Thursday, March 18, 2010

Guest Blog #2: Mission Trip

Guest Blogger #2:  Karen O'Donnell (my mom!)

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.  But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

       Mother Theresa

June 21-28, 2009

I went on my very first mission trip to an orphanage in Guatemala! Partnering with Orphan Outreach, I shared this experience with 8 other women from my church (Christ Church, Plano, TX). We ministered to approximately 12o at-risk girls (ages 12-18) at the Manchen Girls Home in Antigua. This orphanage is run by the government, but they welcome outside groups to bring aid and encouragement to these girls who face emotional, physical and mental challenges. Some of them are teen mothers and their babies live with them in the orphanage. We brought the message that each one of them is “Beautiful in God’s Eyes” through teaching, singing, crafts, games and one on one attention. With so many other influences and beliefs that also come to this orphanage, it was our hope to leave them knowing that God loves them and that Jesus Christ is his son who came to Earth and died so that they can have eternal life! (Easy, right!?)

 Now that you know what my mission was about, I would like to share some incredible memories…

First of all, Guatemala is beautiful. The volcanos looming in the horizon are spectacular to see! We stayed in a lovely hotel in Guatemala City our first night and our last night. (We were given good rates and it was SAFE!) On Monday morning we drove into Antigua. Again, mostly beautiful scenery, old buildings (churches, monasteries), cobble-stone streets, brightly painted walls and very big wooden doors leading inside homes, hotels, schools, businesses....Then you start to notice that every window is covered with bars...ornate, iron...bars! Then you start to notice armed guards and police standing on various street corners and balconies.....then you start to notice the people begging on the streets and the very skinny horses pulling carts... No, I wasn't in Plano anymore! 

We arrived at Manchen (the girls home) in the early afternoon....not at all what I expected! We rang a doorbell outside a very large wooden door and waited for someone to let us in. (Wizard of Oz?) Then we entered an area where there was a locked gate and we would wait for that to open as well. At this point we were greeted by many eager, curious, sweet faces. Manchen used to be a beautiful home with tiled patios, a big courtyard, etc... At first glance, It seems pretty nice....until you really start to see. Because there are so many girls and so many live in each room....they have no personal space. Most of them wear jeans and they all wear a blue top. The special needs girls wear a different kind of shirt, so they are easy to spot when they are all together. That first day was quite chaotic! Trying to break them into groups and do all that we had planned seemed impossible, but we instantly felt a connection and knew that we could regroup and start over the next day! And we did! Each morning we would start our day with the special needs girls. These girls were so sweet and wanted to be hugged a lot! We would begin our time together with music/worship. They loved singing and several helped me lead! I quickly learned their favorites and also learned to guard the CD's & the CD player!!  After that, they would hear a special message, then on to crafts and games! Each afternoon, we did the same thing with the other girls. 

These girls have so little, they have suffered so much (rape, incest, prostitution). They are starving for love and I fear will do anything to get it. Many were very emotional and all we could do was hold them and wipe their tears and tell them that God loves them and that He will answer their prayers…We had several babies to hold throughout the day….one only a few months old. At first, it was hard to tell which baby belonged to who, as they are passed around like rag dolls…Each day was better than the day before….it was nice to go back each day and see familiar faces! We had some wonderful interns and translators working with us. We couldn’t have done it without them! Roberto (16 years old) helped me a lot with the games! The girls loved him too! We made the most of our lunch break each day….. we toured old churches and a beautiful old monastery, ate with the former first lady of Guatemala, Wendy Berger, at the Santo Domingo, and even managed a meal at McDonald’s. Our hotel in Antigua was also quite lovely...a wonderful escape at the end of each day! On Friday of that week, we were honored to attend the church services for the girls who were celebrating their Quincenera. (15th Birthday) There were 21 girls! With the help of donated dresses, jewelry, make-up and shoes…they looked beautiful and felt like princesses! What a special day in their bleak lives!

 I got to experience shopping in the marketplace before heading home….(Thank goodness for our translators!)  Needless to say, I feel very blessed to have been a part of this mission and to have had the opportunity to see God’s hands working miracles every day! I am still singing the songs and thinking of Heidi, Marta, Karla, Luz, Maribel, Laura, Luisa, Elsa, Yesenia, Sonia, Carolina, Jose, Christian, Roberto & Lillian….to name a few…..

I pray that we left them with what cannot be taken away (Luke 10:42)—a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

(Mucho) Love,


(Lindsay’s Mom)

1 comment:

  1. What an Awesome post! I love all the pictures! Thanks for sharing!


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