“When I came back, I didn’t feel like God really used me… but now I see what He was doing.”

When Mary Beeks went on her first mission trip to Guatemala, she felt a little useless. Why did God call her to go on this trip when she had nothing to contribute?  Check out her story on how God filled her with purpose after she obeyed His leading to go! 
My first trip to Guatemala was on a mission trip with the high school students! I was so sure that I was supposed to go, but I didn’t know why!
Prior to the trip, I really felt convicted by God about my home.
I was not sure why, but  I felt convicted  that I was too concerned about my house being perfect, and that I spent too much money on furniture and things for my home. I thought maybe God was preparing me for the poverty I was going to see, but  I didn’t know.
On the trip down, Karla Kuhl had the girls assigned to a leader to make sure they were safe in the airport and during travel.  I had two girls assigned to me, but they basically stayed with their friends and their mother,  so I didn’t feel very needed at the airport.
Once we arrived, I helped paint, clean, and other things.  Lori Pinney, the missionary, and I never talked much.  There were always so many other women around her, that I didn’t get a chance to get to know her well.  Lori’s daughter and grandchildren were there, but I didn’t really spend time with them either.
One day, I helped out with a pre-school class, because there was no teacher.  Susan Harness and I spent the morning with that class (Susan speaks fluent Spanish).  Still, I really didn’t feel needed.
I decided to sponsor a couple of the children I met – I was drawn to this girl, Jessica, in particular, but she was shy and didn’t want to talk to me. The little boy I sponsored seemed kind of excited to be sponsored, but Jessica wasn’t excited at all.
Jessica and fernanco 2010
The week went by, and still no BIG moment.
I wasn’t really a leader on the trip, and I felt I didn’t really have a role, although I tried to do my part.  Sometimes I was just looking for things to do.
It was time to come home, and although it was a great trip, I still didn’t know what my purpose was. 
Why was I so convicted before I left?  Maybe God was going to change my living conditions, and it had nothing to do with Guatemala.  I was still confused.  Why did I go on the trip?
Two or three months after we were home,
I found out that Lori’s daughter and grandchildren were coming to the United States.  I can’t explain it, but I immediately felt they were supposed to stay with me.  Yes, I felt that the two little girls, one 3 and one 7 years old, were supposed to stay with me (and my white sofas).
Lori said it was God answering her prayers. She was so happy that her daughter and granddaughters would be safe with me and attending Valley View where Lori had so many friends.
The girls came and lived with me for four months;
God had prepared me!  When the girls made a watermark on my table, I thought “When I look at this table, I will remember a good memory.”  When Megan colored the front of the television, I learned that it wipes right off!  When she colored the window sill, that wipes off too.  Melody burned my countertop, and I thought, “she’s so grown up, already wanting to cook”.  I knew the countertop was going to be replaced someday. God had been preparing me for this: I had been so, so picky about my house, and he was getting me ready to share by convicting me!
When they left, I cried.  But, after they left, my ‘mission trip’ was still happening!
  1. The little girl I sponsored (Jessica) who would never talk to me turned out to be in a family of 21 children. Our Valley View Youth worked with me and made her family our Christmas project!  They went  to Walmart and bought every child clothes and a toy.  Lori ended up having a Christmas Party at her house for the Surrey’s.  It was a blessing for Valley View, for the family, for Lori, and for me.
  2. The next year, Jessica’s family received backpacks from the Valley View youth for school!
  3. The following year, some friends of mine sponsored two more of Jessica’s siblings, and now those children get gifts from them every time I go down there.  One year, my friends gave me enough money to take all of the kids shoe shopping!  We all got in the back of a pickup and went to the shoe store – it was so much fun.
  4. Lori and I have become close and talk on the phone and I have returned to Guatemala several times to visit her and her grandchildren.  I hope my visits are encouragement to her.
  5. And NOW, here we are, preparing to minister to the women of Guatemala.  I’m not sure if this would have happened if I wouldn’t have gone to Guatemala on that first mission trip.
Do you feel called to go?  God wants you on this trip. 
Maybe your mission will be while you are there,  maybe some of you may be like me, and your mission begins later.  Maybe God wants one of you to be a leader next year, or two years from now.  Maybe you will meet a family down there who needs your help…  only God knows.  When I came back from my trip, I didn’t understand.  I didn’t feel like God really used me.  But now, I see what He was doing.  For most of the women on my first mission trip, God used them while they were there.  For me, He used me when I returned.
Love you all!
Mary