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Unexpected Blessings Abigail Justus' Journey to Guatemala

Updated: Jul 9

Unexpected Blessings

Abigail Justus' Journey to Guatemala

By: Ryker Bush

The Ashland Beacon


Summer is a cherished time for most kids, a season of vacations, lazy mornings, and the freedom to choose their activities. For Abigail Justus, however, this past summer held a deeper purpose. She spent a week in Santa María de Jesús, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala with the Wildwood Church of God’s missionary team, driven by her obedience to God’s call to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34). Her mission was clear: to share the love of God she knows so well and to bless families in need, much like her own supportive family blesses her. Justus shared, “This is my second year going to Guatemala with Wildwood Church of God’s missionary team. I am blessed beyond levels to get to do missionary work and share my experiences.”

At Home, Abigail is surrounded by unconditional love and unwavering support, a stark contrast to the hardships she saw in Guatemala. “I want to be a blessing to other families as I have been blessed. At my home, I am blessed with a mother and father who love me unconditionally, endlessly and supply me with all my needs. If I am sick, they bring me medicine and food in bed. If I have an injury, they take me to a doctor and assure that I am healed. They send me to school and encourage me to play sports and live a life of a happy young adult. This is not always the case for the children in Guatemala.” Justus explained.

While in Guatemala Justus had the opportunity to visit many people within their homes. Justus recalled, “While there I visited the homes of elderly couples with almost nothing. Their homes had dirt floors and their walls were rusted tin or plastic bags. I met a single mom with four kids that worked in a pea field all day to provide for her family, but it still wasn’t enough. She was being threatened to have her home taken away and she feared for her family. I also got to visit an orphanage and I was able to love on the children which is always one of my favorite things to do. I learned that some of the babies are left on streets in garbage bags or parents abandon them at the hospital.” Amid such dire circumstances, Abigail and her team introduced street evangelism, offering prayers and hope to those in need, including a woman contemplating suicide.

During their stay, they built a modest house for a family living in conditions that many would find unacceptable. Despite their material poverty, Abigail was struck by the gratitude and resilience of the Guatemalan people. Justus admitted, “I admire how grateful and happy the people that I met in Guatemala are. Some had nothing, not even shoes on their feet, but would still smile and show kindness to me. It could be pouring rain, and their homes were leaking, they didn’t have running water inside their houses, or even know what they would eat next, but still they smiled. When everything seems to be going wrong, they never stop smiling or lost hope. The people that I met this week have been a light for me and have encouraged me to always see the light that God provides. I trust that He will get His children and me through anything even on the darker days.”

Even in the face of adversity, some walked great distances with their children to go to church — a testament to their unwavering faith. “This shows me that they are dedicated and hungry for God’s word. I feel that our team’s missionary work in Guatemala has been successful not only for the children and families, but also for me. I always return home more in love with God, more thankful for the life that God has blessed me with, and most importantly knowing that I need to be obedient to God’s word. As our team worked this week to spread God’s love, we left knowing we were messengers of God. Showing God’s love breaks language barriers.” noted Justus.

Abigail’s most cherished moments were spent at the orphanage, where she showered children with love, and helping to build a new home for a deserving family. It was during a church service led by missionary pastor Toyia Gourley that Abigail had a personal revelation. ‘How can you go out and do all these things pleasing to God while not being intimate with God yourself?’ As she said that I knew I had to change who I was. I have been saved, baptized, and value being a Christian, but I have not been growing my relationship with Him. I was only going through the motions. As the sermon concluded and the alter call was given, I knew that God was speaking to my heart. I went to my mom. When she saw I was emotional and crying, she told me she would be right beside me. Without hesitation, I grabbed her hand, and we went forward, and I humbly knelt at the altar. I knew the only way to grow as a Christian was to open up to God. I prayed to God for guidance, strength and forgiveness when I fail to not give Him the praise for the blessings in my life.” Justus shared.

As her time in Guatemala ended, Abigail felt spiritually enriched and closer to God. She expressed profound gratitude for the support of her missionary team, particularly Phoebe Adkins and Peter Hall from Wildwood Church of God. She encouraged others interested in missionary work, affirming that it is a journey guided by God’s commandment to spread love. “I want my life to be a testimony of loving and serving others that will point them to Christ. I want to plant seeds in other’s lives that will result in them walking in His ways.” Justus affirmed.

“My job during my time at Guatemala was to help others when in reality they gave me more. I have the highest admiration for the missionary team that I was grateful to be a part of. My prayer is that everyone is a Messenger for God and has the opportunity to experience a mission whether in a different country or in their hometown. A mission trip is about following God’s command for us to spread love.” Justus stated.

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