Whitefield Academy Blog
Whitefield Goes to Guatemala: Repairing the Ruins
On March 14, 2019, five Spanish 3 Whitefield Academy seniors and I got on a plane and flew to Guatemala. We went to work alongside the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Guatemalan staff to share how the Lord has changed our lives (in Spanish!) through soccer camps for kids and through sharing the Gospel with our testimonies. As God usually sees fit, He used this trip to reveal Himself to us as well.
John Milton, a classicist, says, “The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him…”
As we have been repairing the ruins of cultural and language barriers these past three years, most importantly we have been repairing the ruins of our first parents through knowing the Creator of the universe as He reveals more of Himself in written language. The same God who reveals Himself takes us from death to life. Not bad to good. Not even good to better. But death – our eternal souls wasting away – to life – true life in Him.
Part of this repair to know, love, and imitate Him is not only for ourselves but also for others. After Jesus conquers death itself He then tells His disciples, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
The purpose of our trip was not to make disciples but to facilitate discipleship opportunities for the local Guatemalan FCA staff when we left. We were able to expose ourselves to God’s heart for the nations and expose others to the Gospel.
With all of this in mind, a Spanish senior trip was born.
When you fully experience a different culture and language it is scary and you are forced into discomfort and difficulty. BUT this is when we have to truly depend on the Lord and watch Him work through our weaknesses. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul tells us, “But [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’” So in the midst of our sin (fear, distrust, frustration, passivity, pride) being revealed and magnified while in Guatemala, we could boast in the weaknesses we saw revealed in ourselves because we had the opportunity to watch the power of Christ work through us!
I am so proud of how the students depended on the Lord and took steps of faith. We watched God work because of God’s faithfulness and their dependency!
One student, Lawrence Thoele, said it like this:
“Going on this trip, I was nervous about speaking Spanish. I was curious and slightly apprehensive about what it would be like in Guatemala. The food, the people, the lodging situation, the high crime levels, and other little things were all aspects of this new culture that gave me a little concern. I was afraid, but only for a moment. For when I gave my fear to the Lord, He returned a gift of peace. I was strengthened and encouraged by simply knowing that He is God. He is my refuge.”
So what did we learn in this step of faith?
God is our refuge. He is trustworthy.
Another student, Tyler Weeks, said, “I did not think that this trip would be so life-changing. We often got the chance to share deep stories with each other. I loved getting to know everyone there and could really see God working. Guatemala will forever have a place in my heart.”
God deepens fellowship with believers.
Caitlyn Lampley, another senior on the trip, said, “I experienced God every day. Hearing people sing a song in Spanish that I knew in English while praising God put me in awe.”
God is personal. He is worthy of awe in all languages.
Roman Schwarz said, “I learned that God is working in all cultures and is most powerful when we have faith in what He can do.”
God is the God of all nations. He is powerful.
Liz Garcia said, “God has a way of using small things to point us to Him and His character. I felt God giving me the courage to step outside my comfort zone and be a little vulnerable. Trusting the Lord is sometimes hard because you cannot always see the purpose of difficult things. I have to constantly remind myself that God has everything under control. In Guatemala, it was so clear to see how God was at work. I shared my testimony and I was told that the children [at the soccer camps] were inspired by it. I did not know that my story was going to be so meaningful to the kids, but God used my story. Four kids accepted Christ after hearing Tyler’s, Caitlyn’s, and all our testimonies. God used us for something good.”
God is strength. Revealing Himself. In control. At work. Taking people from death to life.
“In the end, I knew it was the Lord who had put me in Guatemala. I knew that He was altering my desires through everyone and everything around me. I knew that He called me to serve. The Lord gave me a new way of knowing Him; a way that does not stay in Guatemala; a way that leads me wherever I go,” said Lawrence.
May the ruins in our lives keep repairing. May we continue to know our Creator and point others to Him, the One for whom our souls long. And the One for whom souls around the world long.
To Him be the glory! Among the nations. Forever.