Well, here we are. We’re back from the Atitlan region in Guatemala City and I am sitting downstairs on the couch, trying to find some way to sum up our trip into a nice little package for you. I feel blessed and thankful that so very little went “wrong” on this trip and so much went “right.”
Yesterday was a travel day. We got up in the morning and enjoyed breakfast together and headed out on a boat trip on Lake Atitlan before we boarded a bus for the 4 hour trip back to Guatemala City. The lake and the mountains were beautiful. The weather was perfect. We all stand much more amazed of God’s creation than we did before we came. I understand a little bit better now what the Father means when he says that “even the rocks cry out” to him. They truly do. He will have the glory due his name.
You know the team unity that we’ve been having you pray for? God has been faithful in answering as we felt he would be. I firmly believe that I can speak for the whole of the team in saying that each of us feels a special bond in Christ towards the other. It really is pretty astounding to me what little bickering went on between our team. I think at some point during our trip I heard every one of our members mention how well we “gel” together. That in and of itself is a success. The Lord has called us to love one another and to fight that fight well is a product of your faithful prayers. Thank you :-)
I just want to take a moment and share a passage that has been on my heart during this trip; actually it has been on my heart for quite some time.
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters, and you who have no money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”
He has invited each of us to a feast, not one of abounding food, but of things much greater. He has invited us to have delight in our souls, delight that comes from Him, our Father. I believe that God had a specific place in His heart for the Guatemalan people when he breathed these words through His prophet Isaiah. He knows that many people who read this are thirsty. They have no money, their feet are cracked, and their bodies are tired. Their bodies are tired from the hard labor they do to scrape up barely enough money to provide for their families. And yet God has promised them that they will not be hungry or thirsty, that he will provide for them in an even better way and that perhaps they have the opportunity to know a great God better because the wool of materialism hasn’t been pulled over their beautiful eyes. Their eyes will see God, because his promise to them is faithful. Their hearts will know Him because He has shown them much, much love. Honestly, I have never felt more sure than I do right now that God will redeem the lives of those who suffer injustice, that He really does have a plan to prosper them and not to harm them. I believe that His will will be accomplished whether or not my team or I is obedient to it. However, it is my joy and prayer that we would be involved because we are a chosen people who God intends and desires to use. If you are reading this blog, you have been used by Him for a great purpose. Please don’t think you have only done something small and take my word that I have seen from the faces of the people we have been able to serve that what you have done is incredibly big.
Further in the passage it is says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and to not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread to the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
It really does not get much more beautiful than this. I have been learning, on this trip, and in the past year that God does not allow anything to happen without being filtered through His heart of love. Not only that, He uses everything that happens to His people for good. The rain and the snow…the good things and the bad things that have happened to these people, He has promised that He will not allow any of these to fall to the ground without serving to the water the ground, his people, and make making them flourish.
I have much more to say but let me just tell you one more thing for now. I want you to know how beautiful the people that you have supported to go on this trip are. I assume that you know this because you have chosen to give in order that they may go. I encourage you to delve even deeper into their lives. You will see Christ in each one of them; I have.
P.S…. Our last morning started with a guys team ambush of our fearless leader, Juandi. However much to our disappointment, he screamed like a girl repeatedly shouting “Seriously, guys. Seriously.” But the baby powder mixed with his daily use of Secret deodorant (yes that Secret, “tough enough for a man, but made for a woman”) left him smelling fresh by the time it was all done. :-)