Any day with Mission Guatemala is a good day, but today was a special blessing for the team. We were greeted by beautiful sunshine, despite a forecast of rain…and had delicious banana pancakes for breakfast to fortify us for the work ahead.

At the work site, cement block walls grew taller and stronger, thanks to many hands tying rebar, mixing concrete and meticulously placing blocks. A cool breeze offered relief from the heat, and many of us are sporting “worksite tans” – a sunburn that starts where the work gloves leave off.

After lunch, we headed a bit further up the road to a neighborhood built by refugees from the Guatemalan coast who had lost their homes in Hurricane Stan, 12 years ago. When the van doors opened, beaming faces were their to greet us, arms extended for hugs. The local elementary school children walked us up the path to to school where we organized our own summer Olympics: stations where the children ran an obstacle course, jumped roped, ran sack races and played soccer. I’m not sure which group laughed louder or had more fun. The whole schoolyard was squealing!

When it was time for goodbyes, the children self assembled and began singing to us. The words were unfamiliar, but the tune carried us all back to our own childhoods. We realized we were hearing the Spanish version of a song we all knew, with a message appropriate for children of any age:

Jesus loves me, this I know. For the bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak but he is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The bible tells me so.

We are blessed, everyday, in ways small, unexpected and lasting.

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