I'm so thankful to be back home with all the privileges that I daily enjoy, but I am also so much more acutely aware of those blessings.
Our biggest blessing of the trip was the team we got to experience it with. I knew no one from the team but my parents but when you are with Christians that hardly matters because of the holy communion of the saints. I love how God's people have the same Spirit wherever they are from!
Our trip to Guatemala was wonderful and sweet and challenging. Many of you know that I get so anxious about traveling that I make myself physically sick. Deciding to say yes to this trip was an act of faith and obedience for me, and I trained myself physically and spiritually for months so that I could do this with my family.
During the month of March, I memorized the first two chapters of James and those chapters comforted me and also came alive in a personal way during my trip.
When we faced days of 104 degree temps and traveled with no air conditioning on very mountainous roads, I prayed to "consider it pure joy" and that my persevering would make my faith "mature and complete" -- that I would learn to trust that God could take care of me in all circumstances.
Often groups of people come to the missionaries with petitions for various needs and the missionaries are sorrowed that they can't meet the needs at that time. And with tears, they tell the people that they must pray earnestly for God to place it on someone's heart to meet the need. When I saw the utter neediness of the people, James' rebuke to those who show favoritism to the rich was so pertinent for "hasn't God chosen the poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised to those who love Him?"
The times I was ill and I wondered why on earth I had come, I was reminded "What good is it, my brothers, if you have faith but no deeds. Suppose a brother of sister is without clothes or daily food and you say, "Go, I wish you well, keep warm and well fed, and do nothing for his physical needs, what good is it?"" And it is not that we did much for these dear people, but just that when I stepped way out of my comfort zone, I was learning to care with my presence and not just my pocket book.
I delighted in having my children there. They interacted with the kids so beautifully despite the language barrier and I was so proud of them for never complaining during the tough parts of the trip. Our team brought soccer balls for the schools and Adam played with all the boys. Katelyn and the other girls made bracelets out of colorful floss with the children - probably around 300 bracelets.
Anna was like a museum specimen to the indigenous children. She was the youngest girl and was picked up by them often. They pinched her white skin, braided her blond hair, and pulled apart her eyelids to giggle at her blue eyes. She smiled at them all! Many of the rural Mayan children had never seen a Caucasian child before. They called are girls "gringitas" - little white girls.
How humbling it was to drive into a remote village and have 300 children waiting for or running with our bus, some jumping onto the back, shouting so excitedly, "Gringos!" They were so eager for a blessing but they blessed me far more.
How humbling it was to accept a hot lunch, prepared by the teachers to thank us: their sacrificial best when they had so little and we so much.
And how humbling it was to accept communion from the hands of our missionary leaders, who with tears in their eyes said: This is Christ's body broken for you.... This is Christ's blood shed for you.... They are my heroes!
And now I must go and tackle the dirtiest pile of laundry I've ever seen and check each piece for stowaways. We had tarantulas, scorpions, and cockroaches in our rooms last week and I do NOT want to find one in my house!!!! Thanks all for reading and for those of you who prayed for us last week - blessings on you!