Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wonderfully late mothers day surprise!

  I feel like a kid in a candy store but guess what.. I got the best mother's day gift from my sweet Jesus in the mail yesterday.... a letter from Cristina! Most reading this know that Cristina is our sponsor child in Guatemala whom we have grown extremely close to. It was not just any letter either, this was by far the sweetest most sincere letter she has ever written us and honestly it brought me to tears. She is just so mature and is such a little lady now I could not be more proud. I say it was a late mother's day present b/c I am not sure why but for some reason over the last four or so years God has put two very special girls in my life who for very different reasons needed some extra mommy-type loving, Cristina being one of them. Please don't misinterpret what I am saying, there is no way I could ever fill the mother role for them especailly Crisitna since we live in two different countries, but what I mean is that I know God has used me to fill in the gaps where needed, if that makes sense. He has loved on them through me is the best way I can describe it. It is tough though and can really hurt at times to be so close to a child and have such a bond but then have to be separated. It is a longing I do not wish to describe. Cristina and I have talked some about this, she says her mom (who passed away when she was young) must have picked me out for her and that is why God sent me to Guatemala. Now I am not sure about all that but it did really touch my heart. She is just the best. It is neat to see how our relationship is unfolding, we have moved from her being this little kid I had to remind to obey and encourage her to do well in school to a great friend who we can talk about romance & boys with and ponder deep meaning of life type questions. I guess that is just how things go as kids grow up. I can't imagine that with Sammy.. ok moving on, can't even go there right now especially since we all know Sammy will always remain my little baby, no growing up.. no sireee. 

     So, this letter was just the best timing. Those who talk to me often know I always have the Casa kids on my mind but I tell you, last week I just had dream after dream about Guatemala. I often dream about it but the dream on Monday night was so real, so vivid and so strange! I described it to my friend Kelly and she actually laughed out loud! Cristina had a large role in it so it was just neat to come home and get this letter from her. Hannah & Krista had gotten the mail and when they gave it to me I was glancing through it and our playtime outside was cut short b/c I just couldn't wait, I had to run straight to Gloria's to have it translated. Cristina is such an encouragement, and is so sweet. Gloria laughed b/c when Cristina writes us she addresses the letters to "mi familia" or her family, and she was practically begging me to bring my mom & Richard, Sam's parents & Sarah, Sammy, Leslie, my cousins, and... GLORIA with us this year. Too cute! I always send pics of our fam to her and last year I recorded a video of Gloria speaking in Spanish to her. Cristina had one tear trickle down her cheek when she watched it for the first of many times and then she looked at me and said.. "you please bring Gloria to here, si?" So, it is cool, the two of them have never met yet have this sweet bond. 

  Anyway, I just had to share my big news, I know it may seem silly that I could be this excited about a letter but it seriously made me happier than a diamond could have. I will post pics and more on mothers day when I upload from my cam but for now I couldn't wait to tell everyone about my amazing letter. Only 2 1/2 months until we are back in Guatemala but that is too long as far as I am concerned. How on earth will I make it two more months? 

One of the blogs I have been following is a friend of a friend who has just returned from a mission trip in Uganda, Africa. She captured very well the feeling I struggle with to this day of wanting to be in two places at once. I am sure you can relate, those who have been on mission trips or simply had an amazing travel experience. It is typical for folks to say "I left a little peice of my heart in .....". Well for me, I left a GINORMOUS peice of my heart and soul in Gautemala. It is the weirdest thing though, because for me being that I am only in Guat once a year, I spend most of the year longing to be there again and try to calculate some way to stretch our money so I could possibly pop on a plane for a weekend visit (which has never happend) and many days think to myself hmm it is 2pm here, what are they doing there? Yet, the weird thing is when I am there, I miss it here. I miss my family and our friends and my little crazy dog Franklyn and yes, even Kobe our cat. I feel such mixed emotions when I am there, both dreading the day we head home almost to the point of feeling sick at my stomach b/c I don't want to leave and those who have ridden to the airport with me knwo I cry the entire way, yet I also count down the days until I can see my fam & friends again. I feel torn. Last year while there Andrea and I left before breakfast to share some special prayer time together, (by far one of my favorite memories with you ever Andrea- need more of that soon). We just sat there in front of one of the boy dorms and poured our souls out to God on behalf of those on that campus and our own husbands and sons who were back in the states as she too felt torn between Guatemala and home. I had often wondered if at some point way down the road Sam and I would be called into full time ministry and maybe even be called to Guat but then I quickly would push that thought aside assuring myself we could never do it b/c of how I felt while there, missing our family and friends so much. Well reading this blog kinda helped to clarify things.. here is how she described being caught between two worlds. 

I think that at this point I will always be missing something.  When I am here, I miss Africa terribly.  When I am there I miss my friends and family here.  I'm trying to let this be a reminder of how my heart is meant to ache.  We are never supposed to be comfortable and at ease, but longing for a life of fulfillment t that can only be found in Jesus when we get to heaven.....I feel ruined once again.  Gloriously ruined for sure.  I will never forget or regret the experience of entering if only for a moment the suffering of others.  I will chose to remember their faces.   It may make me an awkward American and force me to live between two worlds and the tension that causes, but I believe it's worth it.  I can't pretend I haven't seen this.  I used to calculate everything in $7 increments. . .what am I going to do now that I know we can feed someone a meal for $0.17 ?  How do I justify that in my mind?  How do I comprehend that we have been given much. . . .and we aren't sharing very well with our brothers and sisters?  My heart aches.  Coming home isn't easy, I don't know where home is anymore"

  So for now,  I am at last content with my torn feelings and finally at peace with them. It is ok and maybe even just what God wants for me to feel caught between two places. I know we are right where we need to be for now and am forever grateful for all that God has done and is doing in our lives and the lives of our precious children at Casa. I am thankful for the change in how we live our lives daily b/c of what we were exposed to in Guatemala, we NEVER waste food and honestly try our best not to take all we have for granted. It has even helped us during our recent financial struggles. As we feel the pinch of no income, we are still eating (thanks to our wonderful Sunday School class.. more to come on that later too) and do not feel the pain of hunger as many in Guat feel several times a week. One of the families of kids that arrived at Casa a few weeks ago had alchoholic parents and were only eating a few times a week!!! So yes, our little struggles have been put in perspective and mostly b/c of our mission trips.  Thank you Kelly for sharing these blogs with me, they have been so wonderful to read and helped me a great deal. If anyone is interested here are links

Of course my all time fav blog that I am totally addicted to is Kate's blog Amazima Ministries International, just so inspiring but be forwarned also addicting and is one giant reason I want to go to Africa now =)   http://amazima.org/

Lastly... Job update: Keep praying! Sam has interview in am and we two other possible interviews.. something has to come through and fast! Thanks for all your prayers!