The dump was very uncomfortable, emotion coming in waves….

The following is a guest post from Matt Schubert.  He spent this past week in Guatemala these are excerpts from his journal.  It is so exciting to see someone living out the destiny by helping others. When we serve others we often find ourselves in uncomfortable situations.  These situations are what stretch us and shape our hearts.
May you be challenged and inspired to serve beyond yourself.
When have you been in a situation that challenged and stretched you personally and emotionally?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.
July 30
Schubert - Guatemala3The dump is difficult to describe. Vultures circle, smoke rises, the ground is hot. Children wander among the trash, just beyond the reach of the flame. An old lady combs through the burning trash – hoping to contribute to the $10 a month her family can earn by finding cans, metal & bottles. The children enjoy playing – but unlike the other villages – there is a gravity to the dump that mutes even the play.
It’s easy to imagine the poor as being unwilling to work. It’s difficult to see people working, harder than I do, just to survive. I have many questions, but remembering the dump is imperative.
I connected with a boy at the dump, he was clearly an athlete and his soccer skills stood out. He wasn’t one of the kids that comes running to you. After proving myself, he allowed me to team w him, even as a gringo. I uttered more Spanish than I had spoken all week when I told him he played well. To my surprise when we returned to the bus he was waiting. Loading the bus I had to get back off to tell him (in broken Spanish) that God loves him. He stood and watched as we boarded, my eyes met his as we left – he waived. I want to remember him and I pray that he will remember that God loves him.
The dump was very uncomfortable, emotion coming in waves. Nearly 2,000 people call this home. I hated seeing the dump – but the faces cried out and it tore at us to leave.
It’s humbling and overwhelming to consider our role as Christ followers. We are called to bring hope to the broken. It’s encouraging to be here and see people rescued & transformed by the power of God’s Word – His Word in action is evident here. God bring healing and hope to this place.
Psalm 35
9 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD, exulting in his salvation. 10 All my bones shall say, “O LORD, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”
Psalm 9:18
18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.
August 1st
Schubert - Guatemala2Today we celebrated with the people of Pueblo del Rio. It’s a village of about 400 that has been adopted by our church. The village lines the gentle curve of the river. Children play along the steep and rocky banks as mothers wash clothes.
As far as we walk, we see small children peaking around rusted sheet metal with brown bright eyes, some shining with excitement as they remember past interactions. Others want to be noticed but need to know we are safe. Their homes are made of sticks, rusted sheet metal and plastic bags. However, inside they are frequently well organized albeit simple. The people here are gracious.
Much of the week was spent building a cinder block house, playing and teaching children and moms. Today is noticeably different, we are sharing pizza with the village, giving a motorcycle to the village pastor and delivering live goats and chickens. Today the teenagers and men are present – perhaps a sign that we are building trust.
It makes for good soccer games. At home, we wouldn’t recognize the packed dirt patch as a field, yet here it doesn’t matter. The game is fast and physical, our bodies glisten as we banter back n forth. On the field it hardly matters that we speak different languages, we forget about our differences focused on the game at hand – we are communicating. We laugh, we goad, we encourage, we celebrate. Perhaps this is why soccer is called the most beautiful game.
When the game ends, the men stay, perhaps realizing we aren’t so different. Blank faces now show signs of smiles as the indifference fades. I extend my hand and say simply “God loves you”. But I suspect it’s the warm handshake between players that they remember.
The village pastor exhorts these men to be in church. I’m praying that when we return many of these men will have submitted themselves to Christ. The families of the handful of men currently in Church thrive.
The children here need fathers – father’s everywhere bring stability and economic mobility to communities. Here a Father also represents physical protection. A father enables young teens to find their place at home, not in the local gang.
By the end of the day it is unclear who has blessed who – the simplicity of their lives, a magnifier of gratitude, brings joy to our team. We leave excited to invest further in the village. The progress is a reminder that God is at work and we have been privileged to play a small role in bringing hope.
My prayer for the village and for our team today is that together we could say:
“…I shall sing of Thy strength; yes, I shall joyfully sing of Thy loving kindness in the morning, for Thou hast been my stronghold, and a refuge in the day of my distress. Oh my strength, I will sing praises to Thee; for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me loving kindness.” Psalm 60:16-17