San Miguel Dueñas - Day 1 [Blog]

By: Shayna Duncan

This first day in Guatemala has been absolutely amazing. I’ve had this great privilege to see and experience the Guatemalan culture, and be a part of the mission. Being able to witness the love here gives me an amazing feeling of hope. I’ve met people with beautiful personalities that have shown such gratefulness. I am looking forward to the work ahead of us, and I know God will be with all of us every step of the way.

As soon as we arrived at the donation center, we were greeted and able to watch such kind Guatemalans perform outstanding music, dances, and acts as a way to welcome and thank us for the work we will be doing throughout the week. One way the performers cheerfully expressed their love for us was by giving us the gift of music, and I feel truly blessed to be able to have such love and joyfulness surrounding me. Young Guatemalans played all sorts of instruments, giving off a joyous feeling and marvelous sounds that put many people around us in a good mood. There were uplifting dances that went along with the music, and they allowed us to see a part of the Guatemalan culture that we have been brought into. The dances were shown by two people in extremely large puppet costumes, who were dressed in flowing, Guatemalan outfits.

We were also able to experience another cultural act that included a sweet child, Javier, in a creative, handmade bull costume and great children waving flags so the bull would chase them around. Those moments were full of laughter and excitement from those who were performing, as well as our mission group and others watching on the side of the road. I was in awe at the miraculous dedication the people put into these acts of kindness, and after talking at worship about instances where we have seen the Lord, I realized how Christ could be seen through each and every one of the people around me.

The Guatemalans that we came here to serve have also shown us how grateful they are by accepting us in their homes and giving us their love and grace. It was easy to see the love and joy in the eyes of those who received the stove my group installed today. During the prayer before we left the home, one of the ladies who lived in the home started to tear up from how grateful she was to receive this stove. Although we were not able to completely finish installing the stove due to the rain, the people in the home still showed us great love and grace, which left me feeling grateful.

Almost everywhere I went today, I met and interacted with someone new. I had an amazing time playing with the small children at the donation center, talking to people I hadn’t met yet but were on this mission trip, and greeting Guatemalans that I saw throughout the day. It gave me a new perspective where I could see that you don’t have to speak the same language as someone to have a conversation with them, play games with them, or spread God’s grace and love to them. Being with the families was very comforting because of how they cared for us. We are here to bring joy to those around us, and I’m extremely excited to experience more of the Lord’s amazing grace while being here.

-Shayna Duncan