A reflection by Teri Baird
Ivey & I took our three kids & a friend to Guatemala in Aug 2010. We had always wanted our children to experience serving in a foreign country, especially being able to do it as a family. Being able to be with one of my dearest friends, Nancy Winfrey & her mother & daughter made it even more special! Our kids were 19, 15, & 13 at the time & the older two boys had taken several years of Spanish in high school so they had a blast being able to communicate with the people in Guatemala as well as being a tremendous help to those of us who did not know Spanish.
Our home church here in Charleston was also a great support. They eagerly donated lots of school supplies that we were able to give to the teachers in the Hope School to in some small way help to advance their student’s education.
Our desire was for the trip to open our eyes & give us a clearer perspective on our lives, to humble us, to make us more content & grateful for all that God has done in our lives & to be able to meet disciples from a different culture who love & serve God just as we do.
It was amazing to see the poverty & yet the joy in the people we met. It was so inspiring to see right there before me that their joy & gratitude for life was not dependent on material comforts, but something much deeper. I watched as children of all ages played happily together…the 2yr olds were included in the games just as the 18yr olds were. Being able to visit the church there & meet disciples who I couldn’t communicate with but felt a connection with because of our love for God was so special to me.
One of the lessons my children learned that is most dear to my heart is illustrated by a conversation I had with my daughter a few months after we had returned home. One of our family Christmas traditions is that I ask the kids to give me a “wish” list for Christmas gift shopping ideas. I asked them to make their lists….which they are usually eager to do & always have plenty of ideas. Well, this year I waited & then asked again, then waited…finally my daughter Savannah said “Mom, ever since we got home from Guatemala I honestly can’t think of a single thing I want or need”. Wow!! Mission accomplished…the trip had truly been life-changing for them & I was so grateful to God to be able to watch their hearts grow & change & become so much more grateful & content with a desire to give & serve rather than to be given to.
My prayer is that for the rest of our lives we get to frequently go on mission trips…to keep our hearts soft & humble & grateful & close to God.