"i'm the creation, You're the Creator, i am imperfect, You're the Redeemer, i'm filled with questions, You are the Answer, i am a sinner, You are my Savior. You are the One for me. and i belong to You. for the record i'm a full-time failure, You know me better than i know myself." -Mandi Mapes, "You're the one for me"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Guatemala: thoughts

So its been a while. I got back from Guatemala about 2 weeks ago. I'm sitting in here Panera, now finishing studying and feeling like I have some time to write this post. I have no idea where it will go, so it will just be a long train of thoughts.

I loved Guatemala. I loved the people I went with, the people I met and the people I served to bring glory to God. However, since I've been back in America I've not really felt the "high" people many times feel on these trips. Don't get me wrong, I miss it and had a hard time coming back, but I feel like I am moving forward. That trip taught me a lot about myself, and what I feel God's plans are for me and my life. A few things I've learned:

I'm a relational person. On this trip we spent a few hours with people at two different locations. Leaving those people and children was the hardest thing I did on that trip, harder than lugging dirt around and hiking a volcano. I wanted to hear those people's stories, know everything about them, and want to follow them through their lives. This is why I think I wanted to help NAthan's ministry so much, because he has relationships with those people, and will be able to watch those boys grow. Im a long term person, and these short term missions hurt my heart a little every time.

More options. Do you remember when you used to think the only real jobs were doctor, lawyer, whatever your parents did and teacher? And then you realize you can work with children in health care as a child life specialist, but never have to become a pediatrician. This trip showed me that there are more ways to minister to people than just be a missionary in the traditional sense of the word. Nathan talked about how his sons go to a school for missionary kids, and I got really excited. I've thought a lot about doing Teach for America, but realizing that using my talents as a support for missionary families to provide their children with a quality Christian education got me very excited. His students fo to a Christian school with all volunteer teachers, who spend at least two years in Guatemala. Realizing that there are ways to support those families working day in and day out to bring the glory of God to new people was eye opening for me. That conversation at a fancy restaurant with Nathan changed things for me. There is still praying to be done, obviously, but this opened my eyes to new options and opportunities that I hadn't heard about before.

I really like South/Central America. I don't know Spanish, at all. But for some reason my heart is drawn to these people. I'm sure that reason is God. I don't know why, or even want to know why. I just know that these people are incredibly beautiful people, with great hearts and hospitality. Incredible people.

Feel free to ask more questions.

also, I got my new Key Word Study Bible today. It's phenomenal. I adore it and the Word of God.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

and we will sing. . .

. . 'Holy, Holy is the King of Kings'

Again, here are more journal entries from Thursday, Friday and Saturday (which means the end)

   We didn't leave the mission until 9 am today, which was an horu later than we normally do, and such a blessing. At the site it was wheelbarrowing, there was no more cement for me and Rebecca to finish our 'cement bombs.' I wheelbarrowed up and down all morning until lunch. Lunch was a little later because we waited on Nathan to return, but I was so hungry that I ate a little too fast. I started by switching with Matt down at the bottom of the hill building up the road. I stunk that up real fast and tried to beg Matt to switch back with me but he wouldn't, so I switched with Nicole. I was getting really short with people and wasn't nice at all. The boys finished the trenches which meant our dirt was finished soon after. When Matt shared that we had no more dirt I jumped and screamed like a teenager seeing Justin Beiber. We then began leveling the ground above the current night watchman house and dumping it like 10 feet away to build that land up. It was super hot and I got super tired. I worked with Daniel, and he had me laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants (I'm a lady, I know). After, NAthan took us to the very end of his land. The view there was incredible. What I thought was even greater was Nathan describing what he envisioned on teh mountainside - the 4 homes, the boys each with house parents all goign to school and work. It was so beautiful to hear the vision God has given him for this place. We then prayed for the ministry, the permit (they technically aren't suposed to be building on this land and need the mayor to sign off on a loophole in the law God showed Nathan), the boys, the house parents, adn Nathan and Claudia.

Team Time they had us go downstairs and after soem worship time, Eric came down and got us one by one. As I came up, I saw Matt on the floor with a bucket of water. He then washed each of our feet with Eric reading the passage of when Jesus does it to his disciples (John 13:1-17). It reminded me of when my youth pastor Eddy McBroom did it at camp 8 years ago. Seeing and feeling the change from then and now was interesting. That day was when I consider myself truly becoming a Christian and understanding all that following Christ entails, and it was on this trip that I really felt that I was willing to give it all up and spread that love that Jesus has given me to the ends of the earth.

We continued to worship and ended with 'Oh love that will not let me go' (don't try googling it you won't get the right version. ill get back to you on it). The last line is 'and we will sing, 'Holy Holy is the King of Kings' As Daniel continued to pray over us and the ministry there would be at least one person singing that line over and over again. It was a beautiful sound to hear and to think that for everything
 we are doing we should be signing that line.

 - All day long we would sing song parodies revolving around dirt or shoveling.

Lake Atitlan

  Today was the fun day. We started at the same time (8) and just took the 2 - 2.5 hour drive through the mountains to Lake Atitlan. The van ride was fun, we played 90s music and partied it up. The scenery was beautiful, the mountains looked like waves. We drove through different villages, all incredibly unique and yet totally the same. Once at the Lake we went ziplining. It was very well setup, got all our gear on and even practiced on a very short one - which gave me some confidence. I had already told both Becca and Eric to be prepared to push me down the line if necessary - I was doing this. We then hiked quite a way up, passed some spider monkeys (notice how I say that like its no big deal? but yeah, I saw monkeys) and the off to ziplining.
They harness you in, and then you had to stop by pulling your right hand off the trolley and onto the cable that was pulling you. I hated it (like my honesty). the height didn't bother me at all, but thats probably because I was too freaked out by sort of losing control and having issues breaking. However, the zipline was a group of 8, so do 1 you got 7 more. I did alright on the first few, but on the third one I never braked really, and slammed into the rope that acts as an emergency brake. there were tears. While I didn't enjoy, the rest of the team loved it!! I'm glad I did it though, and it was an experience that I'll never forget.

Lunch was at the Circus bar. It was a pizza dive, and really yummy. At lunch Nathan also showed us some pictures and videos from his karate demonstrations in the prisons. After lunch we shopped. We walked all the way down one street. I bartered pretty well. I could have done better, but never felt like I was paying too much . Seeing everyone else shop and interact was fun too. The drive back was just as beautiful, and we were all exhausted, so much quieter. We stopped at the Ranch site (first group!) and learned about that land and prayed over it. that land had more of a prairie country feel to it than the mountains we were used to seeing. On our way back, our beloved van began having transmission problems, but thankfully the ride back was mostly downhill and much easier. We had dinner at a fancy hotel in Antigua. It was delicious, but not as good as Claudia's. Nathan shared more at dinner, and gave us all certificates, something he said was a very Guatemalan thing to do. I loved hearing all of Nathan's stories, and his heart for this.

That night had nothing exciting, just packing and getting ready to leave.

  We woke up at 4:30am on Saturday to pack up the van and head back. We said good bye to Nathan and Kory at the mission and then drove to the airport. Security in the Guatemalan airport is intense. you do the normal American thing, but you also get frisked - every single person. They also individually checked my bag, and took my volcanic rock out. (I was a little sad). We had our last meal their in the airport, and then boarded our plane. They check everyone's carry on one more time after they scan your ticket and before you get on the plane. (Also there were only two American Airlines flights to check in to, Dallas Fort Worth and Miami. big choices)

The flight was fine, I mostly sat there praying and thinking. We landed in DFW and met up with Mitchell's marvelous parents who met us with a pizza lunch. We chowed down, and then headed over to our gate to wait. Waiting and waiting, and then boarded once again.

then we were home.

Best Day

Wednesday was probably my favorite day in Guatemala. Here's my journal entry:

Today was one of those God moved kind of days. We went to a school at the base of Pacaya, the volcano. We basically just showed up at the school (which was a long building with about 5 classrooms and a concrete court outside), Nathan talked to the headmaster, and we did crafts with the children. With the first through third grade, we made name plates (boy or girl). While it was super great, we had to do their names for them because they were so young. This was tricky for me because I did not know the different letters. I had to ask the teacher every time how to spell their name, checking for each letter. I only got a few wrong. And getting an American name made me smile. (Wilson!!) The kids were precious, following people around and screaming for attention.
Nathan said on the first day that the children who need the most love are those hanging back, not jumping in your lap. This really stuck with me, and today I met that child - Carolina. She never said anything to me, except a mumble of her name, but the pain in her eyes broke my heart. She just sat, never accepting any words of affirmation or hugs. I so wish I could have told her how much she means to me, means to God. (A later post will take this spiritual, but for now just know I still remember Carolina's face). Other children were just as unloved as well, always looking for acceptance, hooping someone would say that their nameplate looked 'muy bonita'. They also loved the bubbles and popping them.  - the balloon animas were a big hit, i saw the kids assaulting those of us with them. i just was never there -
With the fourth and sixth graders we made 'believe' bracelets, with different colored beads and some with letters. Again, there was a little boy just hanging back, waiting patiently with such hurt and desperation in his eyes, hoping for something. They were such amazing children of all ages. I could spend the rest of my life right there in that village.

Then we hit the volcano - PACAYA! This was a beast. It was about 3 miles up, and took us about 1.5 hours. The hike was intense, and I honestly didn't think I could make it. Literally. But we finally made it up, and bless our tour guide for staying with us. She was such a sweet woman, sharing history with us, and making us feel not so pathetic. The view was incredible at the top of this plateau, which was still down from the actual top of the volcano. So I didn't see any lava, but it was still cool. We made our way down (much easier) and then back to the mission. Dinner was magnificent again, and we had a marvelous team time again, with everyone saying their life verse. I've never really thought about a life verse, but I enjoyed hearing everyone else's and learning that little bit (really big bit) about their lives.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tiera y Muerta!

These are basically my journal entries form Monday and Tuesday
  Such a long day. Today we went to the Refuge site for our first work day. First, as we got near the site there were men digging a trench in the road (basically cobblestones laid in a path). We got out and walked the rest of the way. Our jobs were to finish digging a trench and take all the dirt from that trench down into another part of the property - down a hill. It started out kind of interesting - maybe even fun. But the more we pushed wheelbarrows down and back up the hill the harder it got. It was really hard not to complain, so I tried hard to only do it a little if at all. Other times I would think about the children we say yesterday, and that this hard work would be changing their life.  I would switch off to shovel dirt into wheelbarrows and before lunch I helped pick the dirt. (using a pick ax). THe dirt was hard . . super solid.

I have forgotten something. During the morning, because of where we parked the van, it got stuck. The guys tried to move it, but then we all needed to go up to help move it. We got it down fast then, and it was a great reminder that we are a team here, and that we are all in this together (please break out in HSM now).

Lunch was great! It was just ham (learned later it was actually chicken) and cheese sandwiches, chips and apples, but it was so great. We then got back to work (after a little break time). I feel like the afternoon went better - we were just more in sync and willing to help. I switched all around - my favorite is probably shoveling though. I don't really know why, but I love it. The afternoon went by quickly, and then Nathan showed up for a team project. We had to carry 3 10ft long rebar poles bundled together down the mountain. We tried 2 to a bundle, but it was so heavy the girls only made it about a 1/3 of the way before having to leave one and finish one all together. We were determined to finish it though- and made it back to the site. Mini-break, Nathan broke a pickax, and then back to work. I switched between wheelbarrowing and shoveling until we headed out. Right before, Nathan shared with a few of us that the wall in the trench needed to be built before the rainy season came in 3 weeks!

Dinner was waiting for us when we got back, another one of Claudia's creations. After dinner I helped do the dishes - reminded me of home :)  I then waited for a shower. It felt so good to be clean. We then just hung out and had team time

(Forgotten again - Remigio (a Guatemalan worker there) would be waiting at the bottom of the hill for us. Every time I made it down he would teach me a new word (tiera = dirt, careta = wheelbarrow). At one point he clapped at me for making it down, and we both agreed that I am slow. but all in love )

Team Time was fun. We each shared why we were here. It was interesting to hear the different ways God brought people to this trip. I loved hearing Kory's (intern at Engadi) story. He was ready to go pro at BX racing, but clearly felt GOd telling him to give it up to come to Guatemala. I really appreciate that.

~ Getting an email from my mom this morning was a great encouragement, as were Susan's letter again~

Another long day, but not quite as long. The premise of today was basically the same as yesterday. I started out wheelbarrowing, but after about an hour, Nathan called me to help him. I was put to work making these cylinder block of cement. The process was to take a cut of PVC pipe and lay it on a board. Then take the cement and jam it into the PVC pipe. Once it was full, we stuck a curved wire in it and shimmied the pipe off.
We had to make 300!
We kept doing this all day. It was kind of weird to be sitting while everyone else picking or shoveling or wheelbarrowing. It got me thinking. God will always want us to be doing something to bring Him glory. It may not be the most glamorous or intense job, but it is something that needs to be done. The blocks needed to be made, they would act as the true foundation of this guard houses - between dirt and rebar. We worked a little through lunch, because we couldn't let the cement dry up. Lunch was just as baller, then back to foundation. Me and Rebecca talked while doing it, which was great - just hearing part of her life.
I also really enjoyed when the workers came over to give us more supplies they would teach us some SPanish. I learned about school here, and the seasons all from Hugo (silent H). These men just screamed Guatemalan hospitality. We finished all the cements, at 140 blocks. It was then back to the wheelbarrow. It was incredible to see the progress the team had made - Daniel by the end of the day had gone 72 times. I got super sunburnt, from my forearms to the tops of my hands (with my passion band giving a great tan line). I also didn't use gloves when grabbing the cement and had some really cut up fingertips by the end of the day. It was really fulfilling though

Back at the house while waiting for dinner, I took my shower. It was Cold, but amazing. Lasagna a la Claudia was marvelous. Her two boys, Levi and Caleb, are precious. Levi reminded me so much of my oldest little cousin, Carson. We stayed around chatting and had team time again. Team time today was words of affirmation to and from everyone. It was probably my favorite team time thus far because words of encouragement speak to me, and I love encouraging others. I then went to bed :)


I thought I would start writing some of what actually happened in Guatemala this past week, and then wrap it up with my emotions on the trip and what God taught me on it.

we flew. yipee. we had a few delays, but I didn't notice them. I sat next to a mother and daughter on their way to Guatemala City to wait up for the rest of their team coming in Sunday, and then heading 8 hour bus drive north to do medical work in villages. The mother had been to Guatemala and even Antigua before, and was able to calm my fears about the location that we would be staying. Thanks be to God. Our welcoming team of Nathan and Kory (with a K) was waiting for us at the airport, and Guatemala hit us. There were boys waiting, begging right at our van, ready to "help" us with our bags. We hopped in our fifteen passenger van, and rode down to the mission we would be staying in in Antigua. then it was sleep time

Sunday was a blast. We got our first good look at the mission, which was beautiful. It was like the outdoors came inside with open air everywhere except the bedrooms. Nathan picked us up and took us out the the Refuge site for the first time. There he told us his story (more of which I learned later) and the vision God has given him for this land. Hearing the different ways God has moved around Nathan is incredible. We then loaded up for church.
We had church in Antigua, at the satellite location to the church Nathan and his family attend in Guatemala City. While I understood very little of it, I did understand:

      Recibe toda la gloria / recibe toda la honra / precioso hijo de dios

It was beautiful to hear the Guatemalans worshipping God. They felt such a passion and fire, there was even a woman walking the aisle with tissues. The sermon was a bit weird to me, mainly because I listened with headsets to the English version being translated immediately, and I couldn't help but laugh at the translation. lo siento.

After church, we headed back to the mission, where we were met with the first of many delicious meals made by Claudia, Nathan's wife. It was magnificent.

It was then off to Paradise, which is not Paradise, a neighborhood in Zone 18 in Guatemala City. The police leave at 4 pm because they are afraid. Paradise reminded me so much of Lima - houses of sheet metal on top of each other, little alley ways providing the roads, beautiful people. Nathan took us around the different houses of people he had ministered with. Seeing the inside of these houses and being welcomed in was humbling. The trail of kids followed us to the soccer stadium that Nathan had worked on years ago. (i think). We just played with the kids, doing bubbles and making picture frames with popsicle sticks. The amount of pride these children took in their crafts was beautiful to see. I knew NO spanish, but picked a little up. The kids were so willing to help each other out as well as help me out.

As we left Paradise we went by 'Doctor' Manuel's house. His mother, Olivia, hugged everyone as we walked into her home. She told us how much we were blessing her by visiting, because people did not make the walk down the hill to come visit. It broke my heart to hear that. She was an incredible woman.

After Paradise, we ran by NAthan's house for him to pick up the gas key and then to Pollo Campero. This was like the best fried chicken ever, and also the location for my first ice cream in a cone. it was a big moment - there are pictures.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I'm back in the states. 

Guatemala was incredible. There aren't enough words to best describe the joy I found there. I'll unpack more later  this week, but just wanted to share that I'm still alive. 

Also, school stinks. 

Friday, March 4, 2011


I've packed. I've prepared. Organized, googled, done everything I can think of to prepare for this trip, because I am a preparer. I like plans and organization, lists and deadlines. 

This week has none of that. Oh we might have our schedules, here's what we are doing today, and I like to tell myself that our leader knows what he is doing, but of that I'm not entirely sure (still believe in you Matt). 

But that's OK. maybe not to me right now, but it is ok. 

I see a therapist (long story I'll tell another time). But i was telling her all the things that scared me about this trip, the biggest one being not knowing. the unknown scares me more than anything else. I'm worried our car will break down in the middle of nowhere, that we get lost, and that i get detained by Guatemalan people at the airport (i've actually thought alot about being stuck at the Guatemalan airport by security. very scary to me). I've googled directions to see how we'd get from the airport to our location - which i don't even really know. 

There are so many things that I want to know, and i can't. i don't need to. I don't have to know how to get from the Guatemalan airport to Antigua. I'm not driving. If our van breaks down, i don't know mechanics, can't do anything. detained by police? don't cry and use  the iPhone to communicate. my therapist even brought up the situation if we are working and someone chops their leg off. i said i'd throw up and then stop the bleeding. 

i think about this alot. and, because all of life is one big plan, life scares me. 

i sit and think about getting older. not like turning 21, but turning 40. 50. what will that be like for me? the more i think about these things, the scarier it gets to me. that i'm actually alive and don't have to be, that i will get married and have children, that my children will have children. eek. but i can't plan for these things. my plans have changed so much even over the past year. i came to college ready to be an econ major and get my MBA. not so much anymore as i know think i may be a guidance counselor. but it works better this way, because i am at one of the best schools in the nation for child development and counseling, without planning it. 

so I hope this week I realize that God will move without my plans, inspite of my plans, and in my plans. I hope to see that God has a much greater plan than I could ever think of, or dream of. 

There are so many times I say I wish I could know the whole picture, but if you think about it, knowing the whole picture could be even scarier than seeing only glimpses. If you really knew all that God wanted and planned for your life, or my life, I may be even more likely to run in the opposite direction than just seeing glimpses.  The little light I see is all I will need, because it is all I can handle I think. 

So here's to a week of uncertainty, unknown, but God. 

Glory to God.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A quote for your day

A zealous person in Christianity is preeminently a person of one thing. It is not enough to say that they are earnest, strong, uncompromising, meticulous, wholehearted, and fervent in spirit. They only see one thing, they care for one thing, they live for one thing, they are swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God.
Whether they live, or whether they die-whether they are healthy, or whether they are sick-whether they are rich, or whether they are poor-whether they please man, or whether they give offense-whether they are thought wise, or whether they are thought foolish-whether they are accused, or whether they are praised-whether they get honor, or whether they get shame-for all this the zealous person cares nothing at all.

They have a passion for one thing, and that one thing is top please God and to advance God’s glory. If they are consumed in the very burning of their passion for God, they don’t care-they are content. They feel that, like a candle, they were made to burn; and if they are consumed in the burning, then they have only done the work for which God has appointed them. Such a person will always find a sphere for their zeal. 

If they cannot work, or give money, or a man cannot preach, then they will cry out and sigh, and pray. Yes: if they are extremely poor, on a perpetual bed of sickness, they will make the activity of sin around him slow to a standstill, by continually interceding against it. If they cannot fight in the valley with Joshua, they will do the work of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, on the hill. (Exodus 17:9-13) If they are cut off from working themselves, they will give the Lord no rest until help is raised up from another quarterand the work is done. This is what I mean when I speak of zeal in Christianity.

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) by way of David Platt, "Zealous for one thing" Sermon 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Some great causes

As I've been hopping around blogger land, I've happened upon some amazing causes:

-Wiphan   - This organization not only helps orphans, but helps their widowed mothers learn to better provide for them.

- Drawn from Water  - incredible story. watch the video on their website. im not so hot with the technology so i couldn't embed their video

-Amazima  - just incredible the way God is using Katie Davis.

Not one I've found from blogger land, but Engadi Ministries is the group I will be helping in 4 (!) days in Guatemala.

I just can't wait. and if you want to keep up with our group then here ya go: Guatie Blog  fun times.