It is hard to believe it has been a couple of months since I last blogged. We appreciate each of you that follow us, pray for us and support our ministry here in Guatemala!
A lot has happened here over the last couple of months that I want to share with you. Chris and I have moved into our house. We love it and it is starting to feel like our home away from home. The village is “muy tranquilo” (very calm). Everyone seems to be in bed by 9pm, including me! There is so much I love about our new home, but one of my favorite things is the mango tree in our backyard that is dropping mangos daily! (Those of you that will be coming with our mission team in June, I am freezing several for mango smoothies!!) We have also had several visitors. Besides Pastor Mynor, his family, and several other families and children from the village, I thought our visitors would come in the form of cats and dogs, but no, they are cows and chickens! I love being awakened by the rooster crowing! Ummm but Chris, not so much!! I think eating the rooster for dinner has crossed his mind a time or two!
On Valentine’s Day, “Diá de Amor”, I attended a celebration with the teenagers that are attending Liberty and Rosario. We all made a “Feliz diá de cariño” card and brought chocolates. We drew names to see who would receive our card. Each of the teens stood up front and called the name of the person they drew and that person would come forward to receive their card and gift. It was a simple gesture but one that had my heart jumping for joy!! Watching them interact with each other, with joy, laughter and kind gestures, made my eyes well up with tears of love and thankfulness. I was so thankful I was able to experience this special time between them!! I was later thinking about all He has done to give them this opportunity to continue in school and the blessing of the special friendships that are being forged. His love is so great and it can move mountains! I am so thankful and humbled that He chose us, this ministry and all its supporters to be used as a vessel for His work, at this time, in this place, to these special people!!
God is showing Chris and I new things. He is revealing His plan for us here and we are
seeing seeds that He planted months ago beginning to grow here on the mission field. Chris and I had the great opportunity to work alongside Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine and the College of Nursing. It was an amazing clinic! A dentist was available to pull teeth and an eye doctor to do thorough eye exams and give free eyeglasses for those in need. The women were able to have PAP smears and abdominal ultrasounds for pelvic pain. Charts were made for each person that came to the clinic that included problems, treatment and continued follow up. Chris is now following up with these individuals and working with the doctor at St Luke’s Hospital for care of the children and the doctor in the “Asilo” or elderly home to work out treatment and follow up for the adults in the village. Over a year ago, Chris felt he was being called to do Home Health after his accident. We were sure of it! We thought that would be where he would work when he was able to return to nursing. He was called to this kind of work for this time, just not in Virginia but here in Guatemala.
As for me, I have always had a love for math! A couple months before we moved here, I had a desire in my heart to help with tutoring the children. I thought if I could work with them every day and help them learn, then I could also use it as an opportunity to talk to them about Jesus, to mentor and disciple them. But there was a battle going on inside of me. I am a nurse, therefore shouldn’t I be working in the hospital? However, I knew the Lord was leading me in another direction. One day I tutored a little girl, it was impromptu. She was struggling with a math problem and I sat to help her. I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be, doing what I was called to do. I worked with her for over an hour and half. She was so excited to learn. Watching her eyes light up as she realized she could do the math problem was incredible! When I left the village that day, I was reminded by a sweet friend that I should not put myself in a box but be open to the Lord’s leading. I agreed and the more I prayed about it, the more assured I was that my place is in the school. Last week the children received their grades and all but 2 of the children’s lowest grades were in math. Talk about affirmation!! So tomorrow I start tutoring all day in the school. I will be tutoring math to the all the students and helping the high school students learn to speak English. One day everyone is going to wonder why all the children in the village that speak English have an Appomattox accent!!
This last week we celebrated “Semana Santa” or Holy Week. Antigua, Guatemala has the largest Easter celebration in the world which includes processions, carpets made from colored sawdust, pine needles, flowers and plants. The celebration also includes festivals and fireworks. The Passion, the Crucifix and the Resurrection are all commemorated. Here in Llano Verde, the children are out of school all week and most workers are on vacation from Ash Wednesday through the weekend. It is a time when families come together and spend time at the rivers, lakes and beaches. The local Catholic church had a procession on Palm Sunday and Good Friday. It was a blessing to watch them pass in front of the house proclaiming the Word of the Lord throughout the village. They also made a carpet of colored sawdust and pine needles on Good Friday.
In continuation of our celebration of Semana Santa, last night we had the great privilege of Jackie Towns coming to our church to share the Easter story through the eyes of Mary Magdalene. It was beautiful and very powerful message! Jackie is a Biblical storyteller and her passion is to share the word of God through storytelling. The church was full and everyone was engaged. She hopes to return one day soon to teach the children and adults how to learn and share Bible stories through storytelling. I think the children stole her heart! I know she stole ours!
It has been a great couple of months. We have learned a lot about ourselves and about life in Guatemala. We have made some great friends and have continued to build relationships in the village. I am continuing to learn Spanish poco a poco. Chris and I are starting a Spanish class this week! God is so good and we will continue moving forward in His strength and grace! Happy Easter! Dios los bendiga!
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.