Pinch me. Not hard, please, but I think I need to be pinched. This is a dream, right? Or, am I actually having another part of the life I loved so much before transplant returned to me?
In 9 days, at this time, I will be on a plane with 18 of my friends on the first leg of our trip to Guatemala where we will be working in a school with 350 children in the little village of Oratorio.
We’ll be doing some painting at the school, encouraging the staff and playing with kids as well as whatever else comes up. I bought some children’s books in Spanish and am looking forward to reading “Are You My Mother” to as many children as will listen. It was my favorite.
God has provided more than $30,000 to make this trip possible. Someone asked me if it would not be better to just send the cash. It’s a fair question.
First, it is HIGHLY doubtful we would have raised $30,000 just to send to Guatemala without the relational link. We are all more likely to support a friend bringing a gift than we are to give with no connection.
Second, apart from the plane tickets, everything else is going to Guatemala and supporting either the sponsoring ministry or the local economy. That is about $17,000 not including what our team spends on gifts, trinkets and extras. That is a significant supply to a local economy where the average annual income is about $4500. It will help fund the school, pay for our work project, support the staff at the lodging house and even provide additional money for food boxes or additional projects. So, yes, Delta is benefiting but the people we work with are benefiting more.
Third, team members are carrying their own expenses. My vaccines were $330 (my part was $80 thankfully). Some needed passports and all need to supply their own travel gear. And all have given directly to the fundraising goal.
Lastly, experience in leading these trips has shown me that the greatest value from these trips is the relational ties that comes home with team members. For example, after our trip to Mexico several years ago, a woman we worked with desperately need a surgery on her back but, of course, had no resources to pay for it. The Lord provided a lot through the relational ties made with visiting mission teams who came to love Labrada and her children. People I take on these trips come home with a heart for ministry and, after experiencing poverty firsthand, are more generous with what God supplies.
I’m not a supporter of American missions tourism. My goal is always to try to help ease some of the weight of local workers and serve them.
Don’t worry. I will be VERY careful. I will eat no uncooked foods or veggies, will only drink and brush my teeth with bottled water. I have plenty of high-powered hand sanitizer that kills even super bugs instantly (3M Avagard) and will use it frequently. I have antibiotics to begin at the first sign of a tummy ache. I am vaccinated and protected and my docs have no hesitation in letting me go IF I am cautious.
But, a little prayer covering never hurts! So, pray!
Pinch me. I am so very thankful that God has given me such a full life after transplant.
If you would like to increase the amount of the additional gift we are bringing to directly benefit the people, visit www.fbcwestbrook.com and give online. Be sure to indicate it is for Guatemala. (NOTE: the info page has not yet been updated. )