Alexandra Graziano

Looking back on our week in Guatemala, the Lifelines team recognizes that we are “forever changed.” Our time at Dorie’s Promise taught us the importance of reaching out to others, and the benefits that come with taking that risk. Seeing how deeply the Special Mothers of Dorie’s Promise loved the children was beautiful, and to be a part of that ministry was an unforgettable experience. That love stood out increasingly as we visited other orphanages in the area and were exposed to the realities of corruption and a lack of motivation for putting the children first. Dorie’s Promise certainly stood out as a model for what we wish all orphanages could be.

Outside of spending time with the kids at Dorie’s Promise we visited the Limonada Ghetto of Guatemala City, two villages near Morales and various other places where we delivered the food, clothes, school supplies and medicine they desperately needed. Though initially it seemed that we were coming to “save the day” it didn’t take long to realize that the gifts the people had to offer us would outlive anything we could offer. We were able to witness the hardships they live through every day and hear their testimonies, learning about how capable people are of enduring hard times and how they can find hope even in the midst of poverty. The godly perspective they had in spite of their unimaginable hardships brought the entire team to tears.

The experience challenged each of us to step outside of our comfort zone and embrace the new world we had entered. For some it was seeing the poverty in the ghetto, for others it was in a village near Morales where we spoke as we presented the families with the necessary supplies. There were also physical challenges, such as our hike to the mountain to the village, which emphasized one of our group goals “to be living sacrifices” as in Romans 12. It was strenuous hiking the steep slope in upwards of 100 degree weather and sun but so worth it once we made it to the top and presented the families with things they desperately needed.

Though all of these affected me, the most influential experience was in a church in the Ghetto where I witnessed an indescribable abundance of faith, hope and love for Christ. I was so moved by God’s presence in that humble structure that I found myself giving testimony to all the strangers before me, strangers for whom I felt a love I could not ignore.

 During that week I witnessed miracles I thought I’d only hear in stories and had experiences I could never have imagined. All I can say is that God works wonders, and Dorie’s Promise and the church in the Limonada Ghetto are just two examples I was fortunate enough to be a part of—experiences that left me and my group forever changed.