Every summer, MAM hosts several WATER students rom SMBI. After a month of serving and observing in different mission stations in Guatemala, this is what the three 2011 WATER students had to say.
As the flat-nosed, crammed-full Mitsubishi van tore along the highway, I enjoyed my window seat. Warm, tropical rain pelted against the window, filled the gullies, and ran down to the muddy river below. I watched the silent, wood-slat houses; children, chickens, and dogs had all run for cover . . .
In a lot of ways, I feel like this illustrates my month in Guatemala. I have seen so much, enjoyed the immense beauty of the land, experienced a different culture, and been challenged by another way of life. And yet that window (the incredible language barrier) has kept me at “arm’s length.” I enjoyed watching the workers interact with the people here, laughing over a funny happening, in a serious discussion, or crying over an issue. But there I was, not totally sure why we were laughing or crying.
We handed out tracts in the inner-city and I thought, This is so frustrating not being able to talk to anybody! And then it hit me. The power of the Holy Spirit is not limited to my ability to speak. That thought was reiterated that night as I knelt beside a Spanish lady in prayer. I scrambled to catch when her prayer was over and it was my turn to talk to the Father. Hallelujah! We serve a God who understands, no matter what language we speak!
~ Kendra Horst
I was often close to death during my four weeks in Guatemala—but not my own. In El Chal, I was with Kristina when she visited a family whose mother had just died. Neighbor women were caring for her body and cleaning out her tiny thatch-roofed hut. The seventeen-year-old son who provided for her (and his wife, baby, and younger brother) was crying as he directed two Catholic men who were helping prepare for the vela (all-night watch).
Also in El Chal a couple of days later, a well-liked tuk-tuk (small taxi) driver was killed by a motorcycle driving without lights at night. We noticed all the tuk-tuks had black bows the next day, but it was only for one day, and at the vela the night before, many people were just drinking and having a party (at the family’s expense).
So much grief, and the world rushes on. When I think of the recent passing of a church family’s grandmother at Lirio, another sick woman in El Chal who will die soon because her relatives can’t hospitalize her, and the long, high walls of vaults where the deceased poor lie undisturbed only if their family pays the rent, I am challenged to give God everything today because sometime, tomorrow
~ Grace Thompson
I am really thankful with how God has blessed me as a WATER student in Guatemala! It was my first time out of the country, and God has opened my eyes in many wonderful ways.
One of my many highlights was spending time in Santa Rosita with Steve and Valerie Diefenbacher’s family, and with Dorcas and Yolanda. They live at a beautiful place along the riverside among many poor and hurting people. I was very privileged to help a native woman do her work one morning. We went down to the river together and washed her clothes by
hand with several other women who were also doing laundry. Then she wanted me to carry the five-gallon bucket of laundry back to her house on my head! I did my best, which wasn’t very good, but she was happy that I tried, so that was great! We also made tortillas for lunch and ate them together.
That day was a very good experience for me, especially since I knew only English and she knew only Spanish. We were still able to communicate, and I really enjoyed my time with her and her sweet children. I love the people in Guatemala and miss them already.
~ Bethany Hollinger
::Note:: To download a PDF of the entire Newsletter for these two months simply click the link below!September/October Newsletter