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Spring Break of 2007, most are thinking of their upcoming Florida trip, or just preparing for a week of rest at home. I, on the other hand, was packing for a week of intense heat in the country of Guatemala. A group from my school was taking a mission trip to an orphanage in the small town of Zacapa. Excitement pumped through my veins when the airplane’s engines kicked in. I had never been out of America before. What was it going to look like? Feel like? Smell like? Other than what I had read in magazines and online articles I had no idea.
The first step out of the plane proved to me that a week in Guatemala would be a much hotter week than one at home in Northern Michigan. As we made the bus ride to our destination, Zacapa, I tried to study and soak in as much of the culture as I possibly could. The main difference the eye could see was definitely the gorgeous mountains that skied around us in every direction. Everywhere I looked made me think just how creative God’s hand is. It was a sight I hope to never forget. There was one thing, however, that detracted from the beauty of Guatemala; the dirtiness. Trash and waste had piled up on the street-sides. I found myself wondering just how beautiful Guatemala could be if only the trash could somehow be ridded of.
As the Bus pulled into the orphanage kids seemed to appear from everywhere, I found myself trying to guess who would be my best friends of the group by the time the trip was over. As we stepped out the joy on the kids faces sent chills through my body. I found myself wondering; how could somebody be so happy to see someone that they have never seen before? I wasn’t quite sure, but it sure made me feel wonderful knowing how much these people loved us and we hadn’t even served them yet. It was going to be a good week.
Immediately I made numerous new friends playing card games and plenty of pick-up basketball games. I tried to do the best I could to understand the spanish words that all the kids were speaking to me. I could pick out a few phrases here and there but I wasn’t near good enough to hold a true conversation. It would seem that this problem would make it harder to make friends and have fun with the kids that I could hardly speak to. But the love of God showed in my attitude and it was wondrous how easily I could connect with the needy orphans with just a simple smile. As the kids and I became closer as the week went bye I knew it was going to be hard to leave; and believe me it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, leaving on a bus watching all the kids waving at me and my fellow missionaries.
As we returned home, I couldn’t stop thinking about just how much a simple smile can mean to another person. The impression that a smile gives cannot even be explained by words. Smile, I figured out, sometimes is all you have to do to show the love of God to another person. The point will definitely be made just by one of the smallest of gestures. I thank God for my wonderful trip and the wonderful impact I was able to have on the orphans from Guatemala.