Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Why go to Guyana? Stephanie's Story
Recently I have been thinking and talking a lot about Guyana and about my next trip this October. I am praying that God speaks to people about “catching the vision” for Guyana. It made me think that I should put down on paper what makes me yearn to return…why should someone go to the unknown? What speaks to my heart about Guyana? What makes it a good fit for people to go on a Guyana mission trip?
My first trip to Guyana South America, to serve in the Plastic City area, was in Oct 2010. Previously I had been to Uganda Africa and several trips to Guatemala. I have ties to Guatemala through the adoption of my daughter, but even before that had been on mission trips there. It was a surprise to myself that I felt the call to go to Guyana on a mission trip. GUYANA? I only knew where it was because of CP’s work there. Otherwise I would have never known! It is not easy to switch to an unknown. But I found out that following God’s call is immensely rewarding and He knew my heart would be captured by the children in Guyana.
A basic, but important reason is that English is the primary language. Communication is made much easier by this with children and adults and just in public places. The kids and I can have one on one conversation without an interpreter. It is a different experience to be able to do this.
CP has an in-country missionary, Angie Hemric. She is actively involved in Plastic City, alongside her Guyanese partners from Vreedenhoop Wesleyan Church. Angie is a native of the Triad area and can lend unique perspective on mission trips. She leads teams through the work being done and culture of Guyana and Plastic city. I found that her view of an American living in Guyana to be immeasurably insightful, especially as we seek to be culturally sensitive and relevant. Because of her presence in Plastic City, teams are able to piggyback on that and work more effectively.
This is not a trip for those interested in a touristy, sightseeing or light mission trip. It is a hands-on trip. I was sweaty, muddy and tired, in really good ways. Teams are in Plastic City working amongst the poverty--economic, emotional, spiritual.
My interest is in education and I am blessed to be able to merge passions in my life—orphans, serving, education, faith. God carved out a place for me to serve, meeting the passions that he placed in me and the gifts He gave me. It makes me tear up to think how He has blessed me to be able to do that!
If you like kids, Guyana teams have a place for you. You don’t have to be passionate about education or be a teacher. These children need someone to show them love. Can you smile at a child as they read a book? Give high fives to encourage? Let a little one sit on your lap during story time? Listen as a child counts to 20? Being on a Guyana team means loving kids— if you love kids that are elementary age, teens or preschool, there are children waiting for you to come and show them that someone cares.
I have a chance to build relationships with the children and their families. There are many children that I saw last year that I will be able to hug again this year. I get to continue to build relationships with them year to year. That to me is so important.
And those kids, they keep me returning. Those faces float around my mind so often. I can not wait to walk down the muddy road into Plastic City to the many hands that beg to hold mine, to the lives that need touching, to the place God has called me.