There is a movie where Marvin Lee sings “I was born under a wandering star.” I have been willing to go anyplace, any time. This wanderlust kept my parents constantly praying for me. So when I found the MOST Ministries website and read about their work, I was immediately willing to go. But with all the great opportunities, where would I fit in and be able to help the most? I am not medically trained nor do I have any construction abilities, and I am not a young guy. So I called to find out about the eyeglass ministry. After talking with the very patient staff member that answered all my questions, I was ready to jump into it with both feet and also the feet of one of the other church members from my congregation.
The next step was where to go. Both my fellow church member and I are bilingual (English/Spanish) and so it seemed natural to go on a Spanish speaking mission trip. Since my traveling companion was from Central America and I had lived there, it was a natural fit. We filled out the required paperwork and waited.
We joined the greatest trip ever with others willing to travel to Gualan, Guatemala. None of us had been to Gualan, let alone heard of it, but MOST Ministries had been and were so helpful to fill us in on what it was like and what we would actually do there. After all the pre-instructions and meetings on Zoom, it seemed like the team was a family. The meetings were informative, but more importantly they allowed us to get a real feeling of who we were as a team and who would do which jobs during eyeglass clinics.
Having been to Guatemala, I was asked to be the cultural coordinator. But never having been to Gualan, I had my work cut out for me. The team was so compassionate about my lack of knowledge, but with the help of the internet and some contacts I developed we were able to have a fair idea of what lay ahead and of course the team leaders knew what we did not.
Some of the team members met in-person for a pre-trip gathering and got all the materials together. Then the full team met for a full team gathering in the Houston airport and prayed together before we flew to Guatemala.
The meeting was like a family reunion. It seemed like we had known each other for so long. The process was very well organized and the team leaders prepared us for possible customs complications in Guatemala. The prayers worked as the customs agents just waved us through. The bus and driver were our new best friends as they, with unparalleled precision, kept us safe throughout the trip. The countryside was so beautiful – mountains, rivers, large and small cities, we got it all. We were fed at Guatemala’s KFC called Pollo Campero which was a treat. The first night, we were housed at the guest house of the most gracious host I’ve ever met, a beautiful house in the mountains. The next night after driving to Gualan, we took over a mountain top hotel with a panoramic vista of the whole area.
The site of the eyeglass clinics was the second largest school in Gualan, the Lutheran primary and secondary school. Thanks be to God! Again the organization of the clinics was first class as we took our respective tasks and went to work very efficiently. The lines went smoothly from check in, to health education, to a gospel presentation by the local vicar, to finding the prescription needs of each individual and providing the needed glasses. The people of Gualan were so accommodating to us and our lack of language skills, but with a smile and lots of gesturing we were able to make a difference in so many lives.
Every day we witnessed the miracle of good vision when people received a pair of eyeglasses from our team. Elderly individuals were excited to be able to read the Bible and see the expression on a family member’s face for the first time in years, and people of all ages were amazed to see the beauty of God’s creation anew. “WOW” was the word of each day, the entire trip, and the ministry in Guatemala! Even a power outage couldn’t stop us from carrying out the work of our eyeglass clinic!
The people of Gualan, pastor, and church members became our brothers and sisters. They showed us their joys, their struggles, their prayers, their lives. In so many ways, the Christian charity was a two way street. We came back forever changed. We, as a team, became a family and as a service project we showed what the church is, as the body of Christ. And we were shown what the body of Christ was internationally. God was at work in so many ways. Thanks to MOST Ministries, we got the opportunity to be part of HIS love to the ends of the earth.