A few weeks ago, Scot Longyear asked our team from April to share a bit about our Guatemala trip with the rest of the church. The main question he asked was, “What kind of return did you see when you invested in this week?”
It took Nate awhile to warm up to the question. He tends to think of words like “return” and “investment” in a financial sense. In the financial world, you pour in resources with the expectation that it will benefit your bottom line.
But our trips to Guatemala aren’t about personal gain, even though the personal gain is great. Every time we go, we see God differently, love His people more passionately, and pray more desperately. We have fun, grow closer to each other and God, and receive the blessings God gives when we seek to follow and serve Him. However, if these “returns” were our motivation for going, we’d burn out quickly and be frustrated more easily when the “payoff” wasn’t what we expected it to be. It wouldn’t work. It shouldn’t work.
As Nate and I talked about it more, we started thinking of Scot’s question as being not so much about personal investment and gain, but what our investment of time, energy, and service could mean to the kids. As Nate told the congregation, if even one of the boys sees Jesus more clearly or knows God more completely because of our visits, these trips are worth everything we can possibly pour into them.
For my part, I shared a story about a boy named Erick. Throughout the week, Erick and I connected by making ongoing jokes about the baby in his belly. I’d ask him how the baby was, when it was due, and what its name was. As we were getting ready to leave on the last day, Erick was walking beside me, laughing, and rubbing his belly. It was the same old joke, and I didn’t think much of it. Fortunately, one of the translators was walking with us. She told me he wanted to know if I loved him. Somehow I had missed the serious turn in the conversation.
“What?” I asked.
“He wants to know if you love him,” she repeated.
I stopped and looked him in the eye. “Yes,” I told him. ” Yes, of course we love you. We love you very much. We come to visit, because we love you.”
Of all the moments of the week, this one probably hit me the hardest. I imagine all of these boys have this same question, but few are brave enough or able to verbalize it. This is why God has called us to Guatemala. This is why we do the work for Foreign Exchange. This is why families send silly gifts like sunglasses to the boys. We do these things because the boys are desperate to see, hear, and know that someone loves them. And, although the investment on our part seems minimal, the payoff is great.
On that note, we’re excitedly, anxiously, and frantically preparing for our last, pre-baby trip to Guatemala. We leave one week from today (June 14), and Nate’s sister and brother-in-law will be joining us! We need your prayers. Have you heard what has been going on in Guatemala lately? A quick Google search will tell you about the eruption of Pacaya Volcano (the same volcano we climbed last June!), the floods and landslides that came with Tropical Storm Agatha, and a sinkhole the size of a city block that opened up on the outskirts of Guatemala city.
On top of all that, both Nate’s sister and I are pregnant. Christy will be well into her first trimester, and I’ll be well into my third. The midwife is a bit concerned about how traveling will affect the swelling in my legs and it feels like I have a stress fracture (again) in my left foot, so we’d appreciate your prayers for good circulation and plenty of places to kick up our feet and rest.
While we’re there, we ask that you’d invest in us, these kids, and these trips by praying for us each and every day. The return will be far greater than you could imagine or hope.