It was the summer of 2016 when I made a decision that would change my life. At the age of 47, I went on my first mission trip with my 14-year-old son, Nathan, and it was a blessing beyond our expectations.
I often find myself asking what am I doing at home to make an impact on lives for Christ? I am a husband, a father, a son, and an attorney and find myself inwardly focused on family, my job and soccer practices among other day-to-day commitments. However, when an employer encourages, and provides the opportunity to serve others on a mission trip, it becomes easy to realize that I can have a larger impact beyond my small boundaries. I am so grateful that Nathan and I had the opportunity to serve on a mission in Guatemala with Carpenters for Christ this past summer. I must admit that when Nathan and I boarded the plane for our 3 ½ hour flight, we went with some fears and apprehensions, not knowing what to expect.
I am thrilled to say that our time together in Guatemala, and working with Carpenters for Christ, surpassed all expectations and has truly changed our lives. We had opportunities to work with the elderly, special needs children, and orphans. We worked on building a home for children with special needs, feeding the hungry at a landfill, and visiting sick children at a local hospital. Every group that we served, every project that we undertook was more important, more touching than anything that I had ever been a part of prior to this trip. More importantly, we were able to share the gospel of Christ through prayer and to share God’s love by serving others. I observed that the people, the church, and the Christian community in Guatemala have deep faith and their lives are revolved around God and His great work.
When our week was over, Nathan did not want to leave! His life was changed forever. In fact, he asked- within 24 hours of being home- when can we go back with the whole family, and can we adopt two of the children that he met at the orphanage. That’s correct- “adopt” not “sponsor!” Our hearts will forever be tied to the Guatemalan people and we can’t thank Carpenters for Christ and Eastern Cares enough for changing our lives. By God’s grace, we will return…the sooner, the better!
-Chet Chea, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary