Monday, September 26, 2011

more than a trip to mcDonalds

have you ever been to new york city? if so, do you remember the first time you stood in times square and found yourself in awe as you looked around at all the buildings, lights, and billboards?

now imagine what that same experience would be like if you grew up in a small farm town, and this was your first time to ever leave home.

now times that by 100.

that must have been what it was like for our rhinos the other night. we traveled into guatemala city to play against a high profile futbol academy with 4 outdoor-fields with synthetic grass, in a lighted staduim-style atmosphere surrounded by giant billboards on all 4 sides. then (after a tie and a win)..... we took them to mcDonalds.

we confirmed, for every single one of them, it was their first time to guatemala city. this fact is amazing, because from our village of buena vista (which means "good view"), the sights of guatemala city are all these kids have seen since they were born. but from buena vista, the city is a distant, far-away place that they will likely never visit...

each sight captured their attention. the bus ride was shockingly quiet...because they were all glued to the windows, anxious to take everything in. when we entered the stadium, it was easy to sense their mixed emotions of excitement and nervousness. they all must have used the bathroom 3 times before we played.

but it was the trip to mcDonalds that i will never forget (link to short video below). as i sat back and watched these boys enjoy a happy meal and play in the playplace - something most of us consider completely normal - i couldn't stop my eyes from watering. my mind kept drifting back to their village, and their living conditions. the thought of their families... and how they were doing something in this very moment that none of their parents had done in their whole lives.

as we ate, my wife and i sat there speechless, just taking it in. surrounded by people (ourselves included) who completely take for granted a mcDonalds meal, God was giving 15 boys from the poor village of Buena Vista a moment that would forever be lodged in their memory.

as if the moment wasn't special enough, most of the boys saved half of their meal so that they could take it home and share it with their families. the next day at bvsa, they all told us that their parents said to thank us.

i feel blessed to be a part of something groundbreaking that God is doing in this place. not that it has anything to do with traveling to the "big city" or eating at mcDonalds... but in the process of all that is happening, generational chains of poverty are going to be broken, and brighter futures await.

quick thank you to lindsey - a 24yr old girl who is visiting - for sponsoring the 15 happy meals.

check out this short video from our trip to mcDonalds!!

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