Abby LeFebre – 2013 Guatemala experience

Good-morning everyone, my name is Abby LeFebre. I am a nurse at Mayo and a member of a very small Methodist church in Eyota, MN. I have never been on any type of mission trip before. My church is too small to support their own trip, but I have always been interested in them. I didn’t really know what to expect from this trip other than what I assumed would be a great experience. I had the pleasure of going on this trip with two coworkers. Other than that I was acquaintances with everyone else from meetings and the fundraiser auction. I have to say that we are no longer strangers, we are sisters, brothers, and friends. This trip turned out to be incredible and life changing for me. It is hard to put my experience into words because it was so emotional. I feel sad, mad, happy, guilty, and changed. I went on this trip to try to change someone’s life for the better and ended up getting a change for myself. Once in Guatemala I was jaw-droppingly shocked that the life there could be so black and white different than life here. Seeing first hand in the clinic that someone my age, 23, with 3 kids and a very hard life. Which I could see from the wrinkles in her face, dirt and dust on her skin, and odorous clothing. She ended up having parasites in her intestines because the water isn’t clean. How did I get so lucky to be born in the US? Where I take things like that for granted. Seeing child after child after child who was severely malnourished and dehydrated. The kids were all so small. I worked in triage for the medical team, and I was always shocked and saddened when they would tell me their age because I would have guessed they were 3-4 years younger. Each day we set up clinic we ended up not having enough time to see all the patients. Which, of course, made me very frustrated and sad. Each night at Camp Lamoa we would go around the table and share an experience or favorite part of the day. I had shared my frustrations, as I am sure many others did too, with Kelly our team leader. On Friday night she shared this story with us,

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!” The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

Thank you to all of our friends and family for supporting us on this life-changing journey. I now know that it is through acts of giving that we truly receive. The book of John says, “Dear children let us not love with our words or tongue, but with actions and truth.” Thank you again and God Bless.

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