: Update Ten :

About maybe 3 weeks ago? (honestly can’t keep track of time!) I had to go get my visa renewed. Quite an experience! But what. I have 2 months left in this beautiful Country that has become my home. These beautiful people who have become part of my life, and I don’t ever want that to change. This culture that I’ve grown into. It’s all so become a part of my life and it’s a part of my life I don’t want to end. I’m not ready to go home to the culture in America. Granted I miss my family and friends a lot! ❤ But like my friend keeps reminding me, you still have 2 months. Take it day by day and focus on what’s in front of you! (thank you for always reminding me!!);)

(And I may have honestly thought about making this my more permanent home a few times…ok, more than a few.)

 

We honestly don’t know how long someone will be in our lives until they move on in their own life. It’s hard to let people go. Let them go live. But what little time they were in our lives, how did we invest in them? Pray over their tiny little life that’s just starting?!

I honestly miss holding this chubby little hand. Miss his hair that stood straight up after it dried from his bath. Miss his cuddles and watching him look around the world around him. Miss watching him light up and smile really big.

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So I have started helping in the school 2 mornings a week, and have absolutely loved it. 1) getting to know more of the kids and 2) I love watching them learn and grow. Teaching them new things or just helping with what they are working on in school right then. It’s also given me an opportunity to grow in my Spanish providing I hear less than 10 English words in that time of being in the school! But it’s been good, and if/when they speak slow enough, I can understand most of what they are saying!!

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I’ve been going through a lot of training lately. Just in everyday life. How you react to situations, am I going to act like my age and take responsibility? Honestly some days I don’t really want to be an adult. Overcoming so many fears, becoming more confident.

In my recent bible reading, Luke 9:23-24

“23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”

Letting go of my own interest and pouring into others interests. Into the interest of this little kid who wants to play with one toy for what seems to be a really long time to me. But it’s a way of investing in their lives.

Daily taking up my cross and following Him in what He has planned for me. EVEN when it doesn’t make any ounce of sense to our human brains. It’s perfect in His plans and it’s all working for the greater good.

 

 

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For Samana Santa (Holy week) us staff get time off  (we all take turns in two groups.) and combined with my weekend off, I had 4 days to just chill or go out and do something.  So I took a little road trip with 4 friends to Quetzaltenango (Xela). About 4-5 hours through vallies, little villages, mountains, and pretty much the whole way was curves. But it was worth it. So beautiful. And can I just say I love being surprised by Guatemala’s way of doing things. Like their hotels! Not at all what I expected but it was actually really cool/funny to see how they do it. (or the way they tie their cows by the road to graze!)

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So, so many gardens. It’s like one huge quilt laid out over the mountains.

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My one friend Vivian and I were partners in the water park we visited (my first ever water park!) And the slides I thought I wouldn’t like ended up being my favorite;)

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And all of the slides had their own names, but we renamed them all to what we thought it reminded us of.

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Day 2 of our vaca we visited Fuentes Georginas, the hot springs which was amazing! I’ve never been to hot springs before in my life and this was a good first time! But man, once you’ve been in such warm water and get out, the air is freezing!

 

 

This is Guatemala. You could get places quickly or be stuck in traffic for a really long time.

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One of my favorites is coffee with sweetbread. The sweet bread is hard and crunchy, kind of like a cookie, But when you dip it in your coffee, it’s amazing! (This ‘cookie’ has a name, but I don’t know what it is. It’s just good food lol!)

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Something I’ve been thinking over on the trip,

Psalm 18:6,

“in my distress I cried out to the Lord, yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary, my cry to Him reached His ears.”

Jesus, King of kings, being praised by thousands of angels and thousands that have gone before us, being praised and lifted high by His creation, but in the midst of being Mighty, Majestic, High above it all, He hears my simple little plea for help. What seems big to us is really just a speck to Him, but he doesn’t shove us away because our problem is so tiny to Him, no. He takes the time to listen to us. To hear us out and help us in the midst of it. What concerns us concerns him.

How awesome is He? How compassionate and merciful!?

God is so overwhelmingly good. So faithful to us. Always right there with something encouraging when we are down. I’m so thankful for the God I serve.

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“Que todo lo que soy alabe al Señor;
    con todo el corazón alabaré su santo nombre.”

 

: Update Nine :

Thanks to tonight being Sunday night, I’ve finally gotten this post together. Every Sunday night I have night shift. And I get about as much sleep as anyone does with 10 kids, 2 being babies that need bottles throughout the night. So, they all are asleep (for now!) and I get to sit down to eat and write while there’s no distraction!!!  I have so much more respect for moms across the globe! You all are so so amazing, and truly superwomen!!

Change. one word that sums up a lot of my life these past two months. Good change. Being stripped of self and control. There’s a lot I can’t control. How am I going to handle it?

Growing. the second word that sums up these past two months! Growing in my pursuit of God, in speaking and understanding Spanish. Patience. Loving when you don’t want to. Doing when you don’t want to.

So I got to meet a friend of my mamma’s and her family. It was such a nice refreshing day being able to hang out with them and get to know each of them. They are such a cool and sweet family, and I loved watching them work and interact with each other in such a loving way. And might I add, this wasn’t only the first zoo in Guatemala I’ve been to, but also the first zoo in my life!! lol. It was a fun experience.

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Besides the food ( 😉 ) getting to feed the giraffe was probably one of the highlights of the day. You pay 10 Q (like a little over a dollar) and you go up on this platform with a handful of food and feed it. Totally worth that 10 Q!! I joked I found a friend that was as tall as me…ok. Maybe a little taller.

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Church here is amazing. Yeah, I don’t understand all the words. One time I told my friend “I tried to understand the sermon. and do you know the one word I caught and remembered?….eyes.” ; ) haha! But I can understand the music better. And worship is worshipFULL. And it’s so filling. So thankful for it.

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On my weekend or day’s off, some friends have let me come and hang out/crash at their house. So last Saturday, he was going to the fresh market on the (what American’s call chicken bus) and it’s been 3 years since I’ve been on one of them. So I got to go along. You get on the bus and hang on to the bar running down the middle of the ceiling because as soon as your on, he’s going to hit the gas. And then quickly hit the break so he can stop to pick more people up. And when your getting off, you have to be so quick. Because you start to get off and he starts going. So like 4 guys whistle up to him which means “stop. wait” and you scramble off before he drives off!

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I love the market. Seeing all the people, how they work and the culture. Seeing all the produce or meats. Anything and everything. But something that has happened several times is “you need to meet my son! He’s tall and handsome. Do you like Guatemala? Do you have a boyfriend?” And I stand there and laugh because that’s what the last 5 guys have said!!

Or walking down the street and people are just watching you. I’m thinking, “what are they looking at? oh wait. I’m tall…and white.”

While I was waiting for my friend to buy something, and I’m looking around at the sea of people that are mostly shorter than me, and way down the aisle, I see someone else that’s tall. And we both look at each other like….”hey. your tall!”

 

Staying with my friends, they gave me chop sticks to eat with over the weekend, and I got so used to them that when I went back to using a fork, I kind of poked my food with it and thought “how on earth does this thing work?” Honestly, chopsticks are easier.

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These three…they know a bit of English, and I know a tiny bit of Spanish. So it’s learning for all of us! I think we do more laughing at eachother tho haha!

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At 11, we have a snack. and it can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes. So then you have 1 1/2 hours until lunch time. One time I had 4 of the kids in my care, so I took them all and we sat in one of those little play houses. It was squishy, but fun. And we stayed like that for a good hour ^_^

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This past Saturday, I had some help from 7:30-8. But then they needed to leave. So it was me, and 10 kiddos. The lady that cleans the house was so kind to help me a little bit. But I had them outside playing, and I was inside taking care of the two babies. And I came out to this. They had taken the stuffing out of a cushion and scattered it everywhere.

I stood there and laughed. How can they be so quick?!

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Hammock time is the bomb.com. These last few days have been pretty cold though. Around 71 but super windy.

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One thing I really miss is being able to walk into my kitchen at any given moment and bake/create something that involves food. My friend (and awesome Spanish teacher!) was helping make banana bread for the orphanage, and I got to help. She weaved my Spanish lesson into the experience!

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Ok, another one of my favorite things…being in the mountains, and it gets super foggy and the clouds/fog run through this place. Or going out and just looking up at the stars.

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Update Eight-Antigua

Yay, an everyday post! Yesterday I had the day off, and went to Antigua with several other people.

I love going to Antigua, seeing the volcanoes, valleys, the city and all the artistic-ness that is expressed all over the city. But also being in traffic, seeing people go about their day to day lives and watching the culture.

And getting to go shopping in the market, and when you go back and you and the shop keeper remember each other and have a cool conversation.

This is such a cool look out to the volcano ‘Agua’. (and for your info, after that wall, it doesn’t just drop down lol)

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For breakfast we took a shuttle up the mountain to El Tenedor, which is a restaurant up in the mountains, and we got to eat outside with this view.

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The food here is so good. There will be random times when I miss the food I used to eat in America. But it’s pretty rare.

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And one of my favorite parts! They make you an omelet to how you like it right there in front of you. I was so excited to have cebolla, queso blanco, tomate Y jamon on mine! (onion, white cheese(mozz.) tomato and ham.) Drizzled with cream. Think Creme fresh only 100 times better!

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Another view from the restaurant. And it wasn’t just a restaurant, but these huge gardens and so much art weaved into it. It was so refreshing to just walk around with no real agenda, and enjoy nature and fresh air! It’s a lot of diesel smell and fumes in the city.

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Jill is such an amazing person and friend. She pours out so much into so many lives in such a loving and fresh way! Love her so much!

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Part of the group of sweet people!

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A small part of the market.

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You walk by and they ask what your looking for and if you even start to look at something, they get it out and all the other colors they have, or they put it on you to see how you like it haha!

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Then they took us to see the mimo. That was fun to see.

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And at McDonalds, I found a friend! lol

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Going back home. (well, my second home!) It was so special to get to see the sunset. It’s one of my favorite things to watch but I usually am inside when it sets, and being in the mountains with a bunch of trees makes it hard to see it.

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And seeing this, Psalms 1oo:5 comes to mind…

Porque Jehová es bueno: para siempre es su misericordia, Y su verdad por todas las generaciones.

Because the Eternal is good,
    His loyal love and mercy will never end,
    and His truth will last throughout all generations.

Update Seven

All things work together for good. He will never fail or abandon us. He has our best interests in mind and what we are in need of. Even if we don’t know what we are in need of.

He knew what He was doing when he had my path cross the path of a team that was down here for three weeks. We really became family in the two weeks we were together, and I feel like I’ve known them a whole lot longer than just two short weeks. But also it was a good time of laughter, encouragement, lifting each other up or working side by side, praying for each other, pizza parties. The late night card games when everyone is tired and in a goofy mood, or the time I hung out with them while they painted. Some may have gotten on our faces!

Super thankful for each of these people.

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Recently I moved from the main building down the hill/mountain (call it what you want!) to the baby house. Casa de los Angelitos. And it’s been good to be able to be more apart of the family, but it’s also been an adjustment.

And I was recently in a major down swing. In a valley. Kind of wanted to crawl in a hole and not come out.

But something I realized was that, I’ve been focusing on the whole future and not the day in front of me. I was too focused on the next 5 months, how am I going to do ____? What am I going to do when I get home?

There’s a very specific reason God told us not to worry about the future! We get overwhelmed. Depressed. Our tiny human minds can’t process that much future at once!

And so I’m learning to take the day in front of me, and make the most out of it. How can I best love these kids today? What does God have in store for today? And then finding the tiny little beautiful things He places in it for us to find and take joy in! Like little treasures along our path.

Like when you and two of the little boys get in a goofy “chase me and laugh a lot” kind of thing. Tickling and just having fun.

Or walking one of them to school. Seeing the sun rise and breathing in the fresh morning air.

Or tiny little human laughs, hugs and kisses!

There is so much in one day to find beautiful if you let yourself. So much packed into that space of time that you can be thankful for. Opportunities in that day to pray and just talk to God!

We can’t be full of Him if we aren’t empty of ourselves. Give Him those disappointments, fears, struggles. He want’s to take them for us! And just fill up on His goodness.

Through it all, my eyes are on you, and it is well with my soul.

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We went on a walk last week to come and see this view. And the picture just doesn’t do it justice. In those clouds is a huge volcano. and it really makes you stop and think. We aren’t as big and mighty as we like to think sometimes. It puts life back into perspective.

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So on a more day to day “what’s it like”, the weather has been anywhere from 70-79 in the day and 49-52 during the night. I’m starting to get brown (they laugh at me when I say that lol!) and walking at lease 300 stairs a day, depending on how often you go back and fourth makes you lose weight.

Favorite foods- arroz con leche. It’s a warm milk with cooked rice in it. amazing! Refried beans. and of course…the coffee!

And you know you always see those “tall people problems” everywhere. The shower head is at my neck. Yup. Tall people problems haha! And when I see another tall person…I get really excited! (I need to get out more.)

I’m learning more Spanish, little phrases, but it’s still slow. But it feels so amazing when you can understand someone in Spanish. Like wow. My brain can do that?! Little steps.

Also recently got to sit down and facetime my family. It was super good to see them, but man it made me miss them so much! Seeing home and not being able to  go there is such a weird feeling. Love them so!

I am so thankful for this life. Even if I don’t understand it sometimes, it’s such a privilege to be able to be here, and love these kids, even if I feel like I’m changing a diaper every time I turn around! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Update Six

I’ve been here what, not even a week? I flew down on Monday and got here really early Tuesday morning, and ever since then I literally haven’t known what day it is.

And I’ve already got a lot to say. But I’ll start with traveling.

It was so super sad to say goodbye to my family, usually I’m traveling with my flock lol! Not by myself. So I couldn’t just follow them. I had to look out for my gate, see where  to go, ask for directions.

Waiting at Indy at my gate, and got to talking to a family who was waiting too, and they told me they would be praying for me. Total strangers. But it meant a lot.

But once  I got to Atlanta, it was absolutely crazy because our flight was delayed a tad, so everyone is rushing etc.

I had to take a train to my next gate, and met a girl who was going to the gate next to mine. So I asked if I could just kinda follow her because this was my first time in the airport. She agreed and even asked if I wanted her to take me all the way to my gate, and two other girls overheard and were like “oh, we are going to E. So she can come with us!”

Literally a life saver. Because I would’ve been lost without them.

My flight from Atlanta to Guatemala was delayed quite a bit.  And so I just sat down and cried. My friend Allison facetimed me and I told her “I don’t even know why i’m crying!” emotions  I guess! lol. And met a group of missionaries who were headed there (Guatemala)  too.

It is one of the coolest things to be able to just talk about Jesus with random strangers!

On the plane, the lady next to me asked if I would trade seats with her husband because they had two little kids.

At first, I was a little disappointed because I’d be in a middle seat. Not next to the window. But quite thankful I did trade, because I was able to meet another missionary and a Guatemalan guy. That was really cool to be able to talk to him about Guatemala or what he liked in the states or just family! 🙂

But then once we got to the airport, he helped me through the airport and getting my stuff. It’s nice to have a Guatemalan help you through the Guatemalan airport 😉  He asked if I was nervous, and honestly, I wasn’t. The entire trip I wasn’t nervous at all. And when I got here, I was just so happy to be home. It really and truly feels like home!

But I’m just super super thankful for those people God put in my path, and that was just with traveling! I’ve gotten to meet so many other cool people that are here too.

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Only part of my walk everyday. 110 stairs.

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And the days can be so hard. It taxes you if you don’t fill up on the right stuff. And I wasn’t filling up on Jesus the first few days, and I finally took the time to just sit down, and it was so. much. better. Joshua 1:9 keeps coming up in random places.

“This is my command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go.”

Or Isaiah 40:31 has a whole new meaning to it.

“But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles. They will run-never winded, never weary. They will walk-never tired, never faint”

And when the time gets tough, like when the kids are either asking you to play “caballo” again for the 10th time or your scrubbing poop from pants, or when almost every kids is crying/yelling, I remember Acceptance with joy. Accepting where God has put me, even when I don’t understand a lot of it, and serving Him with the joy in my heart that only He can give me. I’m empty and worthless without Him.

And I have gone to my room and just cried. But. It has had its really good days! Days when you all are in a silly playful mood and there’s so much laughter, or when you put the kids to bed and they all give you a kiss. Right before you head out the door, you hear about 3 or 4 more “uno mas! Uno mas!” (one more, one more!)

God is good. All the time!

Thank you all so much for praying for me, for this trip. It has been absolutely so humbling to see and hear of just how  many people are praying for me. I’m honored. And so thankful!

 

Update Five

Overwhelmed in two ways.

One, that I’m leaving in 10 days, and I have no idea how to start packing for 5 1/2 months.

And two, thinking back to everything God has done for this trip. He has blessed me over and over in so many ways. Provided for every last thing that I need, plus more, and I can’t even begin to count them all.

I told God this morning that I wasn’t sure I could handle being blessed so many times.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for these blessings! Because I wouldn’t be here without him. Its just that in the midst of me being human, He chooses to bless us, even when we mess up. Or keep messing up.

He calls us higher to who He sees us as. He doesn’t see us as we are in our sinfulness, rather, how He has created us to be. What we are becoming in Him. Blooming and blossoming in His rich love and tender care.

And that, is so beautiful!

And that He places such special callings on each of us. Whether we feel worthy or not. He trusts us with it. He believes in us, and cheers us on!!

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Update Four-Four Things

I purchased my tickets about a week and a half ago! Making it all the more real. ( and yes, I may have screamed because you can’t keep that much excitement in ; )

32 days away.

Lately stress has been right beside me a lot. And to be honest, I don’t even know what about anymore.

Am I going to spend the last 32 days with my family in fear and worry, or in joy and peace?

Last night I sat down and wrote out four things God has been teaching me over this past year. More specifically the second half of the year. Because it’s so good to be reminded of His goodness. And it replaces stress with peace.

1.) To trust. To trust He has my wants and desires in mind, that He knows exactly what I need. Even more so than I do.

Luke 12:24-26

“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

2.) That He loves to bless us. Especially in times when we least expect it. He loves to see our hearts just so overflowing with joy and thankfulness to Him!

3.)He wants me to talk to Him about it. Just like I would to my best friend. He wants to know what’s on my heart. Over and over, things happen, and it grows big until someone reminds me “hey, have you talked to God about it?”

It’s so incredible that we can talk things out with the creator of the universe? Woah.

Thank you so much, Father!

and 4.) Things may not turn out quite how you’ve imagined it. Or how you would have liked it to, but to have an open heart before the Lord and go “God, I really don’t understand. But I trust this will work out for the good!”

He. is. faithful. Overwhelmingly, graciously and beautifully faithful!!

And it refreshes our souls.

No matter what, God is, and always will be good.

 

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Psalms 28:7

“…When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help!”