By: Deb Freece
Who would have thought that coming to Guatemala for a mission trip to help others, would cure my OCD! Even though this is my eighth mission trip to Guatemala, it only took one, the first one, to give me an unexpected gift. You see, I had always been a perfectionist. I had always wanted everything in it’s place, always wanted everything clean at all times, etc. You get the picture.
Coming to a third world country really opened my eyes to a world that I had only read about. I had often gotten upset over a scratch on my shoe. The people who we came to serve in a small mountain village had HOLES in THEIR shoes, shoes that were too small, or no shoes at all! I had obsessed with the least bit of dirt on my hardwood floors. The villagers ONLY HAD dirt to make up their floors! I would get upset if someone blew smoke in my face. I saw first hand that these Guatemalans LIVED in smoke most of their day, having only open fires in their huts to cook their food. Clothing that I wore always had to be cleaned and pressed. These villagers had to collect rain in barrels to clean their clothes, no washing machines, no irons. I could go on and on about our contrasting life styles, but one thing really stuck out to me; in many villagers’ homes, which were extremely small by the way, there was a dedicated area for a shrine honoring our Lord, and savior, Jesus Christ. Even though these families had so little, they still loved their Lord. I have always considered myself a Christian but soon realized that the energy that I exerted throughout my daily life was directed in all the wrong ways.
I learned that the important things in this life weren’t a house without dust, clothing without wrinkles, or a lawn with no weeds. The important thing for me was to put my time into helping my brothers and sisters in Christ, to help those less fortunate, have better lives. So instead of dusting, cleaning, washing and weeding to extreme, I started to stock food pantries, make meals for the sick, collect donations for mission trips and rebuild homes.
I wish those most fortunate, would experience what I had in a country like Guatemala and the world would be a better place. Thank you Guatemala. Thank you for curing my OCD, and thank you for teaching me the things that really matter in life.