Thank you for praying for orphaned and vulnerable kids in Guatemala. This summer, college student Haley spent time there, loving and serving the kids in our care. She writes—

 

I just returned from spending 8 weeks in Guatemala.

Specifically, I stayed at Village of Hope, a ministry of Lifesong, and had the privilege of teaching 2 English classes, 2 P.E. classes, and a business class. I also tutored.

The team at Village of Hope is providing vulnerable children and young adults with a safe place to live, a good education, opportunities to grow, and a nurturing environment in which to learn about Christ.

 

 

My Two Reasons for Going

Originally, I hoped to accomplish two things during my time in Guatemala: I wanted to go somewhere where I could grow and practice my Spanish. And I wanted to go somewhere where I could ultimately show people the love of Christ.

I had heard of Village of Hope over the years, and the more I learned about it, the more I fell in love with their mission:

to give faith, family, and a future to young vulnerable mothers and orphans with special needs in Guatemala while ministering to the local community.

From the moment I made the decision to go, I felt peace and genuine excitement. More than anything, I wanted to be intentional with my time there. I was excited for how God was going to use and grow me during that time. And I expected to feel nervous or overwhelmed in the days leading up to traveling, or even the first few days in Guatemala, but those feelings never came.

I prayed beforehand for God to show me where He wanted me to focus my time and effort. I wanted to be all in and fully there with everything I had.

 

My favorite memories from the trip

I could share several different stories of the children who deeply impacted me during my time there. One that immediately comes to mind is a brave, 11-year-old girl who gave birth while I was at Village of Hope. Through circumstances out of her control, she found herself taking care of her new baby girl, and I got to see her thrive in this new role. She is mature, kind, and loves everyone around her.

Another favorite memory was playing soccer with the kids after school. The pure joy and giggles from the kids brought me so much joy.

I loved watching my 8- to 10-year-olds in English class grow and learn about Jesus and the world in which they are living.

 

 

My proudest moment from my time in Guatemala was watching one of my 10-year-old students pray before chapel in front of the whole community. Her heart and love for others spoke for itself and gave glory to God.

Being at Village of Hope changed my perspective of how I view people. I realize that my life and my purpose is all about God and people. John Mark Comer says it like this—

Our job is to make the invisible God visible—to mirror and mimic what He is like to the world. We can glorify God by doing our work in such a way that we make the invisible God visible by what we do and how we do it.

 

What I learned

I came back with a new perspective of learning how we as busy people in life need to rest. We need rest and we need to unplug. Too often, I get so caught up in the busyness of life that I’m not available or able to see where God wants to use me. I want to better carve out time to spend with Him, rest, and reflect. And I invite you to join me in these goals.

 

 

I’m so thankful for this experience this summer. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking about serving somewhere away from home. Personally, I think that you can’t go on a trip like this and not grow in some way.

If you are considering spending time serving overseas, do it! There are countless excuses you can make as to why you shouldn’t or can’t go, or don’t feel capable of going. Trust me, I know these are real. But oh, how going is good for growth and makes for a wonderful experience. Don’t let fears stop you. Be open to how and when God wants to use you and your life for His kingdom.

 

*Check out Lifesong internship opportunities and use your talents to make a tangible difference for Christ in communities around the world.

 

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