Skip to main content

Today was our last full day in Guatemala, and our designated “free day” to explore the city of Antigua and beyond. The team gave ourselves another hour of sleep, opting for breakfast at 7am instead of 6am. After breakfast, the team sat in the gazebo for one last devotional meeting. The devotional was more of a conversation than anything else, as we all reiterated the rewarding experiences we have had over the past week and the bond we have formed as a group while planning out our free day. At 8am we headed to the hospital for one last round of the ward, seeing all of our patients as a whole mission group, taking photos, wishing each other well and saying our goodbyes to the Obras staff. 10 patients were discharged today, and the remaining should be discharged the following day.

The team then took a brief walking tour led by our guide Fausto, driving to a lookout over Antigua called Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross in English). Fausto explained the history of the beautiful city and how it got its name. Antigua translates to “old” or “ancient” in English, and has a long history as one of the first Spanish settlements in Latin America- founded as “Santiago de Guatemala” in 1543. The original church from the Spaniards is still here, making it the oldest cathedral in the new world. The city was the third capital city of Guatemala until in 1773 a massive earthquake leveled the city and the Spaniards subsequently abandoned the city, 3 years later making “Guatemala City” the new capital and giving the “old” or “ancient” capital the name “Antigua.” The city remained antiquated for a long time, until in 1979 UNESCO declared the city a World Heritage Site due to its great preservation of the colonial era in Guatemala and pristine location next to three of the largest volcanoes in the Americas: Volcan de Agua, Volcan de Acatenango and Volcan de Fuego. Volcan de Fuego is active and the smoke was visible from the hotel. The lookout stared directly at Volcan de Agua, its beautiful presence aweing the group. In 1999 it was voted to preserve the cultural history of the town, and now there are no traffic lights, no buildings beyond two stories, every roof must have the same orange roof tiles, and the streets must be cobblestone. You could definitely feel the history through these things when walking around the city. Fausto also explained the city is famous for its coffee because the beans that grow here with the high altitude (over 5,000 feet) and the acidic soil due to the volcanic ash have a unique flavor. We then walked down to the city again, heading to Casa de Jade for a lecture on the unique geology of Guatemala and the unique jade gemstones which are found here, subsequently parting with Fausto for a team lunch at a rooftop bar which again stared at Volcan de Agua.

After lunch the team members who had not yet seen Casa de Fe (myself included) walked to it, getting a tour from the friendly staff and meeting some of the patients for next week’s mission in Antigua. Then we walked around the city for a little while, taking in the color and antiquity of the city on our way back to the hotel for a rest before our last dinner as a team at a local restaurant. Dinner was fantastic as usual and then we all walked back to the hotel one last time as a team, hugging each other and saying our heartfelt goodbyes before heading to our rooms. I must say, it felt tough to leave the team behind. As a non-medical professional and first-time Faith in Practice member, I never could have imagined how profound many of the experiences this week would be, but I can certainly say I have formed long-lasting memories and connections with people on our team. Every person stepped up to the plate in a major way with our patients and each other, and that has not gone unnoticed.

I am certainly proud of our team members, but I would be remiss if I did not mention how proud we are of our patients too. After enduring months, years, and even decades of pain waiting for proper medical treatment, every patient traveled hours by car, bus or on foot to receive this care and approached every day with an attitude of appreciation, integrity and most of all, faith, fighting through pain with faith that their life would improve. Their level of vulnerability is something that is hard to grasp coming from the states, but whatever emotion of appreciation they conveyed to us in their vulnerability we certainly received.

Thank you to all of you who tuned in from home- I have enjoyed writing this blog to all of you and hope the words and pictures can adequately describe this experience, and if any of you think you may want to join us for another mission, trust me, do it! If you are unsure of how you can make an impact please reach out to any of the contact information on the Faith in Practice website, because there is always a need for help.

The hotel provided buses at 830pm, 3am and 8am to fly out of Guatemala City, and as of now our team is back in the states, returning to our normal routines with our hearts filled but also with loads of new appreciation, care, and faith that we hope to translate to our lives back home.

Take care y’all.

Signing out for the last time,

To support this team and their commitment to our patients visit

Subscribe To Our Newsletters