New BFFs and Friendship Bracelets

Early yesterday morning, after a full day of travel by van, three airplanes, and my trusty old Camry, I finally made it home. My sister left the lights on for me, but I barely had time to read her welcome sign before I crashed.

I probably need a week to rest up. Though I’m sure I’ll be thinking about Guatemala for many weeks and years to come.

One of the greatest gifts this journey provided was the chance to meet and build a relationship with the other writers. Can I just say, Wow! Every single one of them is thoughtful and talented. But more than that, they are engaging and funny, and oh so kindhearted.

Caleb Wilde and I were the first to arrive at the gate in Houston. Within the first couple of hours, I knew that Caleb had a talent for making anyone feel comfortable. He is constantly complimenting those he meets, from the man serving him dinner; to the writer he’s been anxious to meet for years.
  Photo: Matthew Paul Turner

Caleb wrote a very thoughtful post about Alma, World Vision’s Guatemalan National Sponsorship Coordinator.

Micha Boyett was my neighbor for a week. She has a sweet and peaceful spirit that is evident from the first moments you meet her. But she also has a dramatic flair and provided nightly dinner entertainment for the entire group. If you don’t read anything else, read her post “Let’s Be Ordinary. Let’s be Extravagant” about the every day, ordinary ways World Vision is changing the health and nutrition of communities.

Jamie the Very Worst Missionary brought such an important perspective to the week. She is a missionary who lived in Costa Rica for five years, and if she tries to tell you she is terrible at Spanish, don’t listen to her. She rocks in all sorts of ways. Most importantly, she has a passion for doing missions the right way. Her post “Fighting Poverty is like so 2012” juxtaposes poverty with hope.

Jessica Shyba has such style and the best long skirts I have ever seen. They are unique and a little frilly, but still practical for walking around and climbing in and out of a van all day. We learned that our sponsor children are brothers. It adds another layer of relationship and community building. The shared experience we have in investing in the lives of these two young men, these brothers. Jessica wrote about meeting her sponsor children in the post “Las Madres.”
Zack at the American Jesus is smart y’all. He is such a deep thinker. I learned so much sitting quietly in the van listening to bits and pieces of his conversations with others. He is also very tall, which was actually really useful when trying to keep a group together in a crowded place, like the central park during the Guatemalan Independence Day celebration. Read his post “What if we’re the Ones that Need Saving” about the Guatemala grandmother who ministered to us, you will be moved.

Roo over at Neon Fresh would probably want me to tell you she’s nice and sweet, which was honestly my first impression of her. But she is funny too, which is what everyone says about her. She is the organizer of fun. But what I love the most about her is that she embraces everyone with open arms. From the no-name blogger she just met, to the littlest child in the room. Her post “Take it With You” is an important look at what truly matters.

Last but not at all least, Matthew Paul Turner. The one who brought us all together. Our leader. Our guide. Creativity flows through his veins. He is not only a writer, but a gifted photographer who captured the moments of our days. I am blessed to know him and honored that he included me on this journey. In “The Slums are Alive” he writes about the hope being found in music in Guatemala.

I have been beyond blessed by each one of these writers, and am honored to call them friends. If braiding matching friendship bracelets was still the cool thing to do, I would totally send one to each of them.
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