How a Decade of Guatemalan Mission Work Resulted in a Pillow Business
When she was a young mom, Cathy set a goal to go on an international medical mission trip. She put it on her vision board and as years passed, she would see it on that board and look forward to it, knowing that when the time was right, it would happen. One day, about ten years later, she saw an advertisement for a medical mission trip to Guatemala. At this time, she was a nurse and felt like the timing could not be any more perfect. Not knowing anything about the trip or anyone involved, she was quite anxious but felt the push to apply and move forward with what she was feeling she was called to do. The nerves sunk in as she was thinking about leaving her family to travel to an unfamiliar place internationally. While going through this process and feeling a mix of emotions, Cathy remembered that when she was in middle school, she was intrigued by the Mayan customs and culture, the mountains and volcanoes, and the agriculture. Everything just clicked. Her heart was heavy with everything that she felt had prepared her for this mission trip.
Cathy packed her bags, checked her list, said farewell to her family, and got on a plane to Guatemala. Upon landing in Guatemala City, she met up with a group of about thirty-five missionaries who then boarded a chicken bus and began their trek to the town of San Pedro La Laguna. Cathy's heart was racing as they traveled for about three hours on this rickety bus, speeding through the mountains on skinny, dirt roads. She watched members of the group peek through the widows wide-eyed as the bus driver went full throttle across mountain switchbacks. Once they made it safely onto solid ground, they transferred onto a boat and travelled for about an hour. The group arrived at night in the small town of San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlan. Upon arrival, they could not see much since it was dark, but when Cathy woke the next morning and put on her scrubs to hike up a very large hill to the clinic, she saw one of the most breathtaking views she had ever laid her eyes upon. Along with the stunning view of the lake, her eyes were opened to the extreme level of poverty in the town. She learned that there was no internet, most people did not have electricity, and the water was not drinkable. She was taken aback when her attention was turned onto the number of patients waiting in line at the clinic. At that moment, she knew she was exactly where she was meant to be.
Fast forward to a decade later, Cathy has now been on over twenty mission trips to San Pedro and has developed strong, loving relationships with so many people there. What started as one mission trip, resulted in many more, which ultimately led her to start a new business at sixty-one years old, making handmade pillows from Guatemalan textiles that she has collected throughout the years. Cathy adds, "My pillow business keeps me connected to Guatemala when I am not physically there and helps me to support the Mayan women weavers I absolutely adore."
Photo credit Thomas Runion