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Guatemala Brain Dump

Before I left for Guatemala, I had this idea that I’d come back all fired up and inspired.

And that I’d write this deep, insightful post that highlighted several awesome God-moments from the trip.

God moment

And that I’d have dozens of photos of beautiful Guatemalan children.

Guate cute girl

Yeah. That was BEFORE I left. Now that I’m home, I can barely string 2 thoughts together. Just ask Steve. Bless his heart, the poor man has been listening to my incoherent ramblings for 3 days straight. Pray for him.

While I AM fired up and inspired, and while there WERE many awesome God-inspired moments, I don’t have the wherewithal to compose them right now. Hence, the brain dump.

And speaking of dumps, we went back to the Guatemala City dump and worked with Potter’s House ministry again. (Click if you’re curious about child sponsorship at Potter’s House.)


Gracious sakes alive, if you want to have your socks blessed off, go hang out with Carolina, Davy and Laura. Those girls ROCK. Seriously. They arranged for us to meet the children we sponsor, so I got to visit my little Merely and some of her family.

Merely and family

I had the honor of praying over Merely’s family, and I still get chills as I remember her godly mama praying in agreement with me. Get this: my little Guatemalan girlfriend’s favorite subject is MATH. GET OUT — that was my favorite subject TOO!

I’m not sure what these dudes’ favorite subjects were, but they were all about the Ninja Turtles coloring book s we took to their orphanage. They were also all about blowing bubbles.

guate orphanage

Another treat was spending time with old friends from our previous trip.

Guate girls

Emily Gallimore, Sara McDaniel and Dawn Muench

As well as some fellow writer buddies.

blogger friends

Dolly Lee, Alene Snodgrass and me.

One of my favorite things about mission trips is the low maintenance: NO hair gadgets and NO makeup. And when 18 women share a bedroom and ONE bathroom, there’s no room for pampered princesses.

Guate accomodations

Rise and shine, Anita!

And let me just say how fun it was to take another trip with Anita. I knew she’d have a fabulous time, and she was the life of the party — especially with the young girls!

These lovelies will also be posting about the trip, so be sure to visit them:

Alene Snodgrass

Emily Gallimore

Dawn Muench

Dolly Lee

In the meantime, thanks for your prayers for me. I’ll post more as I decompress and hear more clearly from the Lord. He gave me Is 61:1-3 for the trip, which is the verse that says,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to proclaim the good news…
bind up the brokenhearted…
proclaim release to the captives…”

I came home to an immediate opportunity to share the good news and help bind up some seriously broken gals.

It was hard, and a lot to bite off in my exhausted state.

I gave it my best, but I’m not sure I was very effective. Please ask the Lord to redeem my puniness. He’ll know what you’re talking about.

I’m glad He is able because I’m sure NOT.

Your comments will make my day, and I’m not kidding :)


  1. Oh I’m still struggling to write an insightful post about my trip. I was actually working on one last week and after several re-writes it remains in draft form. I feel as though I’m still processing how the trip had an impact on me. I’ve enjoyed the pictures many of you have shared and love hearing more about the trip through your words. It’s such an amazing place. I will keep praying for you friend.

    • I hear you, Beth. I’m back Guatemala with a boatload of stuff to do, including participating in a book launch! But interestingly enough (and SO like the Lord), He has given me some interesting insight that combines SO many things, including the “feed hack” issues I’m having. How great is THAT?

  2. What a blessing to read of your trip, even though you may feel you’re not effective. You ARE! I love the heart I hear in your words. I love the pictures. I love the memories this brings up of my past missions.

    I’m praying for you now. For God to continue to work through your “puniness” (I LOVE that!), for continued revelation of what He’s done, and for rest for your heart, mind, body, and spirit.

    I love you!

    • I love you too, Vonda. So grateful for your friendship and your encouragement. And OH that He would work through ALL of our puniness-es :D

  3. Whaooo nellie! That is a lot going on! I know that you are blessed. When the brain breaks into pieces like that it is usually when God is doing some adding on! Love you. CAn’t wait to see you!!!!!

    • ONE WEEK, sustah! Can’t wait to chat it up with you into the wee hours. Which will probably be 10… 10:30 ;)

  4. Susan, thank you so much for this post. I absolutely loved it. I think you know what resignated with me. When you spoke of praying over this child’s family, that automatically took my mind back to the 2 of us at Blue Ridge. I still get emotional when I think of that sweet moment. I’d love to take a mission trip with you! Love you, precious friend!

    • Love you too, Jamie. The next time you get a chance to go on a mission trip, I’m going to pester you to GO. Don’t miss out on that kind of blessing!

  5. Oh how I love you! Words . . . yep, can somebody send us some words? Coherent thoughts, can somebody send those too? These moments are almost too precious to gather in to word form. My heart soars, while my mumbled thoughts are scattered and my body is tired.

    I cracked up when I got my email. Aggravating I know to have a cialis commercial right there in the midst of your beautiful words . . . but the laughter was welcomed.

    • I know, right? Nothing like reading along with my blond thoughts… looking at pics of Emily, Sara, and Dawn… and right before we get to Dolly, you and me, BAM – a Cialis ad! Hahahahaha!
      Yeah, it’s good to have some comic relief 8-)

  6. You are always so positive and helpful, I’m sure even though you felt puny, you did much good. But I’ll still pray for you. You did get awesome pictures! Very inspiring.

    • Oh Julia, you need to visit Alene’s site. She’s a professional photographer and took her big honking camera. Her images are UH-MAZING!

  7. Lord, we do ask you to redeem our lovely sister’s puniness–as we know you have, you are and you will do forevermore because her heart desires to beat with yours. Thank you for her and her sisters and all those workers who consider getting piojos a small price to pay for a hug from one who scavenges a dump. Blessings of rest and regathering, Susan. See you next week!

    • I’m so excited for a real-life hug, Marcia! Thank you so much for your lovely prayer. You know better than anyone how precious the Guatemalan people are. Thankfully there were no piojos involved ;)

  8. Anita Taylor

    I love it!! I am soooooo glad I went! I have been processing our trip. I can’t wait to get the info about Fatima whom I chose to sponsor. And she is a cutie. Little did I know that I was going to see her but she does not know me yet. And of course, the Princess gets the top bunk bed. tee hee :) Thank you for snapping a modest picture of me. lol

    • You were the hit of the week, and I’m so glad you went too, Anita! Oh my gosh girl, we will just keep working ourselves around the world, huh?

  9. Susan,
    Boy do I understand. I remember returning from an eight week trip to Turkey and Pakistan years ago. I think brain dump is a good description of the way I felt also, but I faced surgery two weeks after we got home and was thrown into menopause….big time… Whew!!

    I can look back and laugh now, but it was not a matter of laughter back then. Believe me, cultural shock both there and here is real and only by the grace of God
    are we able to renew, regroup, and be restored.

    So glad you went and touched these precious lives. I will be praying 2 Cor. 12: 9 for you. Truly His Grace is like dynamite when it hits our human weakness…He gets the glory and we get to see Him shine through our weakness.

    Thank you Lord for your amazing grace you are shining on Susan right now. I pray you will give her manifold grace, igniting her faith and causing her to keep on shining for you.

    • Thank you for your beautiful prayer for me, Glenda. And Oh gracious — that was a whole lot to process at one time! Yes, I’m working through some emotions, fatigue, and frustrating site feed issues, but at least I won’t have menopause to deal with ;)

  10. What a fabulous opportunity you have had!! I was right alongside you as you told of the potters house and the people you met. Then you said MATH. My vision blurred and the words all clumped together…..once I collected myself and read more, you said no makeup and no hair gadgets…..I have to go lay down. I’ll check back soon…

    • Yes, you should probably do some square breathing. And you might want to find a cool washcloth for your forehead.

  11. What a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing these precious photos. Glad your back!

  12. I’m so glad I’m not the only one having trouble forming coherent thoughts through the processing of this trip! It’s not for a lack of hearing from the Lord … I’m just not sure how to make sense of it. This being sick thing is probably not helping with clarity of thought, either. Total brain fog! Hope to get the first of a few posts up tomorrow. Miss you!

    • Yikes, I’m sorry you’re still battling the sickness, Emily. I’ll definitely pray about that. The trip seems like such a blur now, but I’m so glad we got to hang out. Next time we’ll do a Guate-girls “meet-up” :)

  13. Love love love this brain dump of great memories and great friends new and old :)

    • Amen, Dawn. Can’t wait to read your thoughts. Knowing you, they’ll be clear, conscise and coherent! Hugs to you :)

  14. Girl, there is absolutely no puniness anywhere near you!! Oh how I love you!! And I’m so proud of you!

    • You’re a doll, sweet Kristi. And SUCH a wonderful encourager. I love you and can’t wait to see you next week!

  15. So glad you were so very blessed by your trip. I have no doubt the good “aftershocks” will continue resonate!

    • It was a tremendous blessing Kim, and I’m praying the aftershocks are permanent! Hope you’re settling in and getting back into a groove :)

  16. Sorry to be late to the party. :) What a special post, Susan. The children are precious! I think I’d want to scoop them up and bring them all home with me.

    I look forward to visiting the other blogs you mentioned.

    Welcome home, my friend. Hopefully you can get some rest this weekend. :) Much love to you!

    • Oh Cathy, the kids are BEYOND precious! That caramel skin and those big eyes… ooh, you just want to kiss and squeeze them all the time!

      Thanks for your prayers. Gotta rest up before my trip to Greenville :)

  17. Oh my, I’m so moved by the photos you posted, and your few words are packed with power. You are the real deal, Miss Susan. (And I’m sorry about the Cialis hack, but it is kind of funny…sorry…) I look forward to hearing more about your mission trip, what you saw and felt and heard from God.

    • Oh Kathleen, if you want to see some great pics you HAVE to check out Alene’s album. She’s a pro with a fabulous camera, and she got some UH-mazing shots!

      And yes, this hack does have a comedic element to it, doesn’t it? I’ve decided it’s God’s way of orchestrating a break, so I’m going to take some time from the blog and focus on some other writing projects.

      Thanks so much for taking time to read and comment. Can’t wait to see what YOU’ve been up to lately!

  18. Susan,
    You are amazing…I hope you know it…your heart for others and how you encouraged me on this trip, even before I left, and I was dealing with my fears …One of the highlights of my trip, besides meeting Jefferson, was meeting you and Alene in person, and finding out you were both as nice and genuine in person as you are online…I can’t tell you how relieved and grateful and happy I was about that…and to meet Dawn and Emily…such a gift all of you…Giving thanks for you whenever I think of you, my friend :) I am sure you were a blessing…hugs to you :) Feeling a bit tired and still processing but very very grateful :)

    • Meeting you in RL was a highlight of the trip for me, Dolly. So grateful to share that experience with you and looking forward to more adventures! As for the processing, it’s like the Energizer Bunny. It goes on and on and on… Hugs to you, sweet friend.


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