We’ve been back for a full week now. Home from Guatemala. I texted my friend yesterday, who was also our “team leader” and jokingly asked if there was any post mission trip counseling programs….only partially joking, and she knew that.
I knew I couldn’t forsee what to expect when we returned home. Maybe every mission trip will get easier to return from? I hope not. I am changed forever, and I wouldn’t want it any different. Yesterday 8 of our team members spoke at church about our trip, experiance, emotions. I was one of them. My talk wasn’t eloquent, it wasn’t “flowing”, and it was harder than I imagined. I had to stop my “story” and move on to a different subject many times, because I knew I just couldn’t get through it. It was the best week of my life, and I can’t quite figure out how in the world you share that. Part of me felt selfish, because I almost didn’t want to share it. I felt like it would be so hard to understand, and I didn’t want to feel like I was just “summing up” a trip that could never be summed up. I didn’t want to talk about it like it was just a week of my life. I wanted every single person in that room to feel what I feel in my heart, and how can I even begin to help in that? I just want them to all go. To all have their own “experience”~to have them all know why the 8 of us had such a hard time up there. We weren’t 18 people who are now part of the “Mission trip club”. But we are 18 people who shared a week that can never be explained.
This is what I wanted to share yesterday, but I knew I couldn’t get through it~
I didn’t want to come back. I wanted to just tell God that I wanted Him to call me here, and have our kids just get on a plane and be there with us. I love my parents, my siblings, my neices and nephews, my church family, my friends, our town, our school, but I still didn’t want to come back. I desperately just wanted to stay. I wanted the new flow to my life to be in Guatemala.
We would sing with the kids each day. They would sit in our laps, lean against us, put their arms around us. One little girl, “E” would always hold on to me and rub the dry flappy skin on my elbow, or just rub her thumb in a circle on my neck. I don’t even think she knew she was doing it. Had this been something she did with her mom, her grandma, her auntie, her sister? I want to know that part of her life, but I don’t. She had the biggest smile. I wanted to know what brought her here, what pain had she gone through in her life that I could never imagine? But there was not mistaking her complete joy. The love she felt here in this “orphanage”. She laughed from her belly, not an uneasy laugh, but a whole laugh. A laugh that reminded me of my own kids when they laugh like that. A laugh I didn’t want to leave.
One little girl stole my heart and I wanted the week to stand still. I wanted to yell “STOP” to the world, so that I could somehow extend this week, this “mission trip”. We sponsor two kids at this home, and “A” is one of them. She started out the week with a worried face, a face that I thought would stay worried. I wondered at first if it was good that she knew we were her “sponsors”~if it was just too hard to process for her. If it would be too hard for her to see us leave. By the end of the first day, her worried face was gone. She smiled so much, that I swear, it changed the whole shape of her face. We searched eachother out each day, and she wasn’t always to keen on “sharing” my attention with the other kids, but she did, because she has a huge heart. I have no idea what brought her there. She has a brother living there too, which is so comforting. She would lead me around the property showing me her home. The sheep, the goats, the gardens, the soccer field. Sometimes she would just stare into the mountains around her. What are you thinking little girl? Are you wondering about your Mom, your Dad, your grandparents, other siblings? I wanted to rescue her, but she had already been rescued~and she will still always dream of her mother, her father~no matter what her memories are of them, she is a 9 year old girl who is safe and loved but still stares into the hills around her silently. I wanted to stay with her.
We drove into the orphanage seeing projects, work to be done, overwhelming needs…..we drove away the last day feeling like it was the most beautiful place on earth. A change that is unexplainable because we only completetd 1% of the work that needs to be done there. God transformed by idea of beauty, of what makes a place a home. There is such extreme poverty surrounding the orphanage. So much need that it’s overwhelming. I would love to think that if I would win a massive lottery that I could transform every single orphanage in Guatemala. But money thrown at them won’t do it. Corruption in so many of the orphanages around the world is heart breaking. I felt so burdened by this at the beginning of the week. “God, what can we do in one week that can even begin to help?” I know people wonder where God is sometimes in life, in the poverty, in the horrific conditions. I believe in God with every fiber of my being, but I still ask this of Him. Where are You in this God? And He shows me. This world will never be paradise. Evil crept in long ago, and it still works and grows and festers and loves to see fear in the eyes of His creation. This world seems so big and so impossible sometimes, but I have had glimpses of the hope and healing from evil. And the love, hope and healing is always bigger than the evil. He calls us to be His light, and to pour out His living water. I am filled with His love, and even when I am at the end of myself and I don’t have anything of myself to pour out, I am reminded that His well is unending. Pour His Living water out of me….His love.
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
I am not called to have stayed there, in Guatemala, quite yet. (I say that because I am still human, and I still like to remind God that I want to be called there:). I am called to Be still and know that He is God. To go when He does call, and to go other places when He calls me elsewhere. To focus on what and who I love instead of bashing what I don’t agree with.
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