Aug 4, 2023

A Reflection from Guatemala...

Journey to Guatemala, Day 4: A Reflection written by Ashley Andersen (traveler, Our Savior Lutheran Church-Faribault, Minn. July 2023)

Today was another amazing day in the cloud forest. It was especially exciting for us to be able to participate in the Kids and Birds program that teaches children from local villages about ecology, sustainability, and so much more about our world.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I was a little nervous. How would I communicate with them? How would I be able to interact with them in a meaningful way when we don’t speak the same language? (Many only speak the Mayan language of Q’eqchi’.) I think I can safely say that they were hesitant too.

While Rob [Cahill, co-founder of Community Cloud Forest Conservation, our partner in Guatemala] was explaining to us all what we would be doing today, I could see them stealing curious glances our way and whispering to each other.  After introductions, we were placed into groups and sent out into the field.

As we walked to the river, the group leaders (who were once students like them and now college students) showed them recently planted trees and taught them about condensation. They did a little project with tissue paper and water to learn about run-off. Then they got to use strainers and to look for life in the river. Pretty soon everyone, adults and kids alike, were in the river exploring and laughing and showing each other newly found treasures in the form of snails and bugs and shells. It didn’t take long to realize that I hadn’t needed to worry. The language of laughing and learning together is universal.


Tonight as I reflect on the day, the gravity of the work being done here begins to settle on me.

We learned through one of the teachers that accompanied the kids that most, if not all of them, had ever seen a river or any body of water before. To be able to experience that sense of wonder with them for the first time was truly a privilege.

I pray that sense of wonder continues to grow and leads these children to places where they can be agents of positive change for their communities.

I’ll end with a quote that Rob shared with us this morning:

“Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home.” – Pope Francis

Ashley and some of her family traveled to Guatemala with LPGM as part of a group from Our Savior's Lutheran Church (Faribault, Minn.) July of 2023. To read more blogs from trip members, visit their Facebook page at (20+) Facebook. To watch their "Guatemala Sunday Service" at church, click here.

Watch this video to learn more about traveling to Guatemala with LPGM:

Plans are in the works for more trips to Guatemala June 15-24, 2024.

To add your name to the interest list or learn more about travel with LPGM, visit Transformational Travel — Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry.