By Sam Fisher
From age 16 to now (20), God has given me multiple amazing opportunities to serve Him through different ministries, all working towards the same end goal: to glorify God and make Him known by meeting needs both physical and spiritual.
The first door God opened in my journey was when I was a sophomore in high school. I was able to join up with a group called GEMS (Guatemalan Evangelical Medical Servants) and go to Guatemala for the first time on a weeklong medical missions trip. During this trip God really took hold of my heart and gave me a passion for these people as we held medical clinics at the local churches in four different villages. Not only did we hold medical clinics to meet the physical need of each village, but we also played with and shared the gospel with the kids and parents outside waiting to go to the clinic through Vacation Bible School style activities. I got to work outside with the kids every day, and I absolutely loved it! It was on this first trip to Guatemala that God really opened my eyes not only to the needs of this people, but also to the incredible ways in which He is working in Guatemala. He has given me a passion for working with children in Guatemala.
After this first trip, I returned to Guatemala 3 more times with GEMS and met so many wonderful people also doing God’s work there in Guatemala. The second time that I went, the leaders of the group showed us the movie “Reparando“. This is a documentary of Guatemala, and more specifically the amazing ways in which God is working in La Limonada, the largest slum in Guatemala. When I first saw this movie, my heart was again touched, and I felt God calling me to do something. I wanted to make a difference and be able to help even when I was back in the States. So, I got a hold of Athentikos and asked how I could help. I was put in contact with Ericha Penzien, who helped me begin to plan a screening of “Reparando”. The goal was to raise awareness in my own hometown of the needs and the hope in Guatemala.
With some help, I was able to hold a screening of “Reparando” at my college and raise over $800 for Athentikos.
My adventures did not stop there, though. At the end of May 2012, I went to Argentina for a 6-month study abroad program through my college. I decided to go because I wanted to be fluent in Spanish. This would help me work in Guatemala with the people and children I feel God has called me to work with. I think it is so important to be able to communicate with these people in their own language and to understand their culture. So, I went to Argentina for 6 months to learn Spanish better and experience their culture. While I was there, I lived with a host family and attended church with them. I got to help out with their youth group a few times and began regularly helping in their children’s ministry on Sunday mornings. God taught me a lot while I was there. Not only did I learn to speak Spanish fluently, but I also connected with so many new people that became family to me. The main thing was that God showed me that He is and will always be enough for me.
After going to Argentina, I spent a week in Guatemala with a friend named Julia Arreaga. She is a missionary to her own people in Guatemala and works with many different organizations helping at-risk youth. While I was in Guatemala, I got to see what she does and volunteer at an AMG school for a couple days. AMG schools are schools positioned in red zone areas of Guatemala that provide education, meals, and share Christ with the at-risk youth that live in these areas.
Then, when I had returned home, Ericha contacted me and asked me to be involved in the Red Bus Project. This is a project that Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife started to raise money to provide adoption grants and fund special care centers. I met Ericha and the RBP team, and more than a year later, as the Red Bus Project traveled to a college in my home state. I drove 2 hours to volunteer at the Red Bus Project’s double-decker-bus-turned-thrift-store for this awesome cause.
Looking back, it is amazing to see how God took a movie, “Reparando”, to give me such a passion and inspiration for helping others. God is so good!
Recently, I went to Guatemala a few weeks ago with GEMS again. This time, they asked me to lead the children’s ministry at each village. I decided to share the gospel with the kids through soccer. My friend Julia connected me to a group called Champions in Action when she heard what I wanted to do. This is a ministry that shares the gospel and mentors kids through soccer camps in the red zones of Guatemala. They were happy to come up with us to our first clinic and teach the kids some soccer. They also helped love on the kids, play with them, and do different crafts. It was a true gift to be able to work with them and combine our efforts and goals.
Now, as this summer begins, I have been accepted as an intern at an orphanage for girls in Guatemala. It is called Principe de Paz (or Prince of Peace). This girls’ home has over 50 girls living there that come from all sorts of backgrounds. Many of them have been taken out of the court system and given a home here. I will have the opportunity to work with both the girls at this home and the missions groups that come to the home to help out. I am really excited to see how God will use me during the month of July at Prince of Peace.
God has definitely used me in many different ways, volunteering with many different organizations throughout the last few years. It amazes me still to see how many connections God has given me and continues to give me both in the States and in other countries. The passion that God has given me is to minister to the children that come from these red zones of Guatemala. I want to be a source of light and encouragement for these kids, and I want to be Christ to them. Honestly, I cannot say where I will be in five years or how God will use me. I only pray that He continues to receive glory through me and that hope continues to rise in the hardest places in Guatemala.