Every year for the last several years, my husband has traveled on a medical mission trip to the mountains of Guatemala. One of his fellow team members for the last two years has been our daughter, now 11 years old. We, of course, hem and haw about letting her go each year, but know it’s an incredible opportunity for her at a young age to serve and love the children at an orphanage and its surrounding community in a place unlike anything she’s ever known. We’re also aware there’s a world beyond the franch with it’s own life lessons to teach. Even though our daughter speaks very little Spanish, she’s learned from all of our non-English speaking animals over the years how to show love and compassion in ways that aren’t verbal. If you’ve ever witnessed a child grow up with an animal, you know what I mean. Words can often get in the way anyhow. It’s truly something how children can easily bond with other children even though they are worlds apart. My daughter and these precious children smile and laugh and play within seconds of meeting. My husband sends me what I call “proof of life” photos knowing I worry if he’s caring for her like I would. And, it’s precious to see what a blessing she is to these children and what a blessing the children are to her. From her perspective, the children she meets in Guatemala are happy and it brings her heart joy to be with them. Unsurprisingly, it’s the so many skinny stray dogs roaming the streets that especially sadden her heart. It became an unplanned mission of hers to feed as many strays as the leftovers from the team’s meals allow. She expresses how happy they’d be living on the franch. One day after her first trip, we were sitting outside on the franch together and she was deep in thought. She broke the silence, “What direction is South?” Random. I reminded her where the sun rises on our property and she figured it out from there. My heart smiled a few days later when she showed me a note she wrote to a new special friend from the mission trip. It read, “Whenever I miss Guatemala, which is a lot, I look South.” Words can’t explain how thankful I am that my daughter is growing up to love well way beyond the borders of the franch.