Wednesday, July 15, 2009

3 More Weeks..

.....until we leave for Guatemala! The all too familar feelings have set in of excitement, anticipation, and now that we have Sammy dread of leaving him. So many ask how we can go and leave Sammy behind but it really just comes down to God. Sam and I are 100% confident that God has called us to serve there and we trust God to work out the rest. It is all so much bigger than us and our family. We pray each night for God not only to prepare our hearts and those we will be with in Guatemala but also Sammy's. We pray that in some way his little mind and heart can have a peace about us being gone. We pray that God will bless his time with his grandparents and strengthen that sweet relationship. Yes he will miss us and we will certainly miss Him, but God will take the sting out of it and make it bearable. That is if the boy even has a chance to miss us. He will be staying with my Mom and Richard and will probably be taken care of better than we could anyway. Oh how I look forward to the day when we can do missions together as a family and don't have to leave him behind. Serving with my little boy, what a dream come true that would be!

My thoughts & dreams have been just consumed with Guatemala. I just can't describe how much I want to be there. I always have that strange pull, knowing that when there we are never completely happy b/c we miss family and friends here. It is so hard to describe, especially those last few days when you just dread leaving to the point of feeling sick but at the same time can't wait to get on the plane to be back loved ones here. As much as I tried this last year, I just couldn't keep up the momentum of being there. I remember leaving last year and sitting on the plane thinking "I want to be the me I am in Guatemala all year, here in the US". When we are there it is so easy though. There are no distractions. I don't have a giant to do list. Bills don't matter. I can just fully devote myself and focus completely on God. It is almost like I am on a trip with God. I just feel closer to Him there in Guatemala than I do here. In Guatemala I am confronted everyday with the harsh realities of life, especially when we are off campus. It makes me realize just how self absorbed our lives are when we are in the states, the major life crises that folks deal with here just pale in comparison to what they face there. Seeing it face to face, looking into suffering, hurting eyes. Talking with ladies in the market that just seem hopless, like they are just exiting with nothing to live for drives my passion to make a difference in this world. To encourage and help those who are suffering. To meet their physical needs & just show them love. In Guatemala I also see daily abundantly clear evidence of how God has worked in the lives of so many, turned horrible things into beautiful scars. Filled the hopeless with pure joy.Unspeakable joy. I really hope and pray that I will do better this year at keeping the me in Guatemala alive here in the US, if that makes sense at all. I hope that Sam and I will returned changed and learn & grow while there.

We have a really great trip planned this year and I just can't wait to see all that God has in store. The ladies on our team will be spending our nights and evenings with our "adopted" dorm, Eseperanza Arriba with 8-14 year old girls while the men will be with the Beun Pastor dorm of teen boys each night. We have some really great devotions and activities planned and unlike previous years will be breaking the kids up into small groups after devotions so we can really get one on one. Casa Para Ninos Aleluya is unique in that it is a christian home where the children are taught Chrsitain truths and values. Although they have church on Sunday mornings and Wed nights there are many who don't know Christ. Most have been terribly hurt, abused, and abandoned and find it difficult to overcome their trials and very difficult to trust in a God they can not see. It is very easy to get "lost in the crowd" when you live in a home with 500 kids and on top of that kids are continuously being brought to Casa or leaving Casa. Some stay for a week while others live their whole lives there. Last year we had a sister and brother that a few on our team developed a relationship with and they were only at Casa for that week. They left shortly after our team did. Hopefully that week that their lives intertwined with those particular team members was meaningful. Our goal is to reach as many while we are there as we can. We hope to do a lot of discipleship work with our Esperanza girls. I can not tell you how my heart aches for them, just to see them again and hold them in my arms. They are just the best bunch of girls, so amazingly selfless especially considering all they have been through. Our little Cristina is just the best of one of all (albeit I am a teensy bit partial). How on earth will we leave her there again? I have been trying to convince Sam we need to think of a way to smuggle her in to the US... hmm.. ideas welcome!

In addition to our work at Casa our team will be spending a day or two in a nearby village. We are praying that there will be many children and adults around while we are there. We have some fun things for the kids and we will be showing the Jesus film in their native language, Cakchiquel (most in Mayan villages speak a variations of this rather than Spanish) and hope that many will make decisions for Christ. We have asked for a local pastor/ folks from local church to come so we can introduce them to the village folks and hopefully get it set up for some follow-up & discipleship after we leave. Please be praying with us on this aspect of the trip especially, that all will go smoothly & no technical/electricty probs, God will reveal Himself to them, and work through us, and that we will all be safe & healthy.

Ok this has gotten long enough sorry. If you are still reading at this point, congrats to you! Now go get cup of cofee, you deserve it. I will end with this,one of my most favorite verses of all.

Isiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a grarment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of rightesousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.