Guatemala Mission Trip
Dr. Shean Phillips
There are certain sounds that make me cringe. The whining of a child for no real reason. The whining of an adult does it too. There are other sounds that bring a new level of peace and gratitude to my soul. I have four children, so sometimes it is the very rare moment of complete silence. It is so calming and refreshing. I also enjoy the rustle of the trees from my hammock. And then there is the soul-stirring sound of the evidences of spiritual growth in my children. When my 3-year-old runs up to me after church and says “Daddy, I can talk to God!” They had just learned about prayer in Children’s church and I believe he was connecting the dots with what we do when we pray at home.
We took the trip to Guatemala this summer with Allow the Children knowing we would have the best scenario for our twin 13-year-old girls to have their first missions experience. We are a “swim-upstream” sort of family. We are working very hard to help our children know and value Jesus and what He values. We are so grateful we took this trip! Our Allow The Children missions host, Jannah, has been a friend of the family since she was in middle school (yes, we are getting old!) She was a fantastic leadership example for our girls and worked well with us and the two other young girls who were on their first trip as well.
Allow partners with Hope of Life International in Zacapa, Guatemala. This ministry has been leading groups for more than 15 years and Allow the Children has been partnering with them for many years. This lasting relationship alongside of the huge ministry Hope of Life has affords new attendees the comforts of a resort for the “home base” of the trip and a vast array of opportunities to see and do ministry to people who are in poverty in very rural areas. Some are elderly folks who need love and attention, and most are children and I mean lots and lots of children. We ran a fairly impromptu Vacation Bible School in the village of Limones (where Allow has built a church) and there were more than 150 children there on the very first day!
The security offered by such a large missions organization like Hope of Life, coupled with Allow the Children’s decade-long specific ministries of building churches and sponsoring children in the region made this trip a life changing trip for our family. We knew we were safe all of the time. We had a comfortable setting to come back to at the end of the day to decompress, process and rest up. We were in the very thick of actual life rescuing and life changing ministry to people in Jesus’ name.
Back to those soul-stirring sounds of the evidences of spiritual growth in my children. You can imagine the joy that filled my ears when one of my daughters was begging to go back to the hospital where we ministered because she had fallen in love with ministering there. I don’t know if God will call her to missions, but I do know He used her that week and she loved it! My other daughter said to me when we were driving down the road after being back in the states for a few days, “Daddy, I think I liked it better in Guatemala than here.” Once again, I do not know what the future holds, but if God wills it we will be back on this trip again. God has opened a special place in the hearts of my family for foreign missions and I am so grateful for Allow the children and their part in making the opportunity possible.