that God will draw you out of your boat, out of your comfort zone, have faith. Bold faith. Passionate faith. Because He can and absolutely will show up.

To say God moved in mighty ways would be a drastic understatement. During the two weeks I spent in Guat, He showed me just how much of a box we tend to put Him in, and then He completely broke the walls of that box and stretched my faith in more ways than I could count.

I saw the power go out in the middle of a thunderstorm and then come back on the minute we began to pray. I saw each and every one of my team members trust God with boldness and serve Him wholeheartedly in their own individual gifts and leadership qualities. We did things like stop in the middle of a bustling marketplace to sing praises and tell Bible stories. We hiked to a tiny church at the top of a mountain to do a VBS and trusted that God would bring the people. We put together a radio program that would reach across the lake and prayed earnestly for the people who would hear it, though we wouldn’t see the impact it had.

I prayed that God would give me a vision for San Pedro and He showed me how He was using us to walk with people out of darkness and into His light. I’ve seen language barriers broken by love. I’ve seen the Holy Spirit of God moving in ways far beyond anything I ever expected and I got to join Him in the ways He was already moving and working.

I went into this trip thinking we were going to help people and while we did get to serve and love others, God did so, so much more. Don’t put God in a box, friends. He loves us passionately- He loves this world passionately, and He wants to draw us out of our boats and show us more of Him than we could ever imagine. Have bold faith and unreserved trust and keep your eyes on Him, because the Lord delights in showing up in the unexpected.

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