We received this school essay from a CFCA sponsor’s daughter, Samantha, who visited Guatemala in September 2009 after a number of deadly mudslides. Samantha is now a high school senior and considering college options ñ including “missionary writing.” We think this is a good place to start!
Hope in the Midst of Suffering
Clanging dishes, dogs barking and a rooster crowing at 6 a.m. was not how I wanted my summer days to start. It was a beautiful morning, not a cloud in sight.
As the days passed I knew every morning would contain that inexplicable beauty. As the afternoon neared I expected a blusterous thunderstorm.
That wasn’t the only difference I found in Guatemala, contrary to my small town in the U.S.
The love I felt came from every direction, including the restless mountains and bountiful trees. Love was one thing these people held on to.
Guatemala helped me accept the diversity in their culture, to the children we sponsor and the lives they are living because of my family’s support, and to the love they encompass every person with.
Their thin, porcelain-like figures helped me realize that these Guatemalans fought for their lives everyday just to get a small tamale and water, as opposed to my being used to a nice, inviting feast. Seems like such a simple gift that we often take for granted.
Tragedy overcame this country in one sweep of a storm killing many, ruining all forms of transportation. Rocks covered all roadways making walking unbearable.
The children we sponsor each month with money and letters were finally standing in front of our very eyes.
My mom’s first reaction was to let slow tears roll from her face. My brother’s was to play some soccer (f˙tbol), my dad’s was to chat with the sponsored children’s parents.
I took a whole new take on things. I just watched, listened to their rolling Spanish-speaking tongues, and smiled at their confused expressions when we tried communicating back.
The situation was surreal. So often I thought my life was broken, but when I saw these people with the bare minimum to live I found that my life was so much more blessed than I realized.
Venturing from place to place gave me a sense of being, of wonder, and of true unconditional love. Everywhere I glanced I felt smiles overwhelm me. I had never felt that feeling of a total stranger loving me.
They showed the true meaning of loving your neighbor as yourself. The gifts that they gave us would never amount to, or ever live up to, the gifts we received from them.
The days in Guatemala passed by like the wind, leaving me awestruck and in love. These were my kind of people. They gave everything they had and left nothing for themselves.
Guatemala changed me, not just because of its natural beauty in the midst of mudslides, but it changed how I view my life, let alone how I want to live it.
Accepting their way of life, seeing my adopted family, and opening my eyes to their love really gave me hope.
Through this turmoil I finally found hope in the midst of suffering.