A year ago I recall having the jitters while packing and getting ready for my first ever mission trip. I went over the packing checklist at least twenty times making sure I had not missed anything. Every time I travel I get that sensation that I forget to pack something and won’t remember until I am halfway to my destination. The excitement and anxiousness I felt the night before traveling kept me awake for most of the night. I would fall asleep and wake up around every 30 minutes. I was afraid of sleeping through my alarm and missing the flight. Even though I attended all 5 formations, nothing could prepare me for what I was about to experience. I can sit here and share in detail the happenings during the week, but no words will do justice to explain the beauty and essence of the mission trip to Guatemala.
This year I decided not to return to Guatemala. Not because I do not have the desire to go back, but because I felt the calling to serve in a different manner this year. Also, I wanted others to live the same experience that I did. You go with the idea of serving and providing to the less fortunate, but once you arrive at Guatemala, it is more of a wakeup call. I ended up receiving more than what I could possibly give. The simplicity of life over there was not one to feel sorry for but one to envy. Although the village people do not have much materially, they do have a lot of love and joy to offer.
One of my favorite aspects of the mission was the practice of prayer, including wearing my prayer bracelet and the perpetual Adoration happening simultaneously back home. I strongly believe in the power of prayer. The idea of a community coming together to pray for the mission team the entire time while in Guatemala was and is inspiring. Prayer is our direct connection with God, and He is listening all the time. That’s why this year I made the choice to serve the mission by helping with this year’s perpetual Adoration sign-ups. It was humbling waiting after Mass to ask the parishioners to consider praying for this year’s team. I do need to give a huge shout out to Irma Pineda. She was the true super hero behind the Mass sign-ups. Thank you so much, Irma! I also enjoyed putting together the poster with everyone’s portraits. I was inspired by the idea behind the prayer bracelet and wanted to incorporate this on the poster. I really hope the team likes the finished product. I was at the Mary Chapel when Adoration officially begun as well as last night (Monday night) and it was beautiful to see others than those signed up visiting the Blessed Sacrament to pray. We may not be there with you at Guatemala, but we are present in spirit and in prayer. I look forward to listening to the team share their experience.
Juan Manuel Muñiz