Friday, June 24, 2011

Maybe my life just changed....

I can't seem to get Guatemala off my mind.  

Fireflies dance and blur my vision as I sit on the back patio, thinking.  Just thinking. 

You hear the cliche, "It was life changing" phrase a lot.  And you wonder how much of that is true.  You ask them, "Really?  Wow!  What made it so great!?"  And oftentimes, they give you a shody, cop out answer.

I felt a lot of emotions when I got home last Friday from Patanatic, Guatemala.  I stepped off the Boeing 737 into the heat of the Houston terminal.  The shock of the heat was paralyzing to the lungs.  I was used to 60's and chilly mountain weather.  Not humidity that made my lungs want to die.  We made our way to the baggage claim so that we could hurry through security and customs in order to wait four hours for our connecting flight from Houston to Kansas City.

I had no idea Guatemala would effect me like this.  I had no idea those people would get a hold of my heart the way they did.  I had no idea those children's smiles would be engraved in my memory.  I had no idea that my bracelet would remind me to pray for them every time I look at it.

A couple of things really struck me in the airport.  1. You could flush your toilet paper.  You might have just chuckled.  But I'm serious.  The water pressure in Guatemala was horrid.  If you flushed toilet paper there was a good chance it would end up on the bathroom floor shortly thereafter.  2. You could literally buy anything in the Houston airport.  Need a watch?  Fossil'll cover you.  Hungry?  You have your choice of any kind of food!  How about your shoes?  I think they need a little shining....

Americans are always going somewhere.  We have a schedule to keep.  We have to get where we're going without interruption so that we can move on to the next item on our to-do list.  We are frivolous with our money.  We buy silly things.  How much do we buy and think, "I need this!"  Malarky, you do!  I've seen people live with the necessities.  I've seen them live with less than the necessities.  It puts a spin on how I view our culture to say the least.  And it puts a spin on the word necessities and what that actually means.

But despite the drastic differences between their culture and my own one things rings true: people are people.  They still have maternal and paternal instincts and they fiercely care for their own.  Humans are incredibly similar.  I think it's our cultures that set us apart from each other.

At first I had all of these emotions and feelings of frustration for our culture and people.  I was so angry that we could have so much and waste so much when people outside of our country are living under such difficult circumstances.  They don't have all the technology we do.  They don't have all the fashion distractions.  They don't have the worries that my culture tells me I must have.  They're happy.  They have nothing with which to compare their lives.  I go there and I think, "How can they live in these conditions!?"  But they aren't coming from my background where I have indoor water that's completely drinkable, and internet access, and my own laptop that cost more money than they might see in a year, and any kind of food I want within a five-mile radius.  God put us each in different situations.  I did not choose to be born in the United States to the amazing family that I have.  God put me there.  Or here, rather.  I didn't know how to deal with our wealth.  Do I get mad?  No.  Do I sell all my possessions?  Maybe.  But maybe not.  Maybe I just need to love.  Maybe I just began to open my eyes.  Maybe that trip was more of a blessing to me, than it was to them.  Maybe God used Guatemala to pull the cloth from over my eyes.

Maybe my life just changed.

My desire is to go back.  My desire is to love.  My desire is to bless and teach.  I can't imagine my life without those things.  And right now, all I can imagine is all of those things in Guatemala.

I have much praying to do.

Maybe my life just changed.  Correction: my life just changed.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

With my luck Guatemala customs won't let me leave and I'll have to walk 127 miles to the American Consulate.

Big red suitcase.  Check.

Nalgene water bottle.  Check.

Passport.  Check.

Bible and notebook.  Check.

Gameboy.  Check.

Camera.  Check.

Anti-diarrhea medicine.  Check.

Well folks.  It's here at last.  June 6th.  The day I fly internationally for the first time EVER.  I'm heading to Guatemala!  I'll be there for two weeks with four girls from MidAmerica Nazarene University.  We'll be changing water filters, working in the clinic, teaching children English ( :) ) speaking a butt ton of Spanish and just loving the people!!

It's really quite pointless to try to tell you how excited I am.  I. Am. Stoked.

There are a few things you could do for me if you think about it.

1) PRAY FOR ME.  And my team.  Maybe this is selfish but I really don't want to have to use that anti-diarrhea medicine.  Pray we have servant hearts.  Pray I don't lose my Spanish words.  Pray the people feel our love.  Pray that Jesus will be glorified.

2) Send me an e-mail.  This isn't so imperative.  BUT, I would LOVE to see your name in my inbox.  Any sort of encouragement would be wonderful.  (I get homesick easy....) (

3) Safety.  Eh.  I'm not too worried.  Yea, third world country.  Yea, maybe a little dangerous.  But we have Jesus!  As long as we're not stupid, I'm pretty confident we'll be okay.  (That was not supposed to be as arrogant as it sounded....)

I am so excited to go praise Jesus in Guatemala.  I'm also very excited to come back and report on my adventures.

Peace out, Olathe.  See you in two weeks.
Ruth. Jeff.