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Trip 1: Guatemala Day 2

Blog 1:
Today we got to visit Escuela Integrada where we met many joyful children and enjoyed playing games or doing other activities with them. In addition, we went with the children to a nearby nursing home to play games with the people there and bring them gifts. God was present in these activities as shown through the children’s smiles and laughs, as well as through the help they provided to the people in the nursing home. After this we got to do home visits, which was my favorite part of today. The families were very happy to welcome us into their homes and offered anything they had. God was also present during this time through the prayers and conversation we had throughout the visit. Our focus today was spreading the light of Jesus, and I feel that through the partnership with us and the kids, this was able to happen.

–Victoria Plyler

Blog 2:

Today we went to Escuela Integrada where we got a tour of the small school and a welcome from the kids. We painted the schools walls as well as creating crafts with the 7th graders. We also went with the children to a nursing home and played games with them. God was with us in the way the children interacted with the elderly and how the smiles all around brightened everyone’s day. It was he who allowed us the opportunity to make this missions trip and to help these people. After the nursing home we went on home visits. This was my favorite part because we were able to learn more about the families and see how the school’s help really improved their lives. I hope that we can continue to help these people through God and make a difference here.

– Caylinn Helm

Blog 3:

Today we visited Escuela Integrada and was able to meet majority of the students and staff. We also painted the walls of the school and made crafts with the 7th graders to take to the nursing home. When we went to the nursing home with the students we were able to hand out the crafts we created. At the nursing home I was able to see the differences between life in Guatemala and life in the United States. I was able to see God in the children and people we met, their attitude towards life were extremely positive. I wish to continue to help the people while I’m here, also when I come home I want to be able to become more positive towards my life.

– Abby Buechler

Blog 4:

Today we walked to Escuela Integrada and we got to meet all of the kindergarteners and the teachers. When we were finished meeting them, we headed upstairs and started painting the walls. After we were done with that, we made crafts with the 7th graders for the nursing home, which we gave to the old people personally. While at the nursing home Carsyn, Abby, Caylinn and I started to play concentration. The kids started to watch us and asked us if they could play. I saw at that moment that the kids weren’t afraid to ask or show us that they really like us being there. Just having other kids there and playing simple hand games with them. That was my God and favorite moment of the day. With many more memories to be made…

– Maddie Eudy

Blog from Pastor Rhodes:

Hola from Guatemala! What an amazing experience it’s already been.

On the way home from a nursing home visit yesterday was a snapshot that captures our week beautifully. In the morning our students were yoked with the 7th grade class for an art project and visit to the neighboring nursing home. The language challenges and nerves led to some awkward exchanges … until a very special moment: Bingo. Up until then our kids had been giving — painting the school, filling food bags, being the “American mission trippers.” To play Bingo, each of our students was paired with a Guatemalan student and an elderly resident. Suddenly our students had little to give, relying entirely on their Guatemalan partner to communicate/compete/play the game. After it was over the students began creating their own games, laughing, joking, hugging. It was as though they suddenly realized that, wow, we really are brothers and sisters on this earth. The language barrier no longer mattered. The color of skin and vast cultural differences no longer stood as a barrier. They were family.

On the mile walk back to the school the students — Guatemalan and American — kept laughing and joking and playing. Two even held hands, a friendship secured.

That’s what this trip is all about. We’re not building churches or schools or medical clinics. We’re building relationships. And that’s the best building project of all.

Thank you for your prayers. Adios for now!

Pastor Rhodes

PS There are several ways to follow us these next two weeks. We’ll add a post to this blog every day (feel free to share!). View tons of pictures via our church Facebook page (feel free to share!). And read a special interest story about our students each day on the school website, www.wearegraces.org. Click “blog.”  Thanks for joining our journey!

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