(Kayla Tatman is a Senior at Lakewood Park Christian School. Kayla served as an intern at Village of Hope in the summer of 2016. Kayla wrote a short summary about her time at VOH and her take aways on her time spent there.)
The Village of Hope-Guatemala is a not for profit organization that provides a family and a future to teen moms and children with HIV. The summer of 2016, I traveled to Village of Hope and served there for one month as an intern. While serving, my top three responsibilities included, helping in the homes with the small children, organizing a donation closet, and helping the kids write sponsor notes to their sponsors.
My first full day there I jumped right into things by helping in one of the homes. When I went in, the older kids had already gone to do their schooling, and the father was at work, so it was just the mother, three little ones, and me. Although this home was made within the organization, it was just like any other home with parents, siblings, and house rules. It was a little awkward and even challenging in the beginning as I felt like a complete stranger walking into someone’s personal space. Although trying to communicate was difficult, since I only knew a little Spanish, the mother, and little kids were very welcoming with big smiles and introductions. After the first few days of going in and helping out with what I could, I almost felt like I was a part of the family. Every day I would learn something knew about them and vice versa. I began to understand the importance of having a family, even if it was through an organization that placed them together.
Other than helping inside of the homes, I was able to assist with small projects around the ministry. I always had a schedule with what I would do for the day, but one thing I learned was to be flexible. I often organized one of the donation closets or went into the homes to help the children write notes to the people that sponsor them. Other than those three activities, there were always odds and ends where I could help.
What I liked most about my internship was building relationships with all the kids, especially the older girls. Walking around the community, I received a huge smile and “buenos” from anyone who passed by. Each day I became more and more familiar with everyone there, and by the end of the trip, I couldn’t see someone without laughing about a shared joke, or simply smiling from recognition of each other. From going on this internship, it was a reassurance to me that my heart is towards working with teens. This trip also taught me a lot about myself and my independence.
In one word, I would describe my internship at Village of Hope as shaping. I say this because everything I did while there stretched me in the way that I think about orphan care. I learned that it is so much more than just providing shelter, food, and clothes for a child. It opened up my eyes to what it means to run a ministry that is led by the Holy Spirit. There were challenges along the way, but figuring out how to adjust to the culture and learning new things about the ministry was one of the best life experiences I’ve ever had. I count it as a huge blessing to have been able to experience the love, joy, and hope that is being shared through this ministry.