Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lead Me On

YOu lead me very far away
Into this hurting place
You take me far away from home
Though I'm never alone

You show me hurt, pain, despair
Needy people everywhere
You show me orphans without care
Hungry children everywhere

And so I question as I see
Just what you want from me
How can I go back there,
back to comfort, luxury, not a care.

I need a vision somehow,
I need a word from You right now.
There is silence in the air
And questions everywhere.

Now that I have seen
I have to take responsibility
To act and love and care
For the people left back here

It doesn't fit with the American Dream
Doesn't follow a movie or a magazne
it's gonna' take a step of faith
To get me to this place

I just want my life to be
A lovely, fragrant offering
But I know that this will mean
Alot of sacrificing.


From my journal on 6/27:
Searching out my calling here. My role. I don't knowhow this passionand burden fits into my life back home. Shopping malls, restaurants, dorm shopping, vacations. All good things, yet how to balance priorities. Search my heart, Lord.

Beautiful Words

We went across the lake to San Juan yesterday to work in the clinic of our friend Mary who we met a couple years ago on a previous trip here.

There is a fabulous group from North carolina here as well and they have befriended us, fed us, and filled gaps in our trip never would have anticipated. It has been wonderful. They had 2 nursing students and so we brought them with us on our little trip...which turned into a wet, freezing adventure haha.
They have a full-time nurse, Timoteo, at the clinic but they wanted my dad to work for one day and have the nurse watch. Some of the people spoke Spanish, but the majority spoke Tz-utujil which meant Timoteo translated into Spanish, me into English and back to Spanish with my dad's response, which would then be translated back to Tz-utujil by Timoteo. We saw probably 15 patients, and God graciously gave me incredible understanding of medical terminology. I knew VERY FEW medical words going into this and I was almost always able to understand what they were saying. It was a gift.

My heart reached out to these people. I smiled as I was reminded of their constant friendliness and gratitude. I laughed at the silly antics of the darling children. I so enjoyed talking in Spanish for a full 5 hours, unlocking the mystery of words, using my vocabulary to communicate dialogue in order to help someone. My heart broke for the 38 year old mother with arthritis who can do nothing but sit in her home while her children and husband cook and clean for her. I winced with the malnourished child as she had her blood drawn. My heart loves these people.
I feel as though all of these years of working so hard at Spanish were culminated in these 5 hours of translating. I am finally able to communicate and serve a purpose with my language, and it was beautiful.

Pure cuteness.

On my hip. All day long. :)

Mission Eyes

Eyes wide open, brimming with tears
So full of hope, yet full of fear.

These eyes have gazed on the fields ripe for harvest.
A week-long look at this place of promise.

But alas they return to the American Dream
Where everyone wants the newest fad or thing

They're expected to blend in as part of the culture
But these mission eyes are different than they were.

They're a blessing, a reminder of all that I've seen
And a promse to remember where I have been.

Half the battle of a mission trip is wrestling with God over What now? I'm not even home yet and I've been asking this question since day 1. Now that I have seen, I am responsible. But what does that mean? What does that mean for my life? These eyes have seen hurt, pain, and a field ripe for harvest. Oh so many opportunitiesfor service and growth. But what now? How do you return to the states with these mission eyes that have gazed on the fields ripe for harvest? I cannot go back and forget.

On all of my previous trips the Lord has completely broken me over the orphans and the people here in Guatemala. This trip, though, I feel like He is showing me what He needs to change in ME. He's showing me places of my heart and pieces of me that are not honoring to Him, things I need to surrender, lessons I need to learn. It has been very humbling.

And it leaves me wondering just how these mission eyes are going to go home and try to merge the 2 lives I have today- my Guatemala life and my US life.

The fields are ripe for harvest, and the laborers are few. I have seen and heard and know that I must act. Lord, show me what is in Your will for my heart, my time, my talents, my gifts, my life.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Precious Gifts

We had the most precious time with the 4 girls Friday night. It was like time stood still for 12 hours and it was just me, my dad, and these giggly, beautiful little girls.
We had 4 little mattresses with pillows and sleeping bags set up for them. I had laid out their gifts for them on their beds and they squealed with delight as they opened and thoroughly examined every package. They all came out for their morning walk today wearing their new clothes. And, the twins were carrying their lunchboxes STILL haha. That was their favorite gift I think. It was so cute.
I had brought lots of things to do with them in anticipation of the sleepover, so we colored, played with PlayDoh, ate snacks, made necklaces, watched a little of Finding Nemo on YouTube, and skyped with my mom and brothers.
It took me about 40 minutes to get them all in their beds. And when they finally fell asleep, they all snored, coughed, and moaned! And I woke up to every single sound. The mama in me was so afraid they were having a bad dream, or scared, or crying. So suffice it to say, I got maybe 4 hours of sleep last night, but it was worth every single minute we got with those girls. We're going to try and do it again before we leave on Friday.

Yesterday, the girls and I went outside for a quick photoshoot in their new clothes and hair bows. I told them I wanted to send pictures to my mom and my aunt who helped me buy the clothes for them. They were SO excited to pose, and continually reminded me these were for "Tu mama!" So aunt diane and mom, these are for you! :)

These girls are so incredibly beautiful, I am blown away by their personalities and adorable faces.

Dios es fiel

Dios es fiel- God is faithful
Before I left, my mom asked me if there were any specific prayer requests I had that weren't obvious or that I'd talked about already. I told her that I was really praying that God would bring about many opportunities to utilize my Spanish. Well, our first work day here, and God certainly has provided.
I stood with my dad and the head workman here at the orphanage talking yesterday. He is a short little man, but I have always felt as though he towers over me. He gives directions, isn't afraid to give constructive criticism and instruction, and he has always pushed me to speak more spanish (which was a blessing in disguise as it made me get out of my comfort zone and speak).
This year, he and I have really conversed alot, and my dad had called me over to help translate. They had started talking about this man's family and how many children he had. This burly man opened up to us and showed him his broken and tattered heart. He shared of his 3 children, 2 who died years ago. They lived in a dangerous, underground home with no sunlight for years, working hard to provide for their one remaining son. Eventually, they were able to move out of the city and here to this smaller town to work here at the orphanage in construction.
I was holding back tears as my heart broke for this man. How many of the other people I've seen and talked to have a story like his? We are all so bruised.
The story didn't end there, though. His son is very intelligent, and works with electrical, technology, and computers. Because they moved here, he's been able to work during the weeks and attend a university to be trained in computers.
This man couldn't stop listing off all the good things he has. All the good things God has done.
He continued to speak of how God graciously provided. This man's heart is loyal to His God, and it was so beautiful to see.
I looked out at the mountains, remembering all God has done thus far and at the end, all I could say was Dios es fiel.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Estamos aqui!

We are here in beautiful Guatemala! It has been a very full 24 hours already, and we have been so blessed.

This will be a boring post with no pictures- i'm so sorry! I have a few minutes over lunch to write this so it has to be quick. We are having the 4 big girls stay in our room tonight and the camara is going to be ON the whole time! :)

Traveling was great yesterday. I got sick from the hotel breakfast (in Chicago go figure haha) but I quickly recovered. All of our flights were nearly on time and everything went very smoothly.

Today they have us on ladders (YIKES!) painting a building that will become a bus stop. Our hands are covered in green paint.

We have had precious time with the managers of the orphanage both yesterday and today, and I think it was God's hand on this trip that we would arrive yesterday so we could have this time with them before the big teams come. Both my dad and I are so thankful we've been able to sit down and talk with them about what God is doing at the orphanage, with the church, and adoptions (or lack thereof in this case).

I am still trying to process all that I've seen and heard so far, and right now I just feel like I'm taking it all in. My prayer this morning was that God would refine me this week, and continue to break my heart for what breaks His, and give me a vision for how my life should look in response.

I think the week is going to jam-packed and I'm so excited to see what God will do in these busy days.

Please pray that my energy levels continue to be stable with my hypoglycemia, and that things would work out still for the girls to spend time with us tonight. They are all craving our attention and it's been overwhelming trying to listen to all of their sweet voices, give them all hugs, and make sure everyone is getting enough loving.

Thank you sweet prayer warriors. I'll post again soon hopefully with pictures!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My heart, my all

In just 2 short days a plane will whisk me away
To a land whose beauty seems more glorious each passing day

This children have grown to fill my heart, thoughts, and dreams
This country, this people, it is my everything

Until it hurt to remember, and I slowly turned away
Too hard to remember that bitterly painful day

But now i"m returning, a trip fresh and new
Believing every word, that God's promise is true.

In my weakness His power is perfect and right
In my hurting He turns what is dark into light.

So I give my week, my heart, my all
Trusting He's there to catch every fall


But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest in me.
2 Corinthinas 12:9

To some, this poem will not make sense. To others, those who have been to a foreign country or been passionately involved with a certain ministry and people, this will resonate with your heart. I am so in love with this country and people, have had so many sweet memories in Guatemala. Yet coming back from these trips is always absolutely heart-wrenching for me. Last summer after returning I finally just had to block out everything, all my deep emotions and love for my heart country because it just hurt too much. As I've prepared to go back, I've prayed through all of this, and have opened my heart back up to this place and people I love so very much. It's easy for me to go into the trip already fearing what I will see, the things that will break my heart. But I do not want this. I WANT to be beautifully broken, broken by what makes the very heart of God break. And so with this poem last night I gave my week to the Lord, trusting that the hurt and tears will be used for my good. My weakness and incompetence will be made perfect by His grace. And the immense joy and laughter I get to partake in for an entire 8 days with the most beautiful children I know is making me incredibly impatient to get there.
I am ready, Lord, please do a good work in my heart and in the hearts of Your people!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

7 Days

I was cleaning my room today and realized that in 7 days I will be in Guatemala. Like a wave in the ocean comes over you, all of the things I will see and do in 7 days washed over me and I broke into tears.

In 7 days I'll get to speak and hear Spanish. In 7 days I'll get to hear the beautiful laughter of children in the orphanage, hear the delightful squeals, and feel their pudgy hands around my neck as I scoop them into my arms for hugs long over-due. I'll get to see the precious girl who stole my heart the very first time I walked into the orphanage. See how beautiful she has become, hear her "grown-up" voice, see the little girl she's grown to be.

This is a gift. And it is so overwhelming to me that I get to be the one to go to this country and be the hands, feet, and mouth of Jesus.

God has already been on the move in this adventure. Our airlines went on strike last week and He graciously brought the company to peace and we will fly out as planned next Thursday. Thank you Jesus!

I'll post with some specific prayer requests here in the next few days as well as my vision and hope for this trip (that is already known and planned-out by God anyway!)