A Travel Log – MOPS Guatemala
I boarded my flight at the Denver International airport which took me to Houston and then to my final destination of Guatemala. It was a beautiful summer day with a typical bright Colorado blue sky. Anticipation for me was high.
As the plane took off, I was sitting next to a sweet mom and her little boys who literally squealed like they were on a roller coaster and began cheering loudly as we ascended into the sky. Their giggles were fun and contagious. It was obvious this was their first time flying and their mom confirmed they had been excited for this moment for weeks. They slept most of the flight and awakened in time for the descent which they approached with equal enthusiasm, clapping and laughing as they landed. They were so excited to see their family they had never met in Guatemala. My friend Christie and I shared in the joy and left the plane excited to see our friends too.
We were met with hugs and love from our dear friend Monica, who is our global ministry partner for MOPS in Latin America. As we were exiting the terminal we saw the sweet family from the plane being greeted by what looked to be a whole village of people. Some dressed in traditional Mayan clothing bearing treasures of flowers, balloons and gifts. Those little boys were being smothered in hugs and kisses and I loved this start to our time in beautiful Guatemala.
We were welcomed into Monica’s home with such hospitality. Her two kiddos gave up their rooms for Christie and I to stay and we were showered with beautiful gifts of flowers, coffee, and treats from Guatemala. White chocolate covered coffee beans topping the list.
Up early and off to the mountains where we climbed a volcano. Guatemala is a country with beautiful scenery and volcanos both active and inactive dot the landscape. We climbed Volcano de Pacaya. The day was overcast yet the views were still breathtaking. I felt challenged by the physical climb but also challenged by the freedom I felt as I took in the scenery around me. God’s creation is overwhelming at times. Often in my busy American life I don’t take the time to really look at the beauty around me and I live in the beautiful state of Colorado. I vowed to make time to notice.
Evening came and I had the honor of speaking at a local church in Guatemala City. I joined them for a special Women’s event focusing on kindness. This church is doing great things in their community. Monica’s parents are the pastors and it was a very special evening. I was struck by how similar this event was to ones we put on in our church in Denver. The nuances of women felt very universal this evening complete with saving seats for friends and excitement over fun door prizes and yummy food. For me I was again amazed to hear women of all ages share their stories of bravery and trust in God. Their commitment to showing kindness to the world. I was given a beautiful pair of pearl earrings as a gift,a treasure I will keep to remind me of this very special evening.
Speaking to a group of pastors from around Guatemala and sharing with them the vision and strategy of MOPS. One pastor and his wife rode on a bus for four hours to get to this meeting. They took pages of notes and were very inquisitive about the MOPS ministry. It was so great to have the opportunity to talk with them. They left that morning excited about MOPS and what partnering with this ministry could bring to the moms in the villages of Guatemala.
Next stop was the venue where the leadership summit would take place. Christie and I rolled up our sleeves and easily resumed the roles we perform in Colorado. Christie diligently setting the tables perfectly and I creating floral arrangements. We transformed the event center into a beautiful and inviting room. It was so fun to work alongside our ministry partners in Guatemala.
The evening brought us back to Monica’s home and a wonderful dinner with the leaders of MOPS Guatemala. Each lady brought a dish that they are famous for. Such a fun way to say “pot luck”. Each dish was so delicious and the conversation was incredible as they shared their hopes and dreams of what MOPS meant to them and how they wanted to be involved in the future. Tears and laughter, hopes and prayers were shared. I slept so well that night.
All of the months of preparing and praying and today was the day. A great crowd of leaders joined us for this incredible day of dreaming and learning. I was so impressed with the speakers I shared the stage with and impressed with the leaders in the audience who were diligently taking notes and interacting with each other and those of us who were teaching.
As I finished the day, a sweet young woman approached me with a hand written note of thanks and talked about a part of the talk I gave and how it spoke to her heart. I was overwhelmed by her kindness to me but also to God because the part of the story she was referring to I had been stuck on during my preparation time. I remember sitting on my back patio and asking God to help me think of stories that I could share that could easily be translated into Spanish and also that would be impactful. A story was brought to mind and that was the story that spoke to her heart. We serve an amazing God!
Another highlight for me from this day was when Monica asked each leader to write her dream for MOPS on a piece of paper. They were then instructed to pin it on a message board and then we prayed over them. I took a picture of this board and to most it would just look like pieces of paper pinned to a message board but for me it signified the hopes and dreams of a nation, of women who believe with all their hearts that better moms make a better world.
We celebrated the success of the last few days with chips and guacamole.
Always hard to say goodbye to those you love. I am so thankful God placed Monica in my life and that we are able to partner in ministry together. MOPS is growing and flourishing in Latin America. Truly a privilege to be a part of it all.