Our MOST team that has arrived in Amatitlan, Guatemala for a medical mission comes from all over the country. Karen, the team liaison, Tim, our team leader, Lori the nurse and Connie come from the Frankenmuth, Michigan area. Allyson, our PT is from Indiana, Laura, the pharmacist, is from Kansas City, and Heidi, the mission experienced nurse, is from Wisconsin. And then there is Marty, MOST Executive Director, his nurse wife, Audrey, and Dr Cheryl from the Detroit area. We met up together in Miami to catch the same flight into Guatemala City and then were driven by Dr Elry and his son to his clinic about an hour out of the city.
Some folks got up at 1am to get to the airport and some never went to bed, so we are all very weary. However, when asked what their first impressions were I heard:
We love it here, that's why we come back.
Dr Elry's family is so welcoming.
I already see the need. We are going to make a difference.
Happy to be back.
The contrast between the beauty of the country and the poverty is striking. Yet there is a sense of community, a lot of richness though not material wealth.
The country is beautiful, very lush green. I'm surprised how modern some of it is. The restaurant we stopped at had QR codes to view the menu. The roadside that I have seen is not scattered with plastic bags and trash as many less advantaged communities are.
First impressions.
Verses that were shared during our evening devotion remind us of the value of mission work:
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
We view our time here as setting aside our personal needs, in effect laying down our lives for the sake of these beautiful people. We walk in love and are grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of this community and share the love of Jesus and the promise of God's salvation.