by Phyllis Austin
What a joy it has been to be part of this all inspiring mission. I expected to come to lend a hand and experience a new culture however, the experience has been far beyond my expectations. Shawn and Damaris do an excellent job of considering everyone’s needs and creating a very welcoming, comfortable and loving environment for all and obviously this brings out the best in people.
The volunteers come from all parts of the USA and come with open hearts and minds and the people of Guatemala extend their entire heart. The smiles are constant and the giving seems endless.
I have naturally been touched by some very special moments. One in particular was while working on a stove crew. Being novices at this project, we had cut too large a whole in the roof where the stove was being installed and though we tried to fix it we had to call for a more skilled person to correct our mistake. Meanwhile the owner, a very gentile and gracious lady was a little concerned but very trusting and patient and even tried to help us herself with her own tools. Communication was also difficult because of our limited spanish. This delightful woman and her children basically live in a kind of tin shack yet she seemed to want to assure us everything would be ok.
A day or two later I met this lady at the Orphanage when she came to pick up her children from VBS and she came over to hug me and gestured that everything was fixed and she had cooked on the stove. She spoke at length in Spanish and I did not understand a word but I understood completely her message. She was sharing her love and gratitude. I would say that is the main thing I received throughout the week, love and gratitude, from the children, the staff, the volunteers, and the villagers. God has blessed all whose lives have been touched by this Mission including mine.