Finding Joy in Guatemala

Senior Zachary Bindus and junior Marissa Smith weren’t sure they wanted to go on one of Global Outreach’s spring break mission trips. But through a series of events, God made it clear to both of them that they were supposed to be in Guatemala. Here is a glimpse into their experiences during their week abroad. [All photos courtesy of Marissa Smith]

The CU team partnered with Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel, serving primarily in the camps the ministry hosts for 5th to 12th graders. As per their website, "AMG International is an evangelical Christian missionary agency ministering in over 30 countries of the world." Over 70 kids attended the camp, most of whom were coming to camp for the first time. According to the AMG missionaries, the CU team was the first group to stay with the kids all week. "They were really nervous about us coming [because of the language barrier], but at the end of the week the leaders said within five minutes that barrier was gone," Bindus said. (Photo: Sophomore Chris Hintz with some of the campers at the end-of-camp celebration.) For junior student and team leader Marissa Smith (right), this was her second time going to Guatemala - her first being freshman year with her sister, junior Illyssa Smith (left), on a different mission trip. “The first time you go out of the country for a missions trip, it’s super powerful and heartbreaking," Smith said. Most of her team had never been out of the country on a mission trip before, and were witnessing the poverty of a third-world country for the first time. "It was really cool getting to walk through that with them.” Senior student Zach Bindus (middle, orange shirt) was one of those members. Though he initially had no intentions of going on a mission trip over spring break, he said God opened the doors and made it clear to him that he was supposed to go to Guatemala. "I signed up on the last day to apply, and I was going through the list and just picked Guatemala. I thought, 'Oh, that looks nice.'" While there, Bindus shared a sweet, though brief moment with Diego Mundo, one of the kids at a school they visited. He said his interactions with Diego Mundo and the other kids taught him a lot about the joy the kids have despite their circumstances - "It really made me reevaluate where I was at with my faith," he said. “Both times, the word ‘passion’ has been huge in what I’ve taken back," Smith said. Witnessing the child-like faith of the kids at camp was what impacted her the most about this trip. "These are 5th-graders...When I was in 5th grade, I didn't even know what it meant to be on my knees crying out to the Lord."  During their school visits, the team visited the slums in which many of these children live, impacting several of the students and challenging their perspective on life. "We all complain about the littlest things, we don’t find joy in anything. And these kids are some of the most joyful people I’ve ever met," said Bindus. "It really gave me a sense of 'where is my joy found'?"
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Senior student Zach Bindus (middle, orange shirt) was one of those members. Though he initially had no intentions of going on a mission trip over spring break, he said God opened the doors and made it clear to him that he was supposed to go to Guatemala. "I signed up on the last day to apply, and I was going through the list and just picked Guatemala. I thought, 'Oh, that looks nice.'"

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