Youth pastor reports on trip to Guatemala

Smith: “We saw things that really made me evaluate how I looked at life”

By Pastor C.J. Smith
Mount Olive Baptist Church

* Photo gallery

Gloria A Dios was a term our team heard over and over in Guatemala, and for good reason. Gloria A Dios translates to “Glory to God”. God deserves all the glory for all that we accomplished while we were in Guatemala.

Submitted photo Pastor C.J. Smith, in red, helps prepare one side of a house.

Submitted photo
Pastor C.J. Smith, in red, helps prepare one side of a house.

We worked in the town of Poptun, Guatemala. It is located in the northern part of Guatemala and was an 8 to 9 hour drive from the airport. It was a town and a region filled with so much poverty. It was a place where having a floor in your house was considered a luxury. I will admit that seeing all the poverty was tough but seeing the children that live through it daily was even tougher. It was really tough to look back on our lives here in America. We take things like food, clothes, and a roof over our head for granted.

On our first day in Poptun we were able to participate in a wheelchair distribution. These do not happen very often in Poptun since the town is so remote. It was great to see people light up as they received a new chair. Our team worked together to make sure the wheelchairs were fitted for the people.

We also had the chance to make a number of house visits while we were in Poptun. The team passed out food, toys, clothes, and school supplies while on these visits. We saw some pretty amazing things while doing the visits. We saw things that really made me evaluate how I looked at life. On our first day of home visits, we met a young girl by the name of Norma. Norma had a fungus growing on her hands. Norma and her siblings were malnourished because she was not able to fix food (while her mom worked) due to her condition.

Submitted photo Furnishings in this house aren't quite as ostentatious as what is status quo in many American homes.

Submitted photo
Furnishings in this house aren’t quite as ostentatious as what is status quo in many American homes.

The kids’ whole demeanor changed when we gave them some food. It was almost as if they were alive again. Do you want to hear something awesome? We prayed for God’s healing, and God healed Norma of that fungus growing on her hands. It was something only God could do! It was visits like this that helped me realize why I agreed to go to Guatemala. It was great to see our team being the hands and feet of Jesus in Guatemala.

Our team was able to build 2 houses for needy families in Poptun. These were simple metal “box” houses. It was almost like our team was a bunch of celebrities while building the houses. Kids would come hang out, watch, and help with whatever they could. It was a fun and rewarding experience.

I think one of my highlights from the trip was the church services. I was able to preach at a youth service on Saturday night while we were there. Our team was also able to attend their regular church service that is held on Sunday afternoons. It was great to see the spirit moving throughout that church. We had no idea what they were saying half the time but we knew they were worshipping God.

Submitted photo Though poverty-stricken, the locals stand by their God and honor Him.

Submitted photo
Though poverty-stricken, the locals stand by their God and honor Him.

In America we have so many things distracting us from the things that really matter. These people in Guatemala had nothing by our standards but they had God, and for them that was enough!

I must say a huge thank you to everyone at Mount Olive Baptist Church and others (including The Pee Dee Post) who donated towards my trip. People went above and beyond to make this trip possible for me. I am forever grateful that you invested in the work God did, and is continuing to do in Guatemala.

C.J. Smith is youth pastor at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Rockingham. 

Submitted photo A woman appears to give thanks for her new wheelchair.

Submitted photo
A woman appears to give thanks for her new wheelchair.

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, Opinion, Religion

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