Megan Rogers of Siloam Springs recently traveled with John Brown University to serve at the Heart of Love Clinic with soccer camps and Bible class camps. She generously shares her heart for the mission in Guatemala and what drives her to return and serve.
Hello all, my name is Megan Rodgers and I am a freshman at the University of Arkansas. I was born and raised in Siloam Springs and have had the opportunity to travel the Dustin Dream’s clinic with a group from John Brown University a few weeks ago for a spring break trip. This was my third time spending my spring break in Guatemala City and every time I leave I say that it’s the last, but something keeps pulling me back. You see, these people are different. Their lives are hard. Every time I go back I am reminded of this fact. Most of them have lived in this community for their entire lives, caught in a cycle of poverty with no hope of escaping. They work long days rummaging through the dump, trying to make a living for their families. Their homes are often no larger than my dorm room, but house entire families. And yet, they don’t feel sorry for themselves, they have not let their hardships make them bitter and they are not selfish about the little that they have. But rather, they are the most hospitable and joyful group of people I have met.
More than anything, I have been struck by the gratitude that these people have exhibited. Whether it is children, willing to share their snacks with me, parents brought to tears by our small gift of food during home visits, mothers not asking for treatment for themselves while taking their children to the clinic, or church ladies waiting until every other person has been served before eating at lunch time, these people hold everything that they have with an open hand, never taking anything for granted. Every year I return to the states with a new perspective, seeing my many blessing and swearing not to take them for granted. Every year, that promise is broken as I begin to become selfish once again, comparing my lot with others around me and pitying myself when others have more. Every year I sign up to return to Guatemala, hoping that this time that perspective of gratitude will stick around a little while longer. But this year something was different. This year when I flew out of the Guatemala City airport I shed a tear knowing that plans will not allow me to return next year. This year I resolved not to leave unchanged. I have spent the past few weeks wondering how to make this true and I believe I have stumbled upon an important truth.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard the saying that love is not an emotion but rather a choice. I believe the same is true for gratitude. The fact that people who have so much less than I do are consistently more grateful than I am is proof that gratitude is not dependant upon circumstances. If that were the case, you and I would constantly be overflowing with gratitude for the many ways in which we have been blessed. Gratitude is a choice. Not a once and for all, I resolve to grateful choice like I believe upon returning to the states in previous years. But rather a daily choice of thanksgiving to our Lord and Father who knows exactly what we need and promises to give it in His good and perfect timing. The reality is that if we know the truth of the sacrifice that the Lord has made for use we should be overflowing with gratitude every day, no matter what our current situation is. This is a reality that the people of Guatemala have embraced, leading to an abundance of joy even while they are surrounded by pain and misfortune. It is my prayer that you and I would also learn how to live in this reality, choosing daily to be grateful for the abundance that the Lord has blessed us with.