This summer (of 2015) I went to Guatemala with Teen Missions International. I was away for a total of 7 weeks. It was an amazing experience I can’t describe in only a few words.
Coming back was way harder than I expected. I’m not typically a crier, but there were many nights I cried. Many times I felt bored, overwhelmed, alone, or depressed. Sometimes I felt it all at once. I missed my teammates so much. I missed the simplicity of life in Central America. There were a couple nights I wanted to give up.
One thing Teen Missions drills into us are devotions, one-on-one time with God every morning. That’s what I clinged to. I get it now when David said, “He is my mighty rock, my refuge” (Psalm 62:7b). I hid myself in God. When I felt so broken and done with life, I turned to His word. I told Him my struggles. He became my refuge.
After about a week of being back, I was telling my mom (who also happens to be one of my closest friends) about the worksite in Guatemala again, and I mentioned Gilberto, one of the supervisors who we worked with everyday. “Wait- who’s Gilberto?” Mom asked. It hit me: Mom doesn’t know who Gilberto is. Mom doesn’t know what I lived for weeks. She doesn’t know how to mix concrete by hand. She’s never heard Felicia sing after a long work day. She’s never tasted rellenitos de plantono. Mom has never washed her clothes via bucket while watching the sun set behind the Guatemalan mountains.
But God does. He was there when I mixed concrete. He heard Felicia sing. He knows how good rellenitos de plantono is. He created the beautiful sunsets and mountains.
I’m doing a lot better now. I don’t cry as much. I’ve learned to balance all the school work and activities. I still miss my teammates and Guatemalan experiences, but it’s not drowning me like it once did. I still enter His courts every morning. He is my mighty rock, my refuge.