2 Reasons NOT to Go to Guatemala
1. Don’t go to Guatemala if you do not want to have the little bubble you live in popped.
> I lived in entitled (unknowingly). I deserved a comfortable life. I deserved my car. I deserved my education. I deserved my abundant life. So I thought. It isn’t until you see men digging rocks and dirt from a small creek for 10+ hours a day (regardless of the weather) only to make 10Q’s per day (10Q is approximately $1.43) that you realize those are the people that deserve the life you have. It isn’t until a little girl tries to sell you her stuffed animals to feed her family (who haven’t eaten all day) that you realize all your comforts in life that go beyond your basic needs are truly disgusting and entirely unnecessary because there are so many families who do not have the simplest basic needs met. Our excess can meet someone else’s basic needs of life. We are not entitled to the life we live. We are all wretched black hearted sinners who deserve nothing but death. We are graciously offered the gift of eternal life by our Heavenly Father. We are also chased by His goodness and mercy (psalm 23) all the days of our lives. But I don’t believe that goodness and mercy (whether it comes in the form of a great job, education, a car, etc.) is for us to selfishly keep for ourselves. I believe we were tremendously blessed so that we may tremendously bless others. I am not saying you need to sell your possessions and live in a box. However, I am saying that I have been convicted to watch what I spend money on, watch where I am wasting things (food, money, etc.) and then find a person or organization to bless with my “extra”. And in all honesty, as much as I have this conviction, it is HARD to break a routine of normal life and implement it. I am struggling to apply these concepts that were so heavy on my heart in Guatemala, while living in this society where excess is “okay” to keep to yourself. So join in praying for me; pray God continues to open my eyes to excess that God has blessed me with in order to bless others with; pray God will do the same for you and your family. Key point: If you aren’t ready or don’t want God to unveil your eyes to the selfish abundance and entitled life you live, well, I would say don’t go because it will happen, however, if you really do feel this way, you DEFINITELY need to go.
2. Don’t go to Guatemala (specifically on the internship) if you do not want to realize the selfishness that runs through the core of you.
> I knew humanity was selfish, I just didn’t believe I was “that bad”. By God’s grace, He unveiled my eyes to see that almost every thought, every action, and every intention was selfish to the core. He did this through the “in-house” piece of the internship (the living with 13 other girls piece). He began showing me that even though I am good at putting off a “selfless front” by doing certain chores or what not, deep down, I am either doing it to get glory or I am grumbling and complaining internally. Internally, I made it all about me. I am selfish. I am prideful. I steal God’s glory. I am disgusting. Thanks for boosting the self-esteem Para Servir (bromando, bromando ;)). I am so grateful for the opportunity to live with 13 other women for 6 weeks. I fell in love with the dancing feet, singing voices, encouraging words, sharing clothes, and so much more. And more than those things, I fell in love with the daily opportunity to have my soul shaped like sand paper shapes wood. Shaping and growing can be painful, but I have never regretted it. In the moment, having my eyes opened to my selfishness sucks, but I don’t want to remain the same, I don’t want to live a stagnant life with no growth, I don’t want to be selfish and self-centered the rest of my life. I want change. I want growth. And I honestly don’t think there is anything that grows me more than to live with other people who have strengths and weaknesses that are different than mine, because it is in those differences that beautiful examples of pure intentions, truly selfless acts, etc. are shown to me, thus allowing me to have a tangible example to strive towards. A quote from Chase the Lion that may put my thoughts here in better terms is, “I need to be around people who make me feel small because their dreams are so big. I need to be around people who make me feel far from God because they’re so close to Jesus. I need to be around people who make me feel as if I’m doing next to nothing because they’re making such a big difference.” That’s exactly what this internship does.
So why did I make a list of reasons not to go on this internship? To show you, whoever you are and wherever you are in life, that there is simply no reason not to go. It is hard. It pushes you. It challenges you. There are moments of pain. There are moments of joy. There are moments of revelation. None of which you will ever regret walking through. It is worth your time, money, and effort. I learned so many life lessons. I laughed until I peed my pants (more than once). I made life long friendships. God helped me discovered passions in my heart that have turned into dreams I am getting to pursue. God opened my eyes to new areas He needs to sanctify me in. He broke my heart in some areas. He showed me that my way of life is not “more right” than their way of life (aka I don’t need to “Americanize” these people). He graced me with the opportunity to see the most exquisite views and experience things that are almost indescribable, such as the feeling of the forceful air pushing against your hair and skin as you fly through mountains in the back of a pick-up, the smell of sweet bread as you walk past pandaria’s on the street, the sight of the biggest grin on partly toothless elderly who are MUY EMOCIANADA to just pass a ball with you (not because they are stupid or anything, but simply because they have lived a full life that has involved many valleys and many mountain tops and have now reached the conclusion that this life isn’t worth remaining too serious about). This is a trip that will change the trajectory of your life. And if you are questioning if there is any reason you shouldn’t go, well, the simple answer is there is not any reason you shouldn’t go. It is worth every sacrifice you must make. It is a place to encounter God in a new way. It is a place to search for dreams. It is a place to invest in friendships. It is an epic adventure of a lifetime. So may your default answer be “yes”.
Jennifer (Jenn) Hodge
Para Servir Intern 2018