Peering Through a God Lens In Guatemala, Zone 18


Rusty bikes, an algae filled lake, broken riding toys and wooden swings are among the few things that inspire me. My heart is cracked open from a mission trip trip to Guatemala City.

The Guatemalan children from Zone 18, the most dangerous and poverty-stricken zone in Guatemala City cheered as they pulled out twenty rusty bikes to ride a beaten dirt path around a lake. The children eagerly awaited their turn to ride and their single trip around the lake revealed a smile from ear to ear.


The lake was a shallow hole filled with rain water, green algae and floating oranges. However, a simple row across a 300 yard span in a two person raft caused the same  joy and excitement as a roller coaster. The kids patiently stood with a zipped up life jacket for the chance to touch the rock on the other side.

A broken riding toy was no match for a Guatemalan toddler. The wheels fell off and not a whine, whimper or grunt was heard. A thankful boy popped the wheels back into place and he was on his jolly way back down an incline with all smiles.

Wooden swings that wobbled unbalanced and would have annoyed both an American child and parent was a treasure to each Guatamalan boy and girl. Sheer joy and hope was expressed as feet wiggled gleefully.

You would have thought our team brought Disney Land. We helped build a playground with a slide, a ramp for the zip line, monkey bars and a climbing wall. It was the thrill of a life time.


The simple entertainment was an oasis of fun and excitement from a desolate living condition. It was hope on a scary day with scraps to eat and a dirt floor.

What did these children teach me?

Their hope was in the Lord as I peered through a God Lens.

They inspired me as I watched their joy in the condition that God had placed them. Most of them lived in tin shacks with a dirt floor, no running water located in the heart of a gang stricken area. Many families have been affected by these gangs with drive-by shootings, grenades, robbery and more. In fact, during a home visit we met a grateful dad in a wheel chair that had been paraylzed by a drive-thru shooting. His home had been adapted with a wheel-chair ramp last year. He was joyful with no running water and curtains dividing rooms in a 400-square foot area. I noticed his Bible in his wheelchair beside him. The look in his eyes was different.

Scripture inspired Him.

During this week I was studying Proverbs 31. Verse 20 happened to be the scripture for the week. Was it a mistake or coincidence? Absolutely not. God was speaking to my soul.

I was inspired by scripture.

She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
Proverbs 31:20

God is nudging me. I have been inspired by these words when I first began my Mom on a Mission Ministry. Recently I took some time off. It has been too much time away from helping others and feeling sorry for myself. The JOY {Jesus, Others, Yourself} got reprioritized and too much emphasis has been on myself. I’ve been inspired to realign my mission and start serving again. I’ve taken too much time away from opening my arms to the poor and extending my hands to the needy. He tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me it was time to use my gifts again.

I met a man by the name of Jose much like me who used his gifts and calling. He was called back to his home country from a lucrative position and status to help distressed children.

He is peering through a God Lens too.


God is using his ministry to feed a nutritious breakfast and lunch to the Guatemalan children every weekday for nine years. He brings faith and hope to each family every Tuesday with donated produce after a full day of Market solicitation. Jose’s family of four loves each child uncoditionally. Though some lice infested, poor, hungry and dirty, smiles radiated as our mission team distributed God’s touch.

Wheel barrel rides, arm and thumb wrestles, hair braiding, warm embraces, soccer  challenges, UNO games and grade school hand clapping were simple gestues that broke language barriers. 

The kids amazed me with their gratitude. Simple meals of thin bean soup, white rice, heavy charred tortilla and a quartered potato covered in a tomato sauce caused one to lick their plate clean and scavenge for the uneaten. Children over nine washed their own tray, cup and mismatched spoon in three buckets consisting of washing liquid, sanitzer and rinse. Did they do it gladly? Guatemalan children eagerly and joyfully cleaned, praising God for what was their lot.

I have many lesssons to learn from these children.

It was a blessing to see these children receive nutritious hot meals, loving care, entertainment and education. My heart ached for their living situation. Many children would not live until 18 without Jose’s intervention. Some were kids were cared for by aunts, uncles, grandparents and even siblings because thier family was involved in a gang accident.

There is both joy and pain in Guatemala.

My easily obtained meal eaten without flies and gnats in an air conditioned home is looked upon differently. How long will I be able to peer through a God lens? I will need gentle reminders from God. Journal reminiscing, photo recollection and blog posts will help me remember the forgotten.

The Hope Guatemala Ministry is bringing hope to Zone 18 children and families.

The children are inspiring us and sending the real hope home with us.


They are peering through a God lens everyday. Unlike us, there are few worldly distractions clouding the lens. We have opportunities to keep the lens free of debris and latch onto this hope. Hope for Guatemala sponsors a child’s family and provides food, education, better living conditions, clothing and much more. A monthly $35 sponsorship can change a family’s life for the better. Remember the father in the wheel chair with a ramp on his house? The monthly $35 gave him a ramp for an easier ride in. Teenagers can go to college for a year for $35. Children can eat healthy meals at home. What can $35 do in America? We can buy a Sunday lunch after church or we can withhold one lunch for a month and give hope to a Guatemalan family.


I am inspired to give more, help more, touch more and share more of what I have. 

Guatemala is changing me for the better.

I want to bottle all my memories through the God lens and make life changes. Belly aches, nausea and diarrhea are a drop in the bucket and an endurance test to see what changes are in the future.

It is time to break free from the ordinary and live extraordinary. What can I do locally to make a difference? How can I give God’s hope to others, unconditionally, no strings attached with gentle hands and a warm heart embrace?

I will peer through a God lens and see what awaits. 

Have you peered through a God lens lately?

Click here to watch our one minute video recap.

Thank you for reading this long inspiring post about my first international mission trip. This post contains affiliate links.

4 thoughts on “Peering Through a God Lens In Guatemala, Zone 18

  1. lisa

    Wow! What a story! Makes you stop and take a look at everything we take for granted! Thank you for sharing! Blessings to you!!

  2. Cecil Swenson

    My name is Cecil and I run a low budget Christian church camp in Idaho. Would you be willing to send me the plans for the play ground equipment that you built?

    1. admin

      Hi Cecil, we don’t have any plans or blue prints, the construction guys were experienced and just did a fabulous job! I hope you find something that works within your budget and God sends the right people along.

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