Joyful Fellowship in Guatemala (4)
After we deliver the medicine to the Santiago hospital, we went to the Lake Atitlan. It was a lake formed by the volcano activity. Long time ago, it was an active volcano but now it was a peaceful lake. I thought that when I was young I was like a volcano, restless and exploding energies and ideas. However, when I am getting older, I pray that I could be calmer and peaceful like the lake around which all the village people should live peacefully with many creatures of God´s Kingdom. In the morning, I stood at a high view point to see the lake. The Lake embraces all the life. Fish jumped from the water and went back into the home down in the water. Birds found their mates and children in a nest. Flowers and plants of all kinds shared their lives together without harming each other, helping each other. A couple of fishermen slowly moved their small boats to catch enough fish to feed their families.
On the other hand, when we cross the lake to go to the village on the other side of the lake, it was a busy market. All the town people, young and old, were business people. A young girl, Maria, came to us and sold some gift items. She said to us, “Business is business. You tell me your price and I call my price. We can negotiate.¨ She was about 12 years old but she was already a business woman! Many of our team members bought gifts from the local people for their families and friends. I did not have money and did not buy anything except for one item for our gift exchange event among our team members at night. Some of our team members purchased a lot and asked me whether I felt that we were reckless. I replied that they actually helped the local economy. As far as I saw it, the tourism was the main business in that small village. If tourist were fooled and paid too much, still they helped the local business. It was actually better for us to use money there than other places. That was a part of the mission, to help the local economy.
I also found out that the town Santiago was better than any other towns that we visited to provide services. I thought about the reasons. I could think two reasons: First, they had the Lake Atitlan. That attracted people and tourism could bring income to the families. Secondly, they had coffee plantation. Coffee beans were growing all over the mountain. It was hard for people to harvest the coffee beans with machine; every work had to be done by hands. So many local people went to the plantation and worked hard. Every household had basic income in that way. So if you have any one specialized item to sell or show, you can make a living. It is true for an individual and for a community. If you are a professional person, you can make your living. You do not have to be good in everything. Singers sing and dancers dance. Doctors cure patients and preachers preach sermons. A town that has one item to sell or to show serve the local people enough financially. The first town that we visited, Nueva Covadonga, did not have such an item yet. Other town had either rubber trees or palm oil trees. In our team, we also found out that we have either medical skill or Spanish language skill or young energy or spiritual support. If someone in our team has nothing to provide or contribute, the person must be left out.
At night, we revealed our secret prayer partners. On the first day, Betsy passed out our secret prayer partners for each other to pray for. We did not reveal till the Saturday night. On Saturday, we purchased one gift item to give to our prayer partner. The gift should symbolize the person´s gift or character. The gift should also remind the person of the Guatemala mission trip for the rest of the person´s life. My secret prayer partner was Georgia. She was a nurse. On the first day, she was not feeling good because it was so hot and this was her first mission trip. I prayed for her hard. I even said to God, “Lord, we will reveal our prayer partners later. If she is not getting better, people would find out that my prayer was not working! Here your servant, a pastor´s reputation is at stake! Please help her! ¨ I know it was a weird prayer but it worked. She was getting better every day. On Saturday night, I gave her a painting that was done by the local artist. I said to her that she reminded me of the Western missionaries who came to Korea long time ago. I should have thanked them then but I was young and innocent. Now it was a belated appreciation. It was also for the Guatemala people. Thank you for all the work you have done for the country! ¨ Everybody shared their feelings and appreciation. It was a good moving night. After that, we had fun dinner. With local musicians playing Latin music, we danced and laughed and had fun. Mission trip was not only a work but it was also fun! Do you have any wish to join us next year? (The End)