June 25th, 2017. The day my life changed forever. The day I put all my trust into Jesus Christ.
Beginning June 17th, I traveled to Guatemala to change the lives of others, but little did I know they would change my life. I stepped out of the airport in Guatemala and could instantly feel the pain of those around me. Although they were in pain, they all shared one thing, and that is their faith in God.
On my first day of mission work, I was blown away by the environment that the Guatemalans live in. Most don’t have running water, nowhere to sleep, and many have no clue where their next meal is coming from. So what do they do in those situations? Pray. They pray that God will provide for them and heal them from their brokenness. How does one who has absolutely nothing, continue to put their trust in God praying that they will survive? Because God will never lead wrong. It says in Isaiah 41:10 “so do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. God has a plan for every single one of us, but only he knows the plan. God will never let us down, and if it seems as if God isn’t answering your prayers, perhaps maybe he has something better planned than what you prayed for.
When I visited homes in Guatemala, one of the first things every single person would say is “please pray for us”. I met a family that lost 2 family members within 15 days of each other because of violence. The family had 2 little boys and by just looking at them, you would never know they are in pain. Until you lay your hands on them to pray, and you can actually feel their pain. My entire mission team gathered in a circle, all placing a hand on one of the boys, and we began to pray. The entire prayer was done in Spanish, but I felt like I knew exactly what was being said. I could physically feel the pain they were going through and could not believe that all they wanted was prayer.
Throughout the week, I experienced many, many events that will stay with me forever. I met a young lady named Michaela, who is a 27-year-old, single mom, raising 3 kids on her own. She was raped at a young age, and finally found the man of her dreams many years later. But things did not end so happy. 6 weeks before the birth of his daughter with Michaela, he was beat to death on his way home. And what did Michaela ask of us when we visited her? Prayer. That was the only thing she asked for. You see, it may be hard to understand what God is doing at the moment, but he is always, always with us and will never let us down.
During my week in Guatemala, my faith in God grew to a whole new level. I was baptized at a young age in middle school, but to be honest, I did not know God at that moment. The moment I knew God was with me was when I stepped foot on Guatemala soil. The moment I knew God was with me was when I sat in my bed at the hostel, crying because of what I saw, but woke up the next day to continue serving others. The moment I knew God was with me was when I prayed for families and could physically feel the pain.
On June 25th, 2017, my mission team leader asked us to do something. She simply asked us to each pray about whatever our heart desired to pray about. I thought to myself “alright, I can do that, no problem”. Then she said, “I would like for you to pray out loud, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, you don’t have to”. Up until that day, I had never prayed out loud in my life. I was terrified. Many things were running through my head like “what do I say” “what if I say something wrong” and the list goes on. As it got closer and closer to my time to pray, I began to chicken out. I thought to myself “oh everyone else is praying, I’ll be fine to skip my turn”. But when it became my turn, it’s like God was sitting right there with me saying “come on, you can do it”. I opened my mouth and started praying, out loud, for the first time ever. As I prayed, tears were flowing from my eyes and I couldn’t stop them. In that moment, the morning of June 25th, I knew that God was right there with me and that I was right where God wanted me to be. I have never felt closer to God than I did in that moment of prayer. In that moment, I felt like it was just me and God. I have never felt anything more powerful in my life, and it was in that moment that I finally understood why the only thing the people in Guatemala asked for was prayer. Because prayer works and God is so real, and from that day forward, I have lived every second of my life for God and haven’t turned back.