Reflections from my Guatemala Mission Trip

I honestly thought that last year's mission trip to Guatemala couldn't be topped, but I was wrong. Last year's trip will always have a very special place in my heart because of how much this small little town has impacted me and the relationships I was able to make with the locals and with those on the trip. The mission trip of 2018 sparked a new flame in my life, a flame of happiness that I don't think will ever be blown out. This happiness has allowed me to do so many things with my life and literally live it to the fullest degree that I possibly can.

However, the long year before this year's trip has had many ups and downs. We all eventually have these ups and downs in life. You think you're at the highest you could ever be and nothing could take that away from you; except sometimes, more often than not, that high begins to fade. After some of my highest points in life, I hit a very low point. An old sadness rekindled inside me that I had already let go of. I didn't know I would ever be at this point in my life again and it came all of the sudden. Looking at it now, I'm happy it came and I'm glad I was able to fight through it and still fight it everyday because this sadness has taught me many things. It has taught me I cannot take my life for granted, nor anyone's, and I need to just love everyone with an open heart. This trip has really allowed me to do this.

I had also set expectations for how I wanted this year's trip to go, but I soon learned that's not how life should work. Making expectations and managing every little detail of life isn't healthy. This trip taught me to just accept what happens in that very moment and love that moment as much as I can. With that, I can say that this trip has allowed me to see that from the dark times there will always come light. I didn't think I would ever find someone I could relate to on such a deep, personal level; yet I did. I didn't make an expectation for that, it just happened. I didn't think I would be talking to the founder of the local women's co-operative and have her open up to me and tell me her life story. After our talk she told me to not feel bad for her or what she has gone through; she said I should be happy for her and see that God has done many things for her and she is in a better place because of it. This woman has taught me that there will always be struggles in life but you can't be ashamed of those struggles and you need to fight for your dreams and never give up. You just need to be positive and proud of yourself; never stop loving yourself and everyone around you. From this trip I've learned that vulnerability is one of the greatest attributes a person needs to live a healthy life. Sometimes it can be scary but you just have to go for it and put yourself out there; and if some people don't accept you for who you are then they aren't meant to be in your life. But for those who do accept you, you need to keep them close; because you never know when your life or theirs will be gone. 

This trip has definitely made me realize how close I've become to God. I used to be immature with my spirituality and angry at God and didn't understand why I'd been picked to have certain things happen to me in my life. But from this I've realized that everyone goes through something or eventually will; and I need to acknowledge that and not assume that no one else has gone through something difficult.

I wasn't as sad this year when I had to leave Guatemala and I finally figured out why; it's because I know deep down I'll definitely be back in this life-changing place I consider a second home.