Thursday, July 11, 2013

My First Mission Trip

As I prepare for my mission trip to Guatemala, I'm excited to have my friend Alene Snodgrass here at my place to share with us about her first mission trip. I so wish I was joining her when she returns to Guatemala in October.

Meet Alene...

Alene is a Christian speaker who loves to tell the story, whether it is from behind a camera lens, writing at a computer screen, or speaking into the lives of others. With a heart for this generation, Alene serves in the inner city. Her new book, Graffiti: scribbles from different sides of the street is co-authored with a homeless man. 

Connect with Alene through:
twitter @alenesnodgrassfacebook, or her blog Positively Alene.


For years I longed to go on a mission trip. I wanted to travel to Africa, Haiti, or Guatemala. When an opportunity finally presented itself  to go on a trip to Guatemala, I couldn't believe it!

I just knew God was going to meet me there.

Arriving in Guatemala it was evident I had packed too much. I attributed my large suitcase to the fact that "I was carrying coloring book and games to the children", but the truth was I packed all those things I didn't think I could live without.

- four pairs of shoes
- a make-up case
- a case for toiletries
- books to read in my quite time
- and a couple of changes of clothes for each day because you never know.

After laughing at myself for five hours upon arrival, I settled in to a culture that was stripped-down and simple. I wasn't sure what to think.

I first wondered how I would survive. I shared a 8x8 foot room with two other girls and our door was latched with a simple padlock. I won't even go in to the fact that there was an inch gaping whole between the door and frame where we could see other guests walking by. What would our mother's think?

As our laughing subsided in the wee hours of the night, it was time to brush teeth and crawl in bed. The restrooms were outside and down the walk way. We'd already been there once and we were greeted by a spider. I can do a lot of things, but not spiders!

So we got creative. There was a beautiful garden just outside our door. We opted to brush and spit there. It surely was a sight!

Drifting off to sleep with a smile on my face, I wondered what the next day would bring. I didn't know anything about Guatemala, so I was eager to see it in the day light.

God didn't meet me, I met Him.

Waking up the next morning, it was simple. No make-up, simple clothes, walking shoes, and a stop by the garden to brush our teeth. The smell of Guatemala and the beautiful colors I'll never forget. I was eager to meet God and serve His people.

Walking into the village, I was taken back. There were people everywhere. Busy people. They were coming and going. They walked by those who were lame and needing help. There were children taking care of children everywhere. While it was true I was in a different country, I soon realized they are no different from us here.

Nobody wanted to stop and talk. Nobody looked you in the eyes or smiled. I wondered where God was.
As we made our way to the Guatemala City dump community there were people everywhere living off trash. They were busy digging through trash to try to make money to support their family.

I wanted to throw my hands up in defeat. Why would God call me here to serve His people when it was obvious it would take all the resources in the world to replace this poverty?

That's when I felt God in the pit of my soul whispering, "I didn't call you here to meet me or to replace this poverty. I live here. I called you here so you could see me."

God let me know real quick that I wasn't taking Him there, He was already there and I was going to have the opportunity to partner up with Him.

If you're headed out on your first mission trip, go prepared to join in on what God is already doing. He's living there already in each person you'll encounter.

After a week in Guatemala, I cried to leave my Guatemalan friends, my 8x8 room, and the flower bed that I had come to love spitting on. My heart to this day still longs for the stripped-down and simple.

Are you leaving on a mission trip?

Are you going with preconceived ideas?

Are you hoping to meet God there or will you just join Him there?


  1. Hi Alene,
    Thanks for the preview to Guatemala...thanks for sharing your shift in perspective, and your beautiful heart :)

    Hi Beth, Thanks for hosting Alene :)

  2. I love what the Lord taught you at the dump, Alene.


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