i’m home. now what?

Written by Alene Snodgrass

Alene is a south Texas girl who loves to tell a story whether it is from behind a camera lens, writing at a computer screen, or speaking into the lives of others. Check out her newly released ebook Graffiti, that she wrote along side a homeless friend.

May 22, 2013

mission trip

[serialposts]It was my first mission trip, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Many of my friends ribbed me before I left saying this trip was just a “glorified vacation.” I wasn’t really sure how to respond.

Arriving in Guatemala, I can tell you that my trip was anything but a glorified vacation. We served continually that week. By week’s end I didn’t think I had one ounce left me that could be poured out.

As I returned from Guatemala I knew I was changed. And I wasn’t ready or prepared for the restless nights and the faces that wouldn’t leave my mind.

Her precious face.

She was so young and full of smiles. I wondered how that could be when everything around her was trash. The Guatemala City Dump to be exact. The stench. The mess. The site that literally took my breath away was her home.

And the Potter’s House.

In the middle of what seemed like hopelessness in the dump, there was a ray of sunshine. This small school where I saw her precious face. A school that feeds nutritious meals, educates, and speaks of Jesus. No wonder she could smile.

But my mind continually wondered . . .

How was her day at school? Did she return to a loving family?

Where is she sleeping tonight? Is she warm?

Did her mom find enough work there in the Dump Community to sustain them for another day?

When will I get to go back?

My life had changed and what was I to do.

I soon realized I couldn’t sit idle. Maybe that’s where my friends began considering mission trips as “glorified vacations,” when people return and live the same life as usual.

But my mind wouldn’t let me. I knew I had to step out in faith and do something. I began asking others to sponsor children from the Potter’s House. I asked people to buy lunches for the children there. Children were getting sponsored and fed, but the faces still haunted me as I tossed in bed.

Fearfully I made phone calls and talked to missions. I felt as if I was going to burst if I didn’t bring awareness to those children living in the dump. I had to tell. I had to invite others to get involved. I had to do something.

Finally a plan emerged. Another trip was booked. A trip to take 20 more people back to Guatemala to let them serve the children at the Dump Community. A trip that I hope will change more lives. A trip I pray will get more children sponsored. A trip I’m excited to lead.

If you’ve ever been on a mission trip and your life didn’t change radically, I’d invite you to come with me back to Guatemala in October and be changed.

When you are changed, you can help change other’s lives. [click to tweet]

Have you struggled with what to do now that you are home from your mission trip?

Let’s step out and be brave together, because we can be world changers that change others!

14 Comments

  1. Heather W

    Alene! I relate!!! I came back from Africa a mess. The culture shock did not occur in Africa, but upon my arrival back home to the US. I was fueled to do more. I couldn’t live the same, nor could I stay quiet and God gave me new avenues for serving through it. 🙂

    Reply
    • Alene Snodgrass

      Totally getting you!! It was hard when nobody else got it as I wrote — http://www.positivelyalene.com/nobody-else-gets-it/. So thankful we have found ways to continue serving in such broken ways. I don’t want to be comfortable again, but man it’s a constant struggle. I don’t want to be the same!

      Reply
  2. Amy

    Wow, Alene! You get to go back SOON!

    Reply
    • Positively Alene

      I know — it’s a miracle. I’m totally stoked to see what God will do. Plus, I’m so ready to see my sponsored little girl . . . miss her!

      Reply
  3. Sandra Heska King

    Haiti. Shock in the arriving. Shock in the returning. Right before Christmas. Changed. But gradually slipping into the comfortableness of the comfortable, complaining about my discomfort. Going back in December. I need to be shocked again.

    Reply
    • Positively Alene

      So excited to hear of your return. I’m so ready for mine. I remember not wanting to come home when I boarded that plane. It’s amazing how quickly our uncomfortable becomes comfortable then it’s time to stretch again. Hope we can serve together one day soon!

      Reply
  4. Amy L. Sullivan

    Alene,
    Yes! I struggle with this whenever I am moved to act. . .the “now what?” factor. You, my friend, aren’t someone who will stand by. You run into the “now what?”. I admire you for that. Yep, sure do. Keep doing your thing and encouraging us to do the same.

    Reply
    • Positively Alene

      Ah girl – you make me smile. I do struggle and I’m so thankful for the accountability partners I have that hold me accountable to stepping over fear. Many days this suburban girls longs for normal and many days I’m not even sure what normal looks like anymore.

      Reply
  5. Chris McArthur

    Alene,
    I am very excited for you and all that you will continue to do in Guatemala. I look forward to hearing more. I knew God had placed a strong calling on you there in Guatemala. Thank you for hearing His voice and following through. I wish I could go back with you, but I think God is leading me another area that part of the year. Keep up the Great Commission work, and I pray those kids and their families will continue to come to the Lord.

    Reply
    • Positively Alene

      Chris – it was a joy serving beside you! Can’t wait to hear of your adventures coming up. So thankful to serve the kingdom with awesome guys like you. Ill never forget your comments and heart at our last worship evening together. You are still impacting my life. Thanks!

      Reply
  6. Stephanie O'D

    Having returned from Uganda 6 weeks ago, I have struggled with the Now What? question each and every day and totally relate to your words, ‘fearfully’, ‘about to burst’ if I don’t do something. Now that you speak of creating awareness in others, I realize that the most joyful I have been since my return has been sitting at a booth in a mall selling cupcakes and spreading awareness about the organization and the children I have just visited and served. Thanks for some food for thought, for it is truly heart wrenching to sit still.

    Reply
    • Positively Alene

      Beautiful, Stephanie! Yes. Even if we can’t go back right away or do what our wrecked heart longs to do at the moment, we can be a voice for the voiceless. We can raise awareness to the silent cries of the world.

      It is uplifting to get to share what you’ve experienced, right!!! Oh how my passion comes out when talking to those who will but listen. 🙂

      Reply
  7. soulstops

    Hi Alene,
    We got our first letter from 6 y/o Jefferson at Potter’s House…Thanks for sharing about their work 🙂

    Reply
    • Positively Alene

      Oh my stars — doesn’t that just make your heart soar. Just think in a few months you will get to meet him. Oh how I can’t wait to share this experience with you!

      Reply

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i’m home. now what?

by Alene Snodgrass time to read: 3 min
14