They say home is where the heart is. The longer I am away from home and everything that I am sure of, the less I agree with the idea behind this saying. I suppose it is supposed to mean where your heart is, that is your physical heart, but I am more convinced every day that my heart is where it has always been, at home with my family. My heart of hearts is at home where even when things are terrible, they are wonderful. Where when things are tough, they are enjoyable. Where Jeopardy and The Today Show are comfortable. This is where my heart of hearts is. With my people. With those that understand little things like daily courtesies and why we say things like “I’m fixin’ to go to the store.” This is where I will always fit in. Where I will always know the cultural norms and daily ins and outs of everyday life. If living abroad has taught me anything thus far it is not that God has called me to move my heart, but rather I feel as though he is growing another. Almost as if instead of the Grinch growing a bigger heart, I have grown a completely separate heart. A heart unsure of most everything in life, but open and accepting of a the existence of this second heart.
My new heart is here. Breaking for these that surround me every day with their rosaries and mass. Their statues and ritualistic prayers. Their parades and festivals worshipping a Jesus they haven’t fully known. Yes, they know the answers to all of my questions. They know the Easter story better than I do. But have they sat at the feet of my Jesus and talked with him? Have they encountered the God of David whom he spoke of in the 73rd Psalm when he said, “Nevertheless I am continually with you; You have taken hold of my right hand. With your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in Heaven but you? And besides you, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Have they met this God. This guide. This leader. This friend. This stronghold. The provider. The one to be desired, not ritualized. To be comforted by not worked for. The best friend, not unreachable idol. Have they heard of this God.
My new heart has even received a new language. My new language brings challenges daily. Even in simple things like “Did I just say I will wash my clothes yesterday? Or I lost my shoes while swimming in a quilt instead of cave? Will the hotel have lawyers, not pillows?” You have to laugh the mistakes away and learn from them. But more than that, how do you begin to comprehend the challenge of introducing God Almighty in a language you can barely use? I feel more and more every day like Moses when he spoke to God about difficulties that I am relating to more than I ever thought possible. Until now my southern accent has been my closest relation to this conversation. Ha! The conversation goes like this in Exodus 4, “Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please Lord I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in the past, nor since you have spoken to your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, The Lord? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to say.”” – Could I be so bold to trust the one who made my mouth, who has ordained my path, and has given the land into my hands, as in the time of Joshua? Could I trust that I would be leading them to the rock that is higher than I?
On a side note: I have less than 40 days left here in Guatemala. I am still in the middle of processing my visa for Colombia and will hopefully be meeting with the Colombian consulate within the next week or so. My family is coming to visit this weekend and I am more excited than you could know to see them. I got a kitten since I last blogged. Her name is Misha which means kitten in my indigenous language here in my village. I will not be taking her to Colombia with me, but she brings small joys to my life every day. It’s amazing to me what a blessing a pet can be when you are away from home. I have been sick a few times since my surgery, but have been able to battle them off with antibiotics successfully. I am still always concerned about sickness here, but I am learning to be more than thankful for every healthy day that I am given. I have changed teachers because we are required to change every four weeks. It took me more than a week to get used to this teacher. I was pretty miserable for a good week, but we are beginning to get along better and my Spanish seems to be coming along pretty well, with daily comical mistakes. We have traveled a bit within Guatemala and hope to travel and bit more before our time here is done. Guatemala is a beautiful place and I could be here for a year and I think eventually see all of the things that I would like to see here. My family and I are really feeling more and more like a family every day. I cannot believe I am going to have to leave them in a just a few weeks! As excited as I am to finally reach Colombia after all of this time, I will be equally sad to say goodbye to my family here. I have become quite a hoarder of the movies they sell at the market and today even sat down and watched the Hannah Montana movie which was very entertaining. I also purchased a Colombian-made movie that was completely in Spanish, but had English subtitles and I caught myself preferring to listen rather than read the English and I was very excited! That has to be a good sign, right? It seems like every time I check facebook, which is not very often at all, people are having babies, getting engaged, starting school, moving to college, getting married, graduating, and on and on. As much as I would like it to stop, it seems as though life is going on without me in the states, and quite successfully it seems. Life is certainly moving along here in Guatemala. My tan difference in my arms and my legs is growing more distinct every day as my arms are receiving more and more sun and my legs and still quite pasty with it being more culturally accepted to have everything above the ankle covered here. I’ll definitely be working on that in Colombia. Haha! Other than that, there’s not much to say.
God is good. All the Time.
1. Language learning
2. Continued Health concerns
3. Ortunities to share with my current teacher the truth of the cross.
4. That God would continue to prepare hearts and friends there for me in Colombia.
5. That God would strengthen my team in Colombia.
6. That God would bless my future roommates in Colombia, Heather and Kendall.
7. That God’s provision would be over my visa process and that I would receive my visa quickly and easily.
8. That God would make my transition to leave Guatemala a great and happy time despite crazy mixed emotions.
9. That God would bless my time spent with my real family as they come to visit me here and that it would be a time completely filled with joy despite having to say goodbye at the end of their trip.
10. That God would continue to be with all of my friends from Orientation who are around the world serving Him.