Guest post written by: Jenn Johnson Amatuzzo
As the flight begins its descent into Guatemala City, I feel a wave of peace and a sense of renewed life in a way I haven’t since the last time the familiar trifecta of volcanoes were last in view. Everything about this small country captivates me; from the magical landscape views everywhere you go to the beauty of the people who inhabit it, Guatemala draws me back again and again.
And there’s a barrio in the heart of the capital city, unsuspecting at first glance but bursting with a thick sense of God’s presence, that has particularly claimed a piece of my heart. La Limonada is a place containing deep brokenness but also unbounding hope.
While I have many good memories of my time with the kids in the academies and the staff of Vidas Plenas, all of my favorite memories include times where I’ve seen the kids laugh as they have fun or get to be silly with their friends; when they have opportunities to be kids in a neighborhood that, in many ways, forces them to grow up quickly. We’ve gotten to sing and dance together, do crafts, and talk about how much Jesus loves us. I have even had the chance to accompany some of the kids on field trips to a local amusement park and a children’s science museum, getting to know the staff and teachers that attended with them. Building relationships with the kids and the staff in this way has been a gift that I continue to treasure.
I miss it. Like so many other things before Covid-19 was an unwelcomed guest lingering too long in our midst, time in Guatemala is something I pray will be feasible in the near future. Returning to the academies and being with the staff of Vidas Plenas is something I long for once again.
I’ve sponsored a girl at Limon Academy for several years now and, in spite of everything with the ongoing pandemic, the Lemonade staff has worked hard to allow for continued correspondence between sponsors and our friends in La Limonada. I look forward to every letter I get from my friend, Emily. I’m grateful to the staff of Vidas Plenas and Lemonade International who make it possible for communication to continue with Emily through letters that transport me back.
While our ability to travel to La Limonada has been suspended, her letters have allowed me to continue to, in a sense, visit and be part of her community. Sponsorship has provided ongoing relationship and investment in this community I care deeply for in a time where everything else has come to a halt. And while we may not be able to visit and be face to face with those in La Limonada, I have specific faces and names in which I can call the Spirit of God, through prayer, to be present to and care for their needs in such difficult and isolating times.
Sponsorship has been a blessing to me in so many ways. While I look forward to returning to Guatemala and La Limonada in person soon, I will continue to be present there through my sponsorship relationship and lots of prayer.
This guest post is written by Jenn Johnson Amatuzzo, a Lemonade supporter and sponsor.