a story about Hope. Joy. Peace. Love.

I knew before stepping onto my first plane flight to Atlanta that Guatemala was going to be a trip unlike any I had ever experienced. Being only my second time out of the country, I was nervous and excited. I was going to “Prince of Peace” – A Home for Girls – that teaches girls to love God, love others, and love themselves. I knew I was going to meet and spend my week with about 50 girls and try to love on them the best I could. I prayed for the girls and that God would give me the ability to love like I have never loved before.

As soon as I entered to gate to Prince of Peace I knew I was where God wanted me to be during Week of Ministry. After a couple of hours of unpacking, eating lunch, and receiving instructions for the week, girls came running towards our group of 19 from Nebraska Christian College. Running towards us with open arms and eager smiles, my heart broke. It only took me a few minutes to realize how little Spanish I knew. Going to bed later that night, I was devastated. I kept telling myself, “I came here to love all these girls, and I can’t even talk to them.”

The next morning I woke up determined to create relationships with some of the girls. After devotions and quiet time, I quickly wrote down as many Spanish phases as I could in a note book that I carried with me the rest of the day. After saying “Hola” and looking like a fool to about 7-8 girls, a girl I hadn’t seen before ran over and sat down right next to me. Her name was Maria.

Throughout the week, I met and became close to many other girls, but Maria was my Amiga. Ironically, my Spanish and her English were probably the worst out of all 19 NC students and 50 girls, yet our friendship was strong from the start. Maria is 13 years old and sassy! She is very strong and has a huge heart. I loved spending every little bit of time with Maria, from chasing her for 30 minutes straight at 7:30 at night, to making bracelets and taking goofy pictures, she was a joy to be around!IMG_5073

Maria never wanted to cry in front of me. Every time she would get sad, she would bury her head in my chest or look/runaway, but when we were saying our final goodbyes, we shared tears together. I wanted to tell her that, “she is strong, brave and wise. No matter what happened in her past, she is treasured. God loves her and Jesus is her Prince. She doesn’t doesn’t need to be afraid anymore. Everything is okay,” but my lack of Spanish kept me from saying that. So during our final goodbyes I held her face in my hands, wiped away her tears and said,

“Eres hermosa María.Te quiero mucho.”(You are beautiful Maria. I love you.)

Now, being back in the states and reflecting over the past week, I realize I have learned many things. I have learned that my past doesn’t define me, language is not a barrier, and Christ is everyone’s Prince, but most importantly, I have learned love on a different level. I thought I was going to give love like I have never given before, but instead I have received love like I have never received before. Thank you girls, for representing Christ’s love!

I have decided to sponsor Maria because she is brand new and currently doesn’t have any sponsors. Each girl needs at least 15 sponsors to cover their cost of living and to keep the home open and running. If you are interested in sponsoring a girl from Prince of Peace, I would love to talk and pray with you about your decision.