Katie and Ray here – we’re writing to you from medical outreach day 3. Today has been the most beautiful and sunny Saturday here in Guatemala you could ever imagine. This is our third trip with Healing Nations in Guatemala and each trip seems to bring more wisdom and more friends. We remember coming for the first time in January of 2020 and feeling so lost and unsure where we fit in God’s healing plan. We left with amazing memories and a spark in our hearts. Soon after our return home, the global pandemic hit.

When we were blessed to return in July of 2021, we were so happy to see so many familiar faces, but it was such a scary and uncertain time in the world. The people we served alongside with as well as the people we served were clearly saddened, scared, and in need of community. It has been such a joy returning this week seeing a renewed spirit in this community. You can see the happiness has started to return to all our lives. It’s not just those we serve, but also within our Healing Nations team. One of the highlights of today has been joining in on many soccer games and cotton ball fights with the kiddos! Being the cool aunt and uncle to 8 nieces and nephews at home, we love being able to connect to the community in this sweaty and joyful way. We have really enjoyed being with our Guatemalan and Utah-an friends this year. With the unusual free time this trip, we have been able to talk and connect over our families, interests, and love for God. These translators, nurses, providers, and volunteers continue to share their gifts with others. Gifts that have been created from good times, but also from bad times.

Last year we experienced some of the greatest hardships through the sudden loss of Ray’s dad. We have some really great memories telling Ray’s dad, Kevin, about our adventures here in Guatemala – sending him photos of the volcanoes, telling him stories of the people we served and those who showed us who Jesus was to them. He would call us all “Angels on Earth” as he was sipping on his favorite Guatemalan coffee that we would bring him. His birthday will be this Monday and although it will be a difficult day, we feel grateful to be able to serve others and our God. With our team here in Guatemala, we have been able to connect through similar pain and loss, and together share God’s lessons of grief and healing to our new friends here in Guatemala.