February 2019 marked the fourth service trip to Guatemala for Loveland FUMC. This year we had 4 first timers and 15 folks who had been on at least one of the previous trips. I think this speaks volumes to the impact the Pura Vida Guatemala trips have had on the lives of those who have participated. We all have a better understanding of what it means to be the hands and feet of God on these trips. The first year we came down to build houses. Now we return each year to build relationships with Guatemalans, and the houses get built. I dare say the building of relationships is the enduring reward for all. It is such a joy to see our construction crew and interpreters each year - like a renewal of friendships.
As in past years, we were privileged to spend a morning at the Rosario School. Last year the Penguinos visited the school and created a memorable experience for all. This year tiburones (sharks) swam to shore at the school. Songs were sung, ropes jumped, books read, ice cream shared, and wonderful crafts created. In a highlight, Betsy (the principal of Rosario), donned the shark costume and danced with the students. Pure joy and delight were seen in the eyes of Betsy and her students.
Definition of a service trip: Doing work you could not be paid to do at home, in conditions that OSHA would never approve, and being grateful for the opportunity. I wrote that on my first trip to Guatemala in 2016. When we get out of our comfort zone, I believe it is easier to see God’s love in action and our faith is rewarded. I encourage all to be “sharks out of water” and get your fins dirty on a service trip. The swim is worth it!