People often wonder, “Am I really going to make a difference on this mission trip? I’m only going to be there a few days.” I will admit that I have often wondered the same thing. It wasn’t until a recent trip to Guatemala that I realized you CAN make a difference in just a few short minutes.
On my trip to Guatemala I was able to see how I could physically make a difference in a little boy’s life by just spending a few minutes with him and his mother. While at the school I entered a classroom and happened to spot a smaller, somewhat frail little boy. He was holding his arms in a bent, contracted way - almost appearing as little wings - but with big beautiful brown eyes and a grin that immediately touched my soul. Through an interpreter I was able to find out that he was born this way and as he was getting older it seemed to be getting worse. I sat down in the floor with the boy and had him grip my fingers. His right hand was noticeable weaker. He appeared to have a form of cerebral palsy with poor muscle development to all four extremities. With the interpreter’s help I was able to show the teacher some exercises to try to at least maintain and hopefully improve his range of motion, muscle development and control. I explained that if he did not stay mobile now, as he got older, his contractures would become worse and he would become weaker.
The teacher understood and agreed to work with the boy while at school. At the end of the school day as we were leaving, we were blessed to meet his mother and we again sat down and showed her how to help the little boy do all the exercises for both his arms and legs. The mother became tearful and said she had never pushed him to do anything because she felt he was too small and weak. I told her that I understood, but she should really push him to exercise and do things for himself to help him feel more confident. The little boy did nothing but smile the entire time and that smile melted my heart.
It wasn’t until a debriefing session that a fellow team member brought to my attention that those few minutes may have changed a life forever. Maybe that was the entire purpose God had in store for me on this trip, those few moments…because I know I saw Jesus in those big brown eyes.
Written by Dean Culler