by Maggie Funk
My name is Maggie and this is my second year doing the Guatemala mission trip. They say nothing is quite the same the second time you do something. While that may be true, doing the mission trip in Guatemala the second time around means just as much to me as the first. For whoever decided at the last minute not to come or was thinking about coming, even if you dont speak any spanish, or are anti-social, have no traveling experience, or no faith in god, I promise you, you will fall in love with something here.
Last year I met a boy at the orphanage named Franklin, he’s twelve years old now and has a good sense of humor. When I first met him I taught him a trick using a hair tie. You rap the hair tie around your fingers and do something with your thumb that makes it spin around your finger really fast. This year, he came up to me and saw that I had a hair tie on my wrist and asked if he could see it. I handed it to him and he did the trick I taught him a year ago! I couldn’t believe he still remembered. It made me realize how much the people of the mission really mean to the kids at the orphanage. They look forward to our visits every year. So many of them have horrible memories of their families and don’t know what it feels like to be loved. At first you are overwhelmed by the swarm of kids who will just come up to you and embrace you even though they have never met you before in their lives. They constantly ask for attention and to be held. It breaks your heart leaving because you ask yourself, who’s going to hold them, who’s going to tuck them into bed, who’s going to love them as much as I did.
The first day we were at the orphanage, the kids put on a concert for us. They played songs on the marimba, piano, and bells, It must have taken them weeks to learn the songs. We all piled into the little chapel to watch and listen. During the entire concert, Franklin was smiling at me while he was playing his songs. I felt like a sister watching her younger brother at his band concert. I was his family member there for him and only him.
I started sponsoring Franklin last year right after we got back. We sent gifts over the summer and never heard if our kids had received them. This year I asked him while working on the girls home, if he had received the shirts we sent for him. He looked confused but then told me to wait a second. Ten minutes later he comes running down the mountain from the boys home with his friend. I realized Franklin was wearing one of the shirts we got him and he made his friend put on the other. We were all laughing so hard that I couldnt keep my hand steady to take a picture of them.
This year I brought my dad along for his first mission trip ever. I was kind of nervous that he wouldn’t enjoy it his first time as much as I did. The first day at the orphanage, all the people of the mission went into the chapel to hear a speech and two little boys walked in with us. During the speech, I looked back at my dad and saw that he had become the jungle gym of the two little boys. They were climbing all over him but he didn’t mind. He was laughing and playing along with them. The look on his face told me that he was experiencing the same things I did my first time doing the mission.