Stories - Guatemala June 2017 #5


Guatemala June 2017 #5

Johnna Stein | Jun 21, 2017

Every day our team gathers at 7:00 AM for Dr. Hermann Alb’s hour-long morning devotions. He's been teaching us about the difference between being on a mission trip vs. going on a date with Jesus. Hermann explained how we have been invited on this mission trip to partner with Jesus. He asks us to step out in faith and open our mouths, in addition to serving. Only then can God restore others and restore us unto himself.


On Monday morning at Mana de Vida school, we received an enthusiastic welcome from 147 children dancing and singing to Mandesa’s- Overcomer. They then outstretched their arms and prayed a blessing over us. As they exited to their classrooms, they swarmed us with hugs and smiles, making sure not to miss any of us! It’s hard to explain the love that pours out of them and what a blessing it is to have their arms wrap you tight. We then heard about the fascinating history of Mana and the amazing future plans. Our team headed out to our special centers like math instruction, art, soccer and crafts.


While the children enjoyed those centers, two of us taught the teachers reading methods and activities, as well as good habits and practices in the classroom. Both of us felt somewhat discouraged after our short times of instruction on Monday, uncertain if any impact would be made or if the teachers would be willing and able to implement new curriculum and practices. The next day they would prepare new lessons, and we would observe and coach them in the classroom.


Tuesday morning we surrendered our plans and arrived at school uncertain what awaited us, but we were ready to partner with Jesus and see how He would work. I began in the 4th grade classroom, and within five minutes, I teared up watching this teacher go above and beyond what she had been taught. She even made up her own game, which the kids loved. She received my words of correction well, while her students enthusiastically participated. Then came the best part! She told us that the young man in the front of the class normally didn’t engage in learning or do his work. Yet he joined in each activity, even volunteering to hand out and collect the dry erase markers and then went on to gather towels to clean off all of the laminated sheets. The teacher felt so encouraged – as did we!


My colleague and I continued to be amazed as we visited classrooms. The teachers had prepared their lessons well, teaching the new material with courage and enthusiasm. We watched naughty- children suddenly become engaged and children who couldn’t read join in the reading activities for the first time.


It’s hard to put into words how incredible the change from Monday to Tuesday was and can only be attributed to God’s work. He so far exceeded any expectations we had. At Mana de Vida we all witnessed the verse that has become “our trip verse” come to life. 


Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than we all ask or think, to Him be the glory. Ephesians 3:20