Today was our last full day here in Guatemala. Even though we weren’t ready for the trip to be over, we still managed to turn today into another incredible one. We arose again to a very early morning (some earlier than others due to some technical difficulties) and headed to a Catholic Mass service in ChiChi. We entered the beautiful church and were met by a congregation of hundreds and a ton of smoke from the incense. The entire service was in Spanish, but it was a thing of beauty. We couldn’t really understand what was going on but we were still able to connect to the service because no matter where in the world, God is always present. It felt incredible to be able to share in the Lord with the people of Guatemala on our final day here.
Following the church service, we then headed to a nearby hotel to rustle up some grub. We made sure to fill our bellies as much as possible because we knew we had a long day ahead of us. After eating, we then had several hours of free time to do as we please. ChiChi is known for its market, so many of us hit the streets and put our bargaining skills to the test. We were able to see and buy numerous different items that the Guatemalans make themselves. It was amazing to see so many people in one place and see all of their own hard work up for sell. Our purchases varied from bracelets to blankets and even jewelry to multi-colored pants and shorts. While some shopped, others took our free time to simply wander and people-watch. There was a nearby cemetery, churches, and tons of people about; so we definitely had plenty of options for exploration. We ended our shopping with some down time at the hotel before departing back to Guatemala City.
Next, we had the chance to see some more of the Guatemalan countryside as we embarked on quite a long bus ride. Even though we were all exhausted and ready to be off the bus, we were still thankful for the ride. This gave us more of an opportunity to enjoy more conversations, some games, and simply soak-in the beautiful landscape. Just by seeing the beauty and scenery of Guatemala assures us of God’s presence here in this country. Upon our arrival back to the city, we checked into Hostal de Don Pedro for our final night. We had the opportunity to enjoy one last dinner out, and even had the chance to meet Emerson’s beautiful baby girl and wife, Sophia and Evelyn. Dinner was amazing as usual, and then we ended our night with a final devotion and reflection.
Devotion gave us all the opportunity to share in all the experiences of the past week. We have been so incredibly humbled and thankful by our time here in Guatemala, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. This group of extraordinary people found a way to share their thoughts, open their hearts, and see god in every moment; in a way that has left me completely amazed. Tonight was probably one of our hardest times of the trip, simply because we knew it was time to say goodbye to this country and our dear, new friends, Emerson and Annie. Annie is an incredible woman who has a gift like no other. She exemplifies what it means to be a friend and has became very close with everyone in the group. Without her, our trip could have never been the same. She knows what it means to live a life led by God and we will always keep her close in our heart. This goes just the same for Emerson. Emerson has taught us more than he will ever know. He is a true man of God and has inspired each and every one of us to live a better life. He has helped open our eyes and hearts to Guatemala and we will never forget the role he played in our incredible journey.
Even though we will be leaving this beautiful country and its people tomorrow, we will be taking it back with us in our hearts. Over the past nine days we have been challenged, humbled, thankful, joy-filled, and so much more. God called us all on this journey for a reason, and we will leave this country with a stronger relationship with Him. The love we shared amongst each other and the Guatemalans is almost unexplainable, but we can’t to share our experiences more with you all back home. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers, and please continue to pray for this country. God has been so present in our lives, this country, and our journey, and our gratitude is beyond words.
See you soon,
Ryan and the 2013 Guatemala Team