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#FHBloggers Guatemala Day 1 - A Courageous People

The team has arrived in Guatemala. IMG_6714

What a beautiful country.  The terrain is absolutely breathtaking and the people here are beautiful.

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Today is our first day of being on the ground in a community that Food for the Hungry supports.  I’m eager, to say the least, to see and hear the people of this beautiful country.  To hear how Food for the Hungry has helped their family with food and wellness.

Last night the team went to dinner with one of our guides, Amelia.  I loved hearing her story of how Food for the Hungry helped her as a child and how special those letters meant to her each time she received one from her sponsor.  She also shared with us about the needs here in this northern region.  65% of children under 5 are susceptible to chronic malnutrition.  She explained that chronic malnutrition is a result of the lack of protein a child has available.  Fruits and vegetables are grown in their communities but the lack of chicken, beef, and other meats has this region increasing rapidly with malnutrition.

This is where Food for the Hungry comes in.  I’ll discuss more about it throughout the week as the organization educates us and begins showing us the results of Food for the Hungry’s impact.

Personally, I can’t wait to see these communities.  To share the love of Christ with them and to be His hands and feet to these courageous people. Because that is what my eyes saw today, a courageous people.

God's Definition

Wow…6 days! 6 days and I will be in Guatemala.

This weekend I purchased the last of my supplies.

Bug Spray…check.

Long Pants…check.

Passport…check.

One thing I wish I could say I was taking with me is the Spanish language. This “poor Mexican”, what my husband calls me, wishes I soaked up every word my great-grandparents and grandparents spoke.  We’ve been watching some Telenovelas (Spanish soap operas) to help me recognize the words again but as always I’ll understand better than speak the language.

All kidding aside, to say I’m excited is an understatement.  The last few days and the rest of this week I’ve been preparing my heart, asking God His definition of contentment. Asking Him what his definition of loving others looks like.

One of our Team Leaders with Food for the Hungry wrote this beautiful post.  Seeing the images like these that she posted of her last trip showed the realness of some of the communities we will be going into.

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I am humbled to be a part of this journey with some rock star bloggers such as Raechel Meyers, Darrell and Allison Vesterfelt, and Sarah Matheny.  Follow our trip as we discuss our travels, the work that Food for the Hungry does and opportunities how you can get involved.

Until next time. (Hasta manana!)

Balancing the Spiritual and Material

When is having so much “stuff” enough and when is allowing those around us justify them to be ok with less. It is a delicate balance.

Ken Wytsma in Pursuing Justice says,

[quote style="boxed"]Rather than being in competition, as with the teeter-totter analogy, the spiritual and material aspects of life can be pictured as the two sides of a train track – meant to be inextricably connected to one purpose.[/quote]

I love this analogy.  To think of a teeter-totter with Spiritual on one side and Material on the other, each side going up and down.  Never balancing each other out.  It’s kind of how some of us live today.  When we have more than enough, we still want more.  We can give and give, but never really fill the pinch of what it’s like to give when you feel like your pocketbook is saying no. With some of us not giving to those in need so that we can continue to have more.

The status quo.

But instead Ken talks about how we should be like a set of train tracks.  Running side by side, parallel from each other.  With both Spiritual and Material going in the same direction.  Arriving at the finish line – together.

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My prayer as I begin to set my feet on Guatemala is that I would be an extension of John 15 and become the branches as a follower of Jesus.  That just as parallel as that train track and just as I am connected to the Vine that I can be fully engulfed in seeing this earth (material) as how God (Spiritual) sees it.  Our desires to have success, have stature, or chasing the almighty dollar will not heal the land (2 Chronicles 7:14). It may help but humbleness can be hard for some to obtain.

Seeing the World Through His Eyes

[quote style="boxed"]Wherever we find ourselves, we can make a difference – Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma[/quote]

In 13 days I will be on a plane from Nashville to Guatemala.  Nerves are kicking in.  Praying for safe travels there and back as I leave my family for 5 days.

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One thing I know is that this experience is exactly what God has planned for me.  To see the world through His eyes.  I don’t know the needs of those we will be meeting or the children that we will meet but I know they each need to be loved and given justice to those that are suffering.

Psalm 146:6-9 says,

He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

Ken Wytsma says, “People are hungry for justice”. So is God.  It’s evident in His Word as Jesus was concerned for the poor. It was also given with His death and resurrection. It is time to not be blind to the issues around us whether foreign or domestic.  We are to be the hands and feet of the One that we are not worthy to stoop down and untie. (Mark 1:7)

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I am excited to be on this journey with these guys.  I’m sure each of us is wondering what experiences God has for us when we arrive in Guatemala.  The stories we will tell.  Follow us on this journey as we begin to prepare our hearts and our minds to all that God has for us and those that we will meet.

Until next time…

Legacy in Motion

This came in the mail yesterday.

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To say I am excited is an understatement. More like ecstatic.  To be traveling and doing mission work again for these five days in August leaves me speechless in what God is doing. I love that I will be with a non-profit called Food for the Hungry and doing this.

In April I wrote “I said Yes”.  These words still hold true for me:

[quote style="boxed"]

In 2012, I threw up my hands and said no more.  If I am to do anything for you, then God you are going to have to open up the doors.  I am just a vessel that is yours to use for however you see fit.

In 2013, I couldn’t be more at peace with who I am.  I am so raw. The core of who I am sees herself in a mirror and only sees her as God sees her.  Hands lifted, eyes looking up with a smile on my face as I quietly just listen.  It’s funny how you teach it to others for so long and realize that over time you may lose yourself in the message.  You forget that we have to be a continuous work in progress.  Seasons may change, but God never does.

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Little did I know my father would pass away after I wrote this.  Yes, my season has changed. But can I just tell you I have more purpose, more exuberance, more focus going to Guatemala.  You see my dad loved mission work.  He started early with the Indian Reservations, building homes and churches, feeding and serving.  Then in his 40’s and 50’s it was Costa Rica.  He loved it there.  The stories he would share with us were amazing. He did it with such a focus, such a drive, to see people fall in love with Jesus.  A very dear friend of his, that was a Pastor in Costa Rica at the time, Blake Andrews, conducted his Celebration service and honored him so lovingly. One of the things Blake said about my father was how much of a giver my father was.  He told the story of how my dad and him were playing golf one day and as they finished the day and went back to the car, my father gave him some money and said, “God told me that you gave all the money you had to the church last night and that He wanted me to give you this.” It was double the amount that Blake gave! I love this Godly heritage my father left me, my siblings and our future generations.

When I was 12 years old, my grandparents took me to Magdalena, Mexico to an orphanage for a week.  Wow…what an incredible seed that was planted in my life.  That trip stirred my spirit to see the hope for the orphan.  To see peace for the hurting.

So you see my grandparents, who are happily living in Arizona, are excited for me.  Yet, with reservation that I’m leaving my family for five days. They planted a seed in me early in my adolescence.  But, my father put the legacy in motion.  This trip, this gift that was laid on my lap, will be to honor him.  Honor his work, his focus, his drive to see those in need to be the hands and feet of Jesus for them. To smile big and laugh outrageously in Guatemala would be exactly what he would want me to do while I’m there.

25 days…