Apr 17, 2017
The Shadow of the Almighty in Central America
If you have ever tried to describe an awesome experience to those who were not present or have not seen what you saw, you will know how we feel when attempting to explain our week at Prince of Peace Home for Girls (PoP) in Guatemala. Relating what it’s like to see the Grand Canyon, the Galapagos Islands or Mount Everest is a similar, yet less difficult effort, for our trip not only involved the physical sights and sensory experiences but had the added dimension of spiritual elements that are hard to convey. Suffice it to say that God showed up in amazing ways that each member of our team was able to see and feel. All of us brought our own misgivings and doubts, and most of us were on our first mission outside of the US.
PoP is a home and school for girls, ages 2-22, who come from desperate situations that include being orphaned, being abused, and being destitute with nowhere to go. For over 30 years, the home has grown into a haven for giving those girls (currently over 50 of them) a safe place to grow up, be educated, and to learn of God’s love for them. We would encourage everyone to see their story at www.princeofpeacegt.com and to consider supporting this wonderful work that lives out the true message of our Christian faith.
Our team of 15 arrived with a fairly ambitious set of goals that included a) building a special, outdoor gathering place that features 5 large swings and a central fire pit, b) conducting several Vacation Bible School sessions for the girls at P o P, c) delivering and installing a special stove to a designated, impoverished family, d) taking food supplies to several other needy families in a gang-infested zone of Guatemala City, e) providing optical screening and glasses for all of the students and staff at P o P, f) presenting the girls with special donated gifts of sports equipment, musical instruments and Quinceanera dresses (for a special treat, just Google it), but most of all, g) to spend quality time with the young ladies and share the love of Christ with them.
Our hosts at PoP were the Directors of the home, Mike and Carroll Brewton, and Team Coordinator, Maricruz Itzep. The Brewton's lived in the Woodstock, GA area before going to Guatemala 2+ years ago. Maricruz has had very special ties to Prince of Peace for many years. These are amazing people with inspiring commitment that is demonstrated in all they do. They embraced us with Christian love and allowed us to get close to their hearts as they not only accomplished their very full slate of “normal” tasks, but also were dealing with an extremely difficult situation during our mission week. One of the girls, only 9 years old, was in the public hospital with a very serious, life-threatening ailment that was not getting proper medical attention. Through an amazing movement of God’s hand, little Imelda was transferred to a high-quality private pediatric cancer hospital and started receiving much better treatment. Her condition is still very serious with ongoing efforts to diagnose and treat her. In all of the unfolding drama, we saw the Brewton's and many of the staff members of PoP show why God has placed them where they are. There were so many displays of unconditional love and untiring efforts to care for this precious, helpless little girl. God’s shadow was unmistakably real to all of us as we beheld these events and were allowed to be a part of what was happening in the life of the home.
There were innumerable “great” things about our trip, but none was better than the love and hope we got to see in the eyes of the girls of PoP. Most of them have had devastating and tragic lives before coming to Prince of Peace. We saw how God’s love, demonstrated through kind and compassionate people, has put joy and peace in the hearts of these precious young ladies. Each of us had many opportunities to connect with several of the girls and staff members, and all came away with a new awareness of the power of His love. We were witnesses of what the Apostle Paul meant in I Corinthians 13…”faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.” We felt we were in the shelter of the Most High among these girls in that very special place.
We are so grateful for all of the “extended” team members who generously made it possible for us to go on this wonderful mission. Lots of special people prayed and donated, many anonymously, to enable us to have the opportunity to see, feel and experience the incredible blessings of this week in Guatemala. Those sacrificing people were greatly used by our Lord to accomplish many wonderful things in the lives of every person who went and every life impacted by what we were able to do while there. May you all feel His blessings in every part of your lives.
If you’ve read this far, you can see that it is, indeed difficult to truly convey an experience such as our amazing trip to Guatemala and how blessed we felt to be a part of this mission and all are hoping to go back again as soon as possible. We’ve all been affected deeply by being in that awesome shadow and have to fall back on the old but true device of “you just had to be there!”
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