( I know I know – it’s still Monday and I was able to post this! (see previous post) So … we do not have electricity in our house yet … but thanks to a generator, we have TV and internet!! Thanks Teddy !!)
I made it back! I’m home I’m home!
Guatemala was a life-changing event. UNBELIEVABLE.
But now I’ve got 6 chances to share it with you (maybe more!) as I fulfill my response to the six ways Seth Barnes says that a short-term mission trip can change your life. (Read my 6 previous blog posts beginning with the July 7th post if you are new to my blog – that was the first of the 6 blogs I wrote about this mission trip.)
According to Seth Barnes, the fourth way a short-term mission trip can change your life is by revealing your materialism. Do we really need all that stuff?
Materialism showed itself in two forms during my week in Guatemala. I saw it in my own needs and in what I packed, and I saw a level of materialism in the people and town of Guatemala.
I have to admit, I did over pack. When I went to unpack after my trip, I probably did not wear over half of the clothes I took. I just didn’t need ‘em. We Americans just have more clothes than we need. Every day I saw the clothes of the people of Guatemala drying on the clothesline. They were most likely hand washed and now air-dried. Wear what’s clean and wash what’s dirty – why have any more clothes than that?
I didn’t even pack a blow dryer for my hair. I didn’t know if the voltage was the same and if I could plug in my dryer (I could have) but I also figured it would be too hot to even want to blow dry my hair. (It was.) I have to admit, that I also packed make-up. Yeah, right. After the first day I realized that anything I put on my face was simply going to drip off in the sweat and heat. (It did.) My mascara was water-proof so I was able to wear that successfully. Funny though, that our accommodations had only one mirror on the wall – a tiny one over the bathroom sink. That was it. After a day or two, I didn’t even bother to think to look at myself – to check my clothes or hair or face – I couldn’t! It didn’t matter. I don’t think many of the older Guatemalan folks had mirrors either. After fixing the teeth of several locals, we handed them a mirror to look at what we had done, and some of them didn’t know what to do with it. It was obvious that some of the younger people in town were more fashion and make-up conscious – but vanity and the need for mirrors was not a big necessity in Guatemala.
I found out that I can get by on a lot less clothes than my full closet alludes to, and that I don’t need make-up or blow-dryers.
And the people of Guatemala seemed genuinely happy with a lot less STUFF. I mean – who needs a fancy gym or treadmill when just getting around town every day means you get to walk up and down these steps?
And a walk down the street offers bananas for snacking (if you can climb high enough). How convenient! (btw – have you ever seen a banana flower? I was told that when that flower blooms, it’s time to pick the bananas!)
Life in Guatemala was simply about getting by – having enough to eat, a roof over your head, and clean clothes to wear. It’s about making the most of what you have. There didn’t seem to be any competitions about ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’. See? All the rooftops here are the same – and that’s good enough!
We in America are blessed with so much – food, shelter, clothes, education, and stuff. Lots of stuff. More stuff than we need. My trip to Guatemala made me realize how much I can do without – and how some people can be happy with so little.
Seth Barnes says, “To reach our destinies, we need more simplicity, not stuff.”
We need more appreciation of God’s beauty in this world … more love for mankind … and less stuff.
Matthew 6:19-21 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.