Guatemalan Mission Trip
In August 2013, Peggy D., a member of Christ the King Lutheran Church, participated in a mission trip to provide better vision to Guatemalans, by fitting them with donated eyeglasses. Below is her account of her trip to Guatemala.
I went on a mission trip with Most Ministries of Ann Arbor, Michigan (they work with LCMS churches to coordinate short term mission trips, of various kinds, all over the world.) For more information on Most Ministries, please visit their website at www.mostministries.org
I always knew Guatemala was in Central America, but beyond that, I didn’t have much knowledge. However, I learned on my trip that Guatemala is so much more than a Central American country. Guatemalans are loving, patient, prideful people, the scenery is beautiful; and they have earthquakes (I felt two tremors!) and have many volcanoes (although no activity there while I was in the country!)
I participated in an eyeglass mission trip. My team, 1311, was to collect 3000 pairs of glasses for the mission; these glasses will be used by a future team. I went with the team from my daughter’s church in Olathe, Kansas. We left KCI on Friday, August 2; met up with the rest of the team in Guatemala City and started on our adventure. We worked with an interpreter who attends the Lutheran Church of Guatemala (associated with the LCMS). We were all assigned a duffle bag that contained all the materials (glasses, testing charts, eyeglass cases, etc.) to set up an eyeglass clinic in Guatemala.
Our first two eye glass clinics were in a Lutheran Church in San Marcos. The people started lining up at 6:30am to be seen at our clinic!! Those waiting in line never lost patience, were dressed in their “best” clothes, and always had a smile, no matter how long they had to wait. We saw 375 people in two days and fitted 425 pair of glasses We also spread the Word of God through VBS and evangelism and the New Testament (thanks to a team member who is a member of Gideon’s, International), who brought Spanish translations of the New Testament).
The next two days we were in the Mayan village of Chajabal, a very poor village. They cook over open fire and wash their dishes in a hole in the ground. We held our clinic in the Lutheran School, adjacent to the Lutheran Church. During those two days, we saw all of the school children/staff and 130 of the townspeople. At the end of the second day of clinic in Chajabal, we joined them for church. I didn’t understand a lot, but to see the people so happy worshiping the Lord was awesome!
The following day, Wednesday, was our day off. The teams usually have Sunday off, but the San Marcos church thought another eye glass clinic was more important. On our day off we visited the Inter-American School in Quetzaltenango. It is run by missionaries. One of our team members and her husband were missionaries at this school nineteen years ago. We also visited the Tranquility Coffee Plantation, run by retired missionaries of the Inter-American School. We learned how to grow and process coffee to the bags we see on the shelf. The coffee is very good!
The following day we held a clinic at Eagles Nest in Sololá. Eagles Nest used to be a country club; it sits high on a hill overlooking Lago De Atitlan (Lake Atitlan) with two large volcanoes just beyond. Just beautiful to look at! We had all of the school children, the orphanage children and staff go through that clinic. Late in the day two security guards came through our clinic to be fitted for glasses; after they had been fitted the two men stood out in the grass under the shade of a tree, one man put on his glasses, he nudged the other to do the same, pointing out toward the amazing world that lay before them. There, these two strong men stood, taking all the sights in with such innocence and awe, finally really SEEING the wonders of God’s creation through the new lenses that we, as a team, were able to give them. It was a very powerful image of the good that God gives through this ministry.
The final day, we were in Antigua; taking in the sights and getting ready to leave the following morning.
This trip took me on an emotional ride! All those that came to our clinics were very patient, dressed in their “best’ clothes and always had a smile on their face. There were very happy moments and very sad moments! We, sadly, could not help everyone; those with eye diseases such as cataracts, cancers and pterygium needed more than we could provide, but nonetheless, they maintained a positive attitude! After our clinics, the church fathers in San Marcos were approached by seven families who wanted to be baptized; this was very heartwarming to hear!
One of the most moving moments was when a gentleman, about 90 years old, who learned to read in his younger day, came through the clinic in Chajabal. His poor eyesight had prevented him from reading as he advanced in age; after he put on his new glasses and got his New Testament, he stopped to sit under a tree and read his Bible (it brought tears to the eyes of all who saw it)!
This experience was one I will never forget and I would like to thank all those who remembered me in their prayers as I traveled, and I am so very thankful to have been given this magnificent opportunity!
If you would like to hear more about my trip and experiences, I will be giving a presentation after worship on Sunday, September 15, 2013.
Local Mission Work through Christ the King:
God’s word tells us that being a Christian steward means that we have both the privilege and the responsibility of managing all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes. God provides for us so that we may be able to help our neighbors when they are in need.
Christ the King specifically supports the Caring Hands Outreach Center (link below) serving the Southeast Polk area. Through their Food Pantry and Clothes Hanger, assistance is given to those in need. Members volunteer at the center and food stuffs are gathered for distribution on Food Pantry Sundays. The second Sunday of each month is Food Pantry Sunday at Christ the King (although we will not turn away a donation on a different Sunday). We collect and transport all foods collected to the Caring Hands Food Pantry in Altoona.
Aho Ma-ona, Hinigraga egi Wowakajungra
Earthmaker Son and Holy Spirit
Words to opening prayer in Ho Chunk, the language of the Winnebago Tribe
Lich‘ihkbaaliash balee‘ichisshak diaitchik
First Worker loves us and does it well
B‘aa-kuu-kku-leesh bi-lax-p‘aa-ke xa- x‘ua ‘l –chi- sshe ii A HE HE LE
Because the One Above loves all people
D‘aak- ba- chee a-w‘e kuss-d‘eeh –chek A HE HE LE
He sent His Son to earth
Hem bi-lax- p‘aa-kam D‘aak-ba-chee koon ka- l‘at-lak A HE HE LE
therefore when someone believes His Son
sh‘ee- ssaah- maa- chih- taa A HE HE LE
he shall not die
bi-lax-p‘aa- ke baa-koo-chih-t‘e ko‘oh-maa-chik A HE HE LE
he will live forever.
Words to a song in Apsaalooke,(apsoralkae) the language of the Crow Tribe.
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”…. So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ. Romans 10:14-16. Faith is created only through the word proclaimed.
The American Indian makes up less than 1% of the United States population, and 95% of them do not know Jesus as their Personal Savior. Native American peoples have the highest birthrate in the U.S, meaning, there are a lot of children in many communities needing baptized and to know the Lord. They also have the shortest life expectancy of any group in the U.S, about 50 years, and this means there is at least 25 fewer years to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Native People make up the smallest ethnic group in the U.S, and that makes them a people who are easily forgotten and little understood.
There are 550 federally-recognized tribes and a good number of non-recognized groups; various cultural differences, and hundreds of languages spoken throughout “Indian Country.” Where native languages are not strong, they still affect the use of English and leading to somewhat unique syntaxes, grammars and vocabularies. Just like any other peoples group, they don’t care what you know until they know you care. Building relationships with time and presence builds trust, bridges, and opens doors to hearing about God’s love and forgiveness through His One and Only Son Jesus Christ. Raising up leaders in the community to proclaim Jesus Christ is top priority. Having VBS at the Crow Fair each year brings God’s love front and center to countless people. Helping fold the flag of a Fallen Warrior for the surviving loved one at the Winnebago Veterans Memorial Pow Wow is second to none and provides ample opportunity to share my faith and witness the Holy Spirit at work. Sharing Jesus Christ crucified dead, buried and raised and lives while attending a sweat on a Northern Montana reservation is a memory of a lifetime.
God has a plan! He wants all men, from all the nations to come to the knowledge of the truth. God really desires that everyone, no matter the color of their skin, their language or their culture, would believe in Jesus as their Savior. Please pray for Native American Ministries and the Pow Wow Highway at Christ The King. For more on Lutheran Indian Ministries go to www.lutheranmissionariesandpilots.org.
Links to other organizations that help in our backyard: