(Note: this article was written by Sonya Leddy. She was a part of the HOPE Brigade in Guatemala this summer. She shares about her experience in this blog post.)
My experience in Guatemala this summer exemplified the words “It is far better to give than to receive.” It was set in motion as I joined over 50 volunteers ready to give at this 3-day medical brigade. We quickly joined forces as a team of doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, teachers, students and translators all with one mission – to care for the extreme poor and those in most need. It was evident after the first day of serving that our bodies were exhausted but our hearts were fulfilled & satisfied from the work that was done.
Each day our team assembled with joyful, giving hearts to painstakingly administer medical and dental care, count thousands of multi-vitamins and pain relievers, fill desperately needed prescription medication and entertain the precious children. Hundreds were served daily at no cost, prescription and reading glasses provided free of charge, and three months of multi-vitamins distributed to every man, woman and child seen. Words cannot do justice to the impact and blessing brought to this community from the donations and sacrifices made from the churches across the US. It was truly an inspiring testimony of God’s love for the poor.
The children’s program, in which I served, bubbled with smart & creative kids. They played games, had their faces painted, made bracelets and customized their very own T-shirts. It was a pleasure to watch their faces light up as they proudly embellished their shirts with rhinestones and glitter, or colored their names artistically written in bubble letters. One mom requested that ‘God loves you.’ be written in English on her baby son’s t-shirt. While this mother was grateful for the t-shirt, I was much more grateful for her faith as a mother despite her circumstance.
While countless moments like this moved my heart, as I expected. One moment stood out. During a brief conversation with a brother from the Guatemala church I mentioned how my faith has been challenged in recent years. I experienced the loss of my 4 year-old, son to a tragic accident, and my 35 year-old, sister to an aggressive cancer. He said tenderly, “You were called to have passion for all, not just a few.” Wow!
My heart has been humbled and my passion transformed. I have not stopped thinking of Guatemala since I’ve left. My husband says I’ve found my calling. I believe him. When you volunteer with Hope Worldwide your mission is to bring hope and change lives. YOU return with a greater hope and a changed life. It IS, far more better to give than to receive.