Hola amigos! On January 27th, we had the opportunity to make our way to Panajachel for our very first build project! That’s not the only thing this week had in store for us though: we went zip lining, learned how to use our bartering skills in the market, took the plunge into the beautiful Lake Atitlan, and learned how to make our own tortillas (NOT as easy as you might think). This week was one full of learning and growing, much like most weeks on Outtatown.
We worked with an organization called Solomon’s Porch to begin the process of building a house for a single mother and her daughter who have not had the easiest life. The mother, Natalia, and her daughter, Alaina, are the only ones left of their immediate family. There were two other children who unfortunately passed away, and the father has deserted them. Natalia has severe arthritis and is bed ridden for the most part, and twelve-year old Alaina has just completed grade one. We arrived at the job site eager to work, serve this family, and show them God’s wonderful grace. The first day we worked hard, and made good progress, however, cousins and friends of the family steadily started showing up, and so a few people took some time off their jobs to play with the children. This pattern kept continuing throughout the days, and meanwhile we were completing jobs faster than they could give them to us! By the last day we had children show up, and almost no jobs left, so we took time off to entertain the kids. At first I felt a sense of guilt, like I should be working more, doing more. However, missions work isn’t just about trying to build a house as fast as you can, by moving more cement blocks, or making more of the foundation. Its also about the relationships that are built on the job site. It’s just as important to communicate with the family, take time to know them and love them, as it is to do the manual labour involved with the job. While the family needs the house, they also need to be shown God’s love and mercy as well.
While this week was somewhat tiring, it was one where we had the opportunity to give rather than receive. Too often while doing things for other people we don’t put as much focus on giving as we do on what we will receive, how we will be seen, or what we get out of the experience. Philippians 2: 3-4 says ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or of vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of the others.’ This explains very well the posture which we are to take on during service opportunities.
All in all, this past week as an excellent learning opportunity for all of us. Thanks so much for your support, and prayers.
-Cassidy on behalf of Site 1, Guatemala