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Guatemalan mission changes students’ perspective

While+on.a+mission+trip+to+Guatemala%2C+Junior+Laura+Kate+Waters+helps+teach+a+girl+to+swim.
While on.a mission trip to Guatemala, Junior Laura Kate Waters helps teach a girl to swim.

While on.a mission trip to Guatemala, Junior Laura Kate Waters helps teach a girl to swim.

•courtesy of Laura Kate Waters

•courtesy of Laura Kate Waters

While on.a mission trip to Guatemala, Junior Laura Kate Waters helps teach a girl to swim.

Kayleigh Padar

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Several students participated in mission work over the summer. Although some volunteer work was completed near home, a group of students from St. Peter’s Church traveled all the way to Guatemala.

“The people in Guatemala are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. They are always putting others before themselves,” junior Laura Kate Waters said.

They spent the majority of the trip in the city of Amatitlan, where they stayed in a church. Throughout the time, they also explored other cities in Guatemala on day trips. The majority of their days was spent telling children bible lessons and playing games with them. On the weekends, they took the children on different trips, such as going camping or going to local swimming pools.

“A place I saw right outside our camping area was a side of a mountain. We walked out there and the view was so beautiful. Even at night with all the lights and stars, it was probably the prettiest view I have ever seen,” Waters said.

Being able to meet and spend time with all of the different people in Guatemala impacted the mission team greatly.

“We go into their homes and we see how awful their living situation is and how they don’t have much, yet they come with the biggest smiles on their faces,” Waters said.

A variety of specific people impacted the mission team throughout the time of their trip.

“One woman who I have worked with is named Liz. She is the pastor’s wife. Liz cooks for all of us, which is a lot of work. She does it all with a smile on her face. She doesn’t know much English and I don’t know much Spanish, but she tries so hard to talk and get to know us. Liz is like our mom in Guatemala, and I couldn’t thank her enough for all that she has done. It’s so overwhelming all the work she has put in,” Waters said.

Even the children influenced the volunteers.  “The best part of the trip was being with the kids and making lasting relationships with them,” junior Brianna Morris said.

“I worked with a girl named Raina. She didn’t know how to swim. I helped her and was teaching her, and she trusted me even though I had just met her a few hours before. It was so amazing to see her smiling as she swam to my arms from the pool wall,” Waters said.

Many of the volunteers agreed that the trip helped them expand their world views.  “The trip changed my view on the world and helped me understand there’s more to the world than just what we see in Illinois,” Morris said.

“Each year I hear other stories, or I see other things that are just heartbreaking, but I realize that beyond our amazing life in America this is how other people live in the world. This can be sad, but it makes you realize how fortunate we are,” Waters said.

Many of the volunteers plan to return to Guatemala in the future to continue trying to help the people and spread their beliefs. They also hope to encourage others to consider participating in future mission trips.

“If there was someone that was interested in going on this trip I would highly encourage them to do it. It changes the way you view things and your attitude to be more grateful for what you have in life because some of the people that you work with don’t all have what you do,” Morris said.

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Guatemalan mission changes students’ perspective