Guatemala: The Team

From June 6th to 16th I had the privilege of participating in a mission trip to Guatemala. The mission team was a group of 8 other fantastic people who were sent out by my church, Living Stones. The experiences that I had were nothing short of incredible and definitely worth sharing. So in the coming week I intend to write several posts to share the things that I learned and the things that really impacted me.

(Kayleigh I’m sorry that you were sick on the day we took jump photos).

I wanted to start today’s post by saying that never in my life have I been part of a team that meshed so well. I don’t remember a single argument from the entire trip! …that is CRAZY. Usually when I sign up to be part of a team for anything I have the expectation that there will be that one person who has that natural gift of making everyone else hate life. That person did not exist on this trip (unless it was me and I’m just too oblivious to know it). So with that, I just want to say that I am very thankful for our team and the willingness that everyone had to go with the flow. It was all truly a privilege to be a part of.

So… For those of you who are constantly part of teams that never get along I guess I should share at least part of the “why” for our team. Why was our team so awesome?

I think that a big part of the answer is simply that we were a TEAM. None of us were there in an effort to make our own experience/take-away better than anyone else’s. We functioned together as a team that was willing to go with the flow and willing to help each other out. There was no complaining about one person doing less work than the other and there was no boasting about anyone doing more work than everybody else. We all had different jobs at different times and we all did our given jobs. Altogether it was by far the best “team-work” experience that anyone could ask for.

BUT… Now that we are back in the States (back in the culture of entitlement) I wonder if we will bring this concept of good teamwork into our spheres of influence?

For me, it will definitely be a challenge in the future to try and get any team that I am a part of to function as cohesively as this team functioned. I think that it will be a challenge because teams tend to have expectations. We expect to get projects done. We expect to meet the team leader’s goals. We expect to be praised. We expect other team members to be perfect. We expect mind-reading… The problem with our expectations is that they will never be met.

Learning to not have expectations in teams was definitely a huge take-away for me from this trip. I can’t expect people to know things they don’t know. I can’t expect people to do things that they don’t know how to do. I can’t expect people to know how I am feeling if I don’t tell them. All of which seem very simple to understand but we still constantly find ourselves maintaining unrealistic expectations of people. I know that this has challenged and will challenge me in the future so I hope that you can read this and at least make an effort to be conscious of your expectations of other people.

Let me know if you have any tips.

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6 thoughts on “Guatemala: The Team

  1. Mark,
    You nailed this!! I’m so glad you have a creative mind and can do things like this.

    Since I’ve been apart of 2 other different teams I can say that our team was very special, it was a true blessing working, sweating, and pooping njwith all you guys on the team. We definitely had something of true value when it came down to being a solid unit of people.

  2. Love the thoughts and especially the pics. Very thankful for your team and your readiness to answer God’s call.
    Love The Pics!

  3. Wow – I’ve been wondering how the Guatamala trip went. It was fun to read about it and see the beautiful pictures you took. Guess I have to go to your blog more often!

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