My recent trip to the mountains of Guatemala left me deeply in love with the beautiful people of this rich country.

The purpose of our trip was to show people of political influence the success of Food for the Hungry’s (FH) work on fighting chronic malnutrition while recruiting advocates for United States foreign aid. While many of our friends of Capital Hill happily think well of FH’s work, it’s another thing entirely to offer them a first-hand experience, to walk the trails to community gardens, shake the hands of leaders, witness the smiling faces of healthy children, listen to the personal accounts of mothers, and see the charts documenting growth milestones. Being there makes all the difference and we need all the help we can get.

A recent survey of Americans revealed that a shocking majority of people believe that over 25 percent of the United States national budget is dedicated to foreign aid, when that number in fact only represents about one percent. However, that penny on the dollar investment in the people of other nations, not only represents the expected Christian humanitarian response to need and suffering, it’s also the most economical way to bridge foreign divides and create allies, reduce the need for military interventions, and stimulate global economies.

I know our guests from Washington went home to a new perspective and a more open heart for the poor. If they were anything like me, they not only saw the need and the poverty, but they saw the richness of the people there. They saw their culture and their devotion to their communities. They saw their ability to be self-sustaining and learn. They saw image bearers of God living in a beautiful place full of possibility. I’m honored to have experienced this beautiful place. These are some of my favorite photos from the trip.