Guatemala Day 1-Foreign Exchange (by Rachael)

As is usually the case in Guatemala, today tested the limits of our emotional and physical strength.  I. Am. Exhausted. 

We started the morning by visiting one of the Compassion projects on the outskirts of Guatemala City.  There are currently 200 kids who participate in the after school/weekend program.  50 kids still need sponsors.  Interested?  We can hook you up. 

The highlight of the morning was visiting Shawn and Wendy’s sponsor child, Samuel.  Samuel’s mother is 27.  27!  That’s only a year older than Nate, but she looks like she’s about 40.  Her three children were wonderfully behaved and thrilled with the bubbles, princess boa, chocolate milk, and matchbox cars that Shawn and Wendy brought for them. 


(Nate the Clown trying to get the family to smile for the pictures)

P1070509(It worked.) 

We spent the afternoon at Eliza Martinez.  While Jody, Wendy, Shawn, and Adam were teaching the kids how many times each day to brush their teeth and how often they needed to wash their hands, Nate and I were locked in a back office printing off pictures of the boys. 


Every time we come, we bring a gift for each boy from his Foreign Exchange amigo.  We’ve brought pencil boxes filled with goodies, watches, and pizza.  This time, each family sent a photo album with family pictures and some fun flat gifts that could be stuffed in the album pages—candy, stickers, postcards, and handwritten notes.


The boys love photos of themselves, so we also wanted to make sure each boy had at least one picture of himself in his album.  We did as much of the prep work at home as we could.  However, as is usually the case at EM, about 25 boys from last time had left and 25 new boys were there to take their places. This meant that Nate and I had about an hour of printing to do before we could share the gifts with the boys.


I love hearing Nate tell the boys that their “amigos” have pictures of the boys on their refrigerators.  These people love them. They pray for them.  They consider them part of their families.  I have no idea how this must make these parentless boys feel.  But what I do know is that the albums were great gifts.  For a group that has the collective attention span of about ten seconds, each album got at least a minute’s worth of attention.  🙂 The boys swapped albums, so they could see each other’s pictures.  They had us look through them one, two, or even three times.  They wanted to hear stories about the people in the pictures.P1070593

Although our Foreign Exchange adventures are always more chaotic, messy, and crazy than I plan, they always seem to make the boys feel loved.  And if we succeed in letting each boy know that he has at least one person in the world who is absolutely crazy about him, then we’ve done what we came to do.


2 thoughts on “Guatemala Day 1-Foreign Exchange (by Rachael)”

  1. Hey Nate and Rachael. Just wanted to say hey and thanks for the blogs. I’ve been checking to see how things are going. It warms my heart to your stories and pictures with Dani and the boys at EM. Not only are you putting big smiles on the boys faces but God has to have the biggest smile of all. God is so awesome and blessed to have such loving and devoted faithful followers. Love and Many Blessings, Brad

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