[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The week of IAA has come to a close…what a full week it was!

The entire experience was a time to learn, to create, to make new friends, to listen, to communicate, and to grow. The children of La Limonada were so proud of their art pieces and the chance to show them off to their families and others in the community during their art show Saturday morning. The workshop leaders were all challenged and touched by the juxtaposition of these kids being so thrilled to play with balloons and create toilet paper costumes for their leaders…and the extremely hard environment they are growing up in. To see them at the art camp location, one would never know that these same kids have no running water, have little to no food to eat, have lost one or both parents, are often alone the majority of the day, or know loss first hand through the death of a loved one or friend. Many are confronted with gang violence on a regular basis and can walk 10 steps outside their door and see their peers using drugs or sniffing glue to get high. Many suffer abuse regularly. These are the stories of their lives.

And yet, by day 3 these children let us in, let us hear their stories, trusted us with their pain and anger, and allowed us to walk through it with them. They listened as we showed them their worth in the eyes of their Creator and shared the truth of Scripture with them. Some even encouraged our leaders when they shared their own stories of pain.

This trip was a learning trip, as the team was given opportunities to visit La Limonada and some of the kids’ homes while there. We were given the chance to pray with staff of Vidas Plenas, single mothers, children, gang members, and a very special lady that has become somewhat of a celebrity through her appearance in the Reparando film, collecting doll parts to restore it to a whole, from the Guatemala city dump. She welcomed us into her home, and shared about her current struggles, all the while displaying a deep and abiding faith in our God.

We met a man whom I have wanted to meet for several years, that is making handmade shoes in the La Limonada Community, and with the profits of the sale of the shoes, he is feeding 10 children in his community. In my book, he is a hero.  (We bought lots of shoes.)

The end of the trip was rich as we learned some essentials of Guatemala’s history by visiting the national cemetery and learning how their history has directly influenced the current, modern Guatemala. It was eye opening and helped to put a ‘WHY’ to the problems Guatemala continues to face. Interestingly enough, our own country’s actions are largely to blame.

As the trip came to a close, and we had our last team meeting, we realized that we started out as a team of strangers, but were now among new friends. Friends that experienced the rawness of the last 10 days with us and we knew that God was with us, that He had entered in. That He was working in each of us, as we sought to serve Him this week.

I am certain, that God is not yet done writing the story of I AM ART and Guatemala’s restoration. The question we leave with you is, have you considered that maybe YOUR name is included in the next chapter?[/vc_column_text][mk_button dimension=”flat” corner_style=”rounded” size=”large” url=”http://athentikos.com/iamart-projects/iaa-fall-2016/” fullwidth=”true” bg_color=”#dd3333″ btn_hover_bg=”#dd9933″]Click here to learn about I AM ART Fall 2016[/mk_button][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery type=”image_grid” images=”7907,7915,7908,7910,7914,7913,7917,7916,7920,7911,7909″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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