by Jaelynn Vert, Great Lakes Christian College Student
About the trip
Students and staff left for Chichicastenango, Guatemala on February 21st and made it back to their Lansing, Michigan homes in the earliest hours of March. The days in between included smooth travel, building houses, singing songs, loving kids, and so much more. I doubt a blog will be able to capture it all!
Over the course of our trip we helped with two different build projects. The first build was for a widow, Manuela, who had many children to shelter. The second build was for two widows, a mother and a daughter, who took care of each other. The mother’s name was also Manuela and the daughter’s name was Mikayla.
It is important for us to build the houses with them instead of for them. We want to encourage them and make the project fun! After the house was finished we sat inside and talked with them. We read them the story of Zacchaeus and told them about Christ’s loving sacrifice. Our translator helped us with this and also relayed their stories back to us. We learned about their daily lives, their family, and their faith. The widows we met on our second build had very good friends who frequently help them and encourage them to call out to God in their distress. They were a husband and wife named Thomas and Maria. We had the opportunity to pray for Thomas’s healing after he told us he had been sick with epilepsy for ten years. Cross Cultural Ministry major, Emily Cherry described it saying, “physically we were just building a house, but God used it in a much bigger way.” We also gave them a lock and key, an audio bible, food, and blankets. We make it clear that these are gifts from God, not us. After the builds we returned on a later day to wash their feet, give them shoes, and say a final goodbye.
In the evenings we attended local Christian programs that function much like a Vacation Bible School. Kids go to sing songs, hear a Bible lesson, and bring food home to their families. Our job is to have fun with them! We also visited some of these kiddos in their homes.
All of this is made possible by Manos de Jesus.
This ministry brings in groups all year to build more houses, restore already built houses, wash feet, and participate in all the things that they are doing on campus, such as weekly shoe giveaways. They provide comfortable housing and meals so that we can work to the best of our abilities during the day. Groups experience a unique mission trip because they are participating in something so much greater than themselves. Even though we left Guatemala, the mission is continuously being carried out. If you want to learn more about what Manos de Jesus does follow this link. http://prayamerica.org/
Mission Trip Opportunities
Great Lakes Christian College is passionate about giving students opportunities to serve overseas at least once a year. Many alumni work as full-time missionaries, giving the school plenty of connections. Another group was scheduled to go to Chile March 29- April 4, but the trip was cancelled due to coronavirus precautions. While we are disappointed, we anticipate more opportunities to participate in missions in the years to come. If you have always wanted to go on a mission trip you will find that specific opportunity among many others at Great Lakes Christian College!