Growing up in America I had heard and said the phrase, “I’d give the shirt off my back” several times, but I never was faced with the reality of that statement until my very first day of ministry in Guatemala. It was the second month of the World Race (mission trip around the world). My team won the epic race from Mexico to Guatemala despite our car breaking down three times and Lloyd getting petrol (GAS…I learned that real quick) in his EAR!! The race ended at the top of a volcano in Guatemala. I was super thankful that we were a team of 5 because only 4 people had to reach the top. You know this big girl tried, but I almost met my maker several times and I am not one to stand in the way of a victory so I took some fun volcano pictures and headed down in hopes to see some of the other teams. Anyways…that really has nothing to do with this story.
It was February of 2006, just 4 months after Hurricane Stan demolished this area of Guatemala. Growing up in Florida I had seen my fair share of hurricane damage, but I had never seen anything like this. People there don’t live in concrete structures, so if you can…imagine the damage an intense hurricane can do to shacks. It was devastating. Families lost all their material possessions when the cardboard walls blew down. Schools were demolished. There were houses (shacks) in the middle of what used to be a street. There was even a structure in the river.
Knowing that construction was going to be a huge part of our month of ministry, the guys set out to get materials and the ladies set out to meet the families. This was always my favorite part. Not that I don’t LOVE throwing a hammer around (I’m not horrible at it either), but give me some kids to play with and some women to laugh with…and I’m a happy girl. We were fortunate enough to meet a woman named Sharon (American who lived in Guatemala while trying to adopt a child). She introduced us to all the right people and assisted us with translation at times. After meeting a few families we realized that so many of them were in need of shoes. We went to the local market and bought a bunch of shoes in all different sizes. The next day or later that day (it’s been a while and I have a horrible memory) we met up with the families again. We started having the kids try on shoes. They were soooo happy. Well…all of the kids except one. We didn’t have a pair of shoes in his size. I knew my feet were a lot bigger than his, but I had a pair of really great shoes for him…mine. He was so happy!
I miss that Kim. The Kim that would give the shoes off of her own feet while living out of a backpack. Somewhere along this crazy life journey I have lost that. Sure…I can and do use the phrase “I’d give the shirt off my back,” but I am living such a comfortable life that no one I know needs that shirt (shoes). I am not saying I want to go back to Guatemala (land of the parasite that made me sick for 6 years) (although that actually sounds pretty nice right about now) (can you use parenthesis three times in a row in one sentence?). I am saying that I need to find that girl again.