Coral Backpack

By: Maddie Hayes

Maddie is a Kennesaw State University student and a Saving Susan Ministry Intern  for the Summer 2018. Here, she describes one of the many experiences at House of Hope Zacapa in Guatemala that impacted her life.

I had the privilege of traveling to House of Hope Zacapa in Guatemala this past April with Saving Susan Ministry and NorthStar Church. It was definitely one of the best experiences I have ever had and I believe God showed me many things that will impact me throughout the rest of my life. Meeting and bonding with the children of House of Hope Zacapa was eye opening and heart-warming. Learning about the culture and experiencing it first hand was a huge bonus for me as well. After four days of spending time with the children, we gave each of them a personalized bag filled with little toys, trinkets, and clothes. Each bag was specifically made for each individual child; they were filled to the brim with each child’s favorite color, superhero, activity, or toy. We handed out the bags accordingly, and watched the kids open their gifts. They were all excitedly running around showing the mission team all their new belongings. The kids were ecstatic about receiving sparkly pencils, toy cars, basketballs, and new outfits. It truly warmed my heart to see them so genuinely filled with joy.

When we arrived, we were informed that House of Hope Zacapa had taken in a few new children right before we got to Guatemala. Because of this, Saving Susan Ministry was scrambling to put together a few bags filled with gifts for the new arrivals. The new children received more simple bags and gifts due to the mission team being unaware of their arrival. One of the new children, Abby, received a bright coral backpack filled with a few pencils, small trinkets, and other small gifts; it was a more modest bag compared to some of the other bags the other children received. To our surprise, Abby burst into tears. The mission team was in shock and we were all upset because we assumed that we did not provide enough for her based on her response. We thought she felt neglected, forgotten, and pushed aside; when honestly, we just weren’t aware of her coming to The House of Hope Zacapa until it was too late. One of our team members went over to this sobbing, curled up girl in the corner and asked her why she was crying. She proceeded to tell us she had never been given anything before. From anyone. She was overwhelmed with a few colored pencils and a few small gifts. We realized that her tears were not tears of sadness, rather tears of overwhelming joy! This is the type of gratefulness I loved to witness first-hand while at House of Hope Zacapa.

Seeing this situation unfold really put things into perspective for me. I should be filled with this overwhelming gratitude every day. I should be thanking God every day for waking me up and providing for me. Abby has no idea how much of an impact she had on me that day. Who knew that a bright coral backpack filled with a few sparkly pencils could have such an impact on so many lives.

And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
— 1 Chronicles 29:13