It´s that time of year again - and I´ve had the pleasure of looking after a step team. This year they´re been working for a project in Guatemala City´s main bus terminal, where they´ve supported educational programmes for children. Lots of games, crafts, teaching, a trip to the pool, dramas, and a morning de-nitting the kids!! All great fun. But they´ve also seen some of the realities in which the kids live - many of them live within the market stalls their families run, and encounter the dangers of drugs, gangs, prostitution and violence every day. A boy went missing (and was later found). A young girl was run over by a car (but is doing well).
At the weekends, I´ve been able to show the team some of the beautiful and historic places in Guatemala.
A great photo opportunity on the way to Lake Atitlan.
All of them proud of their certificates for having completed a Zipwire course overlooking the Lake. And meeting with other Latin Link members too -- lots of conversations about calling, and mission and how God guides each step of our story.
It´s always lovely to 'debrief' the team, and hear what they have learnt, not only about Guatemala and the work, but also about themselves and how God has used the experience to speak to them. Some of the things mentioned this time.... a sense of calling to Latin America that she had not considered before.... another has been challenged about the way in which she uses her finances for God´s kingdom.... a clearer sense of self - or understanding who she is, having faced a number of challenges during the trip..... a great admiration for the project leaders who have such a passion for the kids they work with, that is never switched off at the end of a work-day.... more confidence in working with children or speaking spanish..... a greater awareness of the gifts God has given them, and looking for ways to grow and mature in them.
It always really encourages me!