Living The High Life

This morning we all got up at 5 o'clock to get ready to go on the Mirador climb, except Ann and Judy. Moisus, our guide, met us at the door of the castle at 6am. We then walked to the base of the volcanic ridge we would be climbing. Standing at the base of it looking up it seemed impossible but, with all of our determination and God given strength we began our trek up the mountain. It started out pretty easy but we still had to take breaks for pictures and water (also to catch our breath). There were a lot of steep hills along the path so we had to be careful not to slip. We got to the half way point and took a break, and that was when the real climb actually began. It was a much bigger incline than before, which made it much more challenging. However, we followed the guide up the mountain and never slowed down. It was hard work, but eventually we made it to the top. After the girls got all their fancy pictures we got ready to go back down. As we made our way back, I got to lead …

Guat Girls Unite

For the majority of the week, we have discussed how we are here to build meaningful relationships with the people of San Lucas. What we did not expect was how we would also end up building closer relationships with the very people we came to Guatemala with. Today specifically, us five girls took the extra time we had between activities, to discuss some of the daily issues in our lives and some of the difficult experiences we have been through. We talked about overcoming the loss of friendships and dear loved ones, the struggles with our faith, and how we have grown stronger from these experiences. Sharing these topics with each other brought us even closer together, knowing we have all dealt with very similar issues.

Coming home from this mission trip, we will be forever grateful that we have built closer relationships with the strangers we now call friends, as well as with people who we already call our friends.

~ The Guat Girls

Ode to Renée

Disclaimer: No humor was inserted in this blog. Our deepest apologies.

Renée. A guy who is generally a man of few words, but when grateful, speaks louder than anyone else in the room. Today, a group of us got to help a man named Renée in building a retaining wall for the school children nearby. This included us mixing and hauling buckets full of concrete from the top of the wall down to him. We carried the same mixture, walked the same path, handed it to the same man, and always heard one simple word. "Gracias." This is what Renée would say to us after every bucket was handed to him which, may we add, was about 30 times.

When Renée expressed his gratitude by thanking us every time, we could genuinely feel how much he appreciated our hard work. Sometimes, we get so caught up in life and materialistic things that we forget just how big the little things can be. We forget that a simple "thank you" or even a smile can go a long way. Thankfully, we have people like René…

Workin' Hard or Hardly Workin'?

It was a beautiful morning while sitting down to eat breakfast at the mission; people were sipping the delicious JuanAna coffee, the dish crew was helping get breakfast set out, and the birds were chirping (yes, even the roosters!!). However, something seemed different. Something was off. It didn't feel right. After lots of critical thinking, we came to the conclusion that there was a lot more coffee in the pot than usual, which could only mean that one of our group members was missing. Who is this group member, you may ask? Well, that would be Colton, also known as the only one of our members who can drink 5 cups of coffee in one sitting!! When Sven decided to go and get Colton, we learned that he woke up at 8:10, even though breakfast starts at 8:00. Tsk tsk.

After breakfast, our group (Lindsay, Hannah, Colton, Ms. Christy & Ms. Deutsch) returned to the town, "Nueva Vida," and helped a man build his home by nailing wood boards together to create walls. Lindsay and …

In a Land Far Far Away

"Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, ........ Knock, knock, knock ...... Knock, knock, knock, knock"

It's 6:30am and Sven Leverson wakes up five tired and "jet-lagged" girls. He tries to persuade them to walk up to the roof to see the beautiful city and sky, unfortunately a simple "okay" did not convince him they were up, so he let them fall back asleep for another good 30 minutes. At breakfast we said prayer and dug into the delicious meal, while having a good laugh as we discussed our morning thus far.

In a short while we were split into groups of five and were directed off to our worksites. Sven, Pam, Lindsay, Madison, and Angeli rode in the back of a truck for roughly twenty minutes to our site, passing the beautiful cemetery, mountains, and people. We arrived in the town of Nueva Vida, translating to "new life", and were greeted gracefully by the people who lived there. At our site we dug holes, at first using a machete to do so, for the…

Up, Up, and Away

"Goooooood morning, travelers! It is 4:30 am and we are on our way to the airport, so let's look alive!"
We arrived at the airport nice and early at 5:15 am to make sure that we had plenty of time to get through security, however, only to find out that the majority of us had received pre-check with our plane tickets (thanks Mrs. Deutsch and we're sorry Colton, Pamela, Sven & Ms. Christy!). Once we were all reunited, we went to the gate and waited for this amazing trip to begin. We had a layover in Texas, where we then hopped on another plane which brought us to Guatemala City. After we had landed and got through customs, we were so excited to be able to walk around and stretch after being on a plane for so long. Little did we know that we would then be riding in a van from Guatemala City to San Lucas for another 3 hours!! Throughout the ride there was a lot of pouring rain, extremely close lightning, and not the best road conditions. However, it was a wonderful e…

Donations Needed

My first trip to San Lucas was in 2006.  Upon meeting Father Greg, you just knew that there was something very special about that man.  I was moved by a story that he told about his early days at the mission.  I don't recall the nature of the disaster (likely a mudslide), but Father described the heart of the people of San Lucas, who filled trucks with the little corn that they had and delivered it to others who had just lost everything- even though it would mean that their own families would go hungry.  If you feel moved, please consider donating to the disaster relief fund, started by the people of the Mission of San Lucas, at this Friends of San Lucas donation link.  Thank you!