Pushing Through the Proverbial Wall

Today was our first full day in Guatemala City. To be honest, I think many of us are hitting the proverbial wall.

For the past week, we have helped pastors and churches in Jalapa. It was a very full week! And now we are in Guatemala City until Thursday working at an orphanage – of sorts.

I felt like I was completely out of energy – until I FaceTimed Kim. After spending about 30 minutes with her, I was ready to go again. (Even though I’m enjoying this incredible mission experience, I can’t wait to be with my wife and boys again!)

Essentially, while here in Guatemala City, we will do VBS and a few other things but our primary job is just to spend time with the children (primarily orphans).

Many of their stories are so sad – but they continue to have smiles and love the attention that we give. One young boy told me yesterday, while holding my hand, “No tengo mama” which means, “I don’t have a mom.” (My heart sinks just writing that.)

This afternoon, we made a run to one of the Walmarts in town to get food and supplies for 250 children and adults. We would feed them supper this evening.

A lot of work was put into the meal. April Alexander lead many on our team to cook the meat, cut up the tomatoes and lettuce, get the drinks ready, and everything else needed to serve the children when they arrived at 6:30 PM.

For about 45 minutes, it was organized chaos trying to feed all of the children as they came in. But the assembly line in the kitchen and those who served the tables proved to work wonderfully well!

After the meal was over, a young boy named “Emma” (short for Emanuel) reached up to grab my hand as he said “Vamanos” (Let’s go.) We had become friends yesterday and he’s made it a point to yell out my name (Mateo) each time he sees me. This evening, he just wanted to go for a walk with me.

So I decided to sit down on some steps and capture a moment with him on my phone.

After that, we walked back to the building where our team is staying. He and I sat down and other children started to gather around. I took these pictures with Emma and a young girl who wanted to be in the picture.

The need to belong, to be loved, and to be accepted is a powerful force inside each of us. Many of these children have been robbed of those basic emotional needs by the sins of their parents or tragedy. It’s so incredibly rewarding to allow God to use us to try to meet some of those needs – if only temporarily.

I am so grateful that they are in a Christian organization that will daily seek to meet their spiritual needs as well.

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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