The following entry was originally published as a part of a reflection compilation distributed to the congregation in booklet form during the Guatemala luncheon, held on November 24, 2019. Nearly 2 months after returning from the August Guatemala service trip, students were asked a series of questions to reflect on their time in Guatemala as well as the thoughts they generated since coming home. New entries will be available each Monday.
Author: Katherine Bentley
Read Katherine's "Day One" reflection (written while in Guatemala) here.
Where do you see God at work?
I really saw God at work in the locals and the volunteers. Even though it is kind of the very basic answer, I really did see God in the volunteers just through how happy and how willing they were to help. Even when the kids were being rowdy, or we were being rowdy they were patient and kind and their attitude towards everything was so amazing. Another place I saw God at work was the entirety of the local’s population, but most specifically in the women of Creamos that we worked with. They didn’t have the easiest life, but they continued to sacrifice for their children and work so hard towards improving their life and the other people at safe passages lives.
What was your biggest take away?
I think my biggest take away is that you must make happiness in what ever situation that you are in. I think living here in the ‘Bellevue Bubble’ partially limited my perspective of happiness and how to achieve it. Happiness tends to seem like something you achieve once you have made your own family and you have a steady income, an easy comfortable life. But when we went to Guatemala, I noticed that the kids were happy. They didn’t have the perfect easy and painless life that I think tends to be associated with happiness, but they were happy with what they had and just incredibly joyful in general. That really put happiness in perspective for me, showing me that you can make happiness in a less than ideal situation and that’s the best way to truly be happy.
What is a memory that stuck with you?
One memory that really stuck with me was when we were with the women doing Zumba. The women were all having so much fun just going for it. I think this really stuck with me because we also talked to a few of them about their place in Creamos and how hard they have had to work all their lives. When they were doing Zumba you couldn’t see how hard their life was, just how much fun they were having. And while almost all of us on the trip were quite physically active, these women had such amazing stamina. While we were panting from the heat and the physical exertion they were all just having the time of their lives. They were free and happy and it was something I found so amazing to see since we tend to think of exercise as a chore and be self-conscious about how we are doing.
What is a lesson you want to pass on to the Saint Thomas community?
I think the biggest lesson I want to pass on to the Saint Thomas community is to pay attention to what’s around you and what you have. I think that we tend to take what we have for granted and don’t stop and look at what we have and what is around us. Guatemala really showed me how much we all have and I think I just really want to pass the on to the rest of the congregation.