Guatemala Bound

by Aaron Notarianni Stephens. 0 Comments

I didn’t start off 2013 with a vision to travel to Guatemala with my son, Jonah, to serve in an orphanage and near-by ghetto community. Just as my other son, Tyler, did not start off 2013 with a vision to travel to Uganda to serve the deaf community there. But, as this blog is named Accidentally on Purpose, life takes us where divine providence will lead if we heed the call. The seemingly mundane situations of our lives can equip us with talents, skills, and passions for a destination that we might not have set out for ourselves.

God is in control. And for me, that control is not easily given. I say this with embarrassed and humbled honesty. My inability to impart control is a character flaw that surfaced so evidently in the hours that neared take-off for Guatemala City.

Flying terrorizes me. I will do it, even though the thought all but freezes me. Each time I prepare to leave by airplane, I am stricken with a sick stomach, weak knees, and unnecessary thoughts. As I focused and prayed before this trip, I realized that it is not the means of travel that frightens me. It is the lack of my ability to control any technical aspect of the flight that panics me. But, if I don’t hand-over control and get on the plane, I can’t go anywhere. It is the same as if I don’t make an affirmative decision to hand over control to God - my life cannot fulfill His purpose.

Upon landing in Guatemala, we were greeted at the airport by Pablo and Abel, our hosts from Dorie’s Promise, an outreach of Forever Changed International. Pablo gave us an overview of our week which will include taking care of the children at Dorie’s Promise, preparing food and distributing basic necessities to families in the ghetto, laying concrete floors, and building chicken coops and serving in Village of Hope, an orphanage for children with disabilities and HIV/AIDS.

After lunch, we immediately began to serve as our team of sixteen was greeted by the at-first-hesitant, but ultimately trusting, children from Dorie’s Promise. As we entered the play area, children peeked out from their windows giving us a once-over before leaving their homes. The grassy play area was festively equipped with a swing set, basketball hoop, picnic table area, and other children’s activities, yet a backdrop of barbed-wire fences reminded us that the location is a safe refuge from the danger that surrounds.

The teens from our group were leaders and organized pick-up games of dodge ball, toss, and Uno. They loved the children individually as they pushed them on the swings, fed babies, and showed them the latest games on the iPad (which, somehow the children already seemed to know how to use. I am now convinced that kids are born knowing how electronics work, no matter where they are from).

More importantly than the innate ability for children to quickly understand technology, we are all hardwired for a need for have God in our lives. Our group hopes to share that need this week.

Leave a Reply