Operation Central America

Come and see what is happening on the Operation Central America missions trip. Also learn about the teams and their prayer requests.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

2012 Postscript

Well, everyone should be home and re-acclimating to the U.S.  Leaving this morning was hard for most of us as we had to say goodbye to our Guatemalan and Salvadoran friends.  After breakfast we did an exercise that is often used at senior high retreats.  Each person picked up a sugar packet, and then we all stood up and mingled around.  The idea was to find another person and exchange sugar packets, each one telling the other "this trip was sweet because ..." followed by something affirming they noticed about that person during the trip.  Then each one moved on to connect to a different person.  The noise level rose dramatically as everyone got into celebrating each other's participation on the trip.  The Guatemalan patrons in the other part of the hotel restaurant kept looking at our room, curious about what these crazy gringos were doing.  After that we all sat down again and several of our leaders (including the Guatemalan and Salvadoran mentors) shared their thoughts of encouragement for the students, followed by a time of community prayer.

And then it was crazy time again as the buses arrived to take us to the airport.  The hotel is in the middle of downtown (actually only a block away from the main plaza with the cathedral and man government buildings) and so the streets are narrow and busy.  As a result there is not much room for the buses and they cannot stay in one place for very long.  We quickly formed a line to move all the bags from the pile in the hotel lobby to be distributed between the buses.  As everyone was involved we made short work of the loading process, even though there are still about 125 duffle bags.  After the 20 minute drive to the airport we reversed the process and got all the bags down and separated.  The team split into their three flight groups, checked in and got through airport security.  The rest of the trip was the standard travel experience.  Each flight received a big welcome from the friends and family who have been waiting for our return.  And so the trip winds down to sharing memories, souvenirs and pictures with family and friends.

We pray that along with the stories of people, places, food and events they remember and share the ways and places we saw God's character revealed.

the faithfulness of God:  we experienced his faithfulness through the opportunities he provided in advance for our team to participate in.  We also saw it in that we had the right supplies to meet the needs we encountered.  For example, the boxes of medicines we received from MAP included inhalers and some other medicines that have not been needed on previous trips but turned out to be in high demand this time.

the grace of God:  we saw first hand how God uses broken, imperfect people to share the Gospel message of his perfect plan for our salvation.  Through both students and leaders sharing their struggles and doubts and how God was working in their lives others were encouraged to continue to work out their faith journey.  We also saw how God provides for unspoken needs as the service team was able to build a roof for a woman who had thought it was an impossible dream.

the power of God:  we experienced his power through answered prayer.  A girl our mime team happened upon "by chance" (clearly God's provision) had been praying for a wheel chair for her sister and we were able to be the instrument for answering that prayer. A woman suffering from long-term knee pain came through our clinic and after being prayed over was completely healed.  Several of our own team members also experienced the healing touch of God as a result of the fervent prayers of the team.

the love of God:  we experienced the love of God through the relationships that were created and extended during our trip. When someone was feeling down or struggling with something there was always someone else able to come alongside them with just the right thing to say or do that would comfort and encourage them.  We also saw God's love in the beauty of the land of Guatemala with its soaring volcanoes and lush green forests and fields.  But we mostly experienced it in the people of the churches who opened their homes to our team, offering all that they had to make us feel welcomed.

And so OCA 2012 is done.  Thank you for your encouragement and prayers.  Knowing you were following along with us and being able to read your posts was definitely a blessing for all of us.  Hopefully the blog will also serve as a memorial to the trip, a place where the team members can come back to and be reminded of what God accomplished in and through them.


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