Far from what I once was, but not yet what I'm going to be

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Love.

I've been putting this off. This last post about Guatemala. I don't want it to end. I know it's silly for me to hold it in and not express my emotions, my feelings, my experiences with THE LOVE. But part of me felt like writing the last post, meant that it was really over.

But it's not.

It's not over. It will never be over in my heart. My life was forever changed by this trip. My view on love was forever changed by this trip. I was forever changed by this trip.

So here we go. To talk about love. A love few have ever experienced. Few will ever experience. And I was blessed enough to see that love in action. And to be right smack dab in the middle of it.

From day one working in the village, high on that mountain, among the clouds, I felt something unlike anything I had ever felt before. It was a warm fuzzy feeling. A feeling that tore down all the walls I built up around myself. Broke through all my insecurities and uncomfortable-ness (I realize this is not a real word. Don't care). Made me forget all of the bad things in the world, and simply see the beauty all around. This feeling was amazing. And happy. And forgiving. Not afraid. Not judgmental. Boundless. Unconditional. Unending.

This was love in its purest form.

I felt loved like never before by people that didn't even know me! And I shared this love for them as well - people I had met 5 minutes prior. I was absolutely in love with them. These children. These adults. These Guatemalan people who wore the brightest, biggest smiles I had ever seen. People who were more generous than anyone I had ever met even though they had much less "stuff" than anyone I know.

These new loves of mine understood life. They understood that LOVE in its purest form is above all else. Love never fails. Love never gives up. Love covers a multitude of sins. LOVE CONQUERS.

This love was contagious. I saw it in the eyes of Ruth. I saw it in the eyes of Raul. In the eyes of Dr. Gomez. Hugo. Marvin. Everyone! This love filled my heart with a joy I could not contain. This love filled my eyes with tears because I had never seen or felt or experienced something so beautiful.


This love made me forget all of the bad in the world. This love made me focus on the good in everyone and everything. This love was REAL. No words can describe it. Just writing about it fills my heart and my eyes the way it did each day I saw my Guatemalan friends.

It's impossible for me not to smile at this one :)

It hurts my heart knowing they are far away. But are they really? They all left fingerprints on my heart. They each have a special place in my heart forever. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about my loves in Guatemala - especially with the earthquake that struck not too long ago. I pray that the Lord protects them as I know He will.

I miss my girls

My Guatemalan friends showed me what love really means. They showed me the true meaning and the true image of love. In its purest form. And even though I know no earthly love can even compare to the Father's love for us, their love was the closest I have ever seen or experienced to God's love.

<3 most loving sibling in the world

Their love was joyful and patient and kind. There love was generous and pure and honest. Their love was gentle and peaceful and good. Their love was selfless and faithful and indescribable. I wish everyone could experience a love like this. It's so special to me and all who experienced it.

Pure joy

I want to love like them. A love that lasts. A love that endures. A love that never fails, never gives up, and had no bounds.

I love you <3 - Raul

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kisses and Collapses

It's no secret that I have a favorite speaker. He also happens to be my favorite author. His name is Josh. . . Josh Riebock. Have you heard of him? Maybe I've told you about his book I read. It's called "Heroes and Monsters" and I believe it's a book we should ALL read at some point.

Well anyways, Josh paid a visit to Grand Canyon not too long ago. I am always so eager to hear him speak and share God's Word with me. You see, Josh is so. . . real. He's real. He's a broken man with real problems and real struggles. He doesn't stand up in front of everyone and act all high and mighty. He's real. He's raw. He's personal. He's relate-able. And I love it.

So he came to speak. I was so excited to hear him and brought Nate along with me. It was a Tuesday night. One I won't soon forget. See, Josh has a way of bringing you to tears. Not just me - everyone. Remember how I mentioned he's relate-able? There's something about being able to relate to a person; to their struggles, their heartbreak, their fear, their dreams, their life. And that's what he did. He read us a narrative he had written. It's now my favorite and I will save it forever.

Kisses and Collapses by Josh James Riebock

Behind the church, I kissed you with my eyes open. It was just so hard to believe that you were real. Were you?

It was night and the air was hot and the moon let us walk beneath her bright skirt, so we did. We walked on and on into forever, two tiny specks mingling with the stars, all of history, even angels. Crossing the street, you took my hand and we stopped. Traffic stopped too, cars honking their horns, the angry shadows of people behind glass cursing and shaking their fists at us, in such a hurry to arrive at places they didn't want to be. We didn't want to be anywhere else. The light turned green and horns kept honking and right there you told me that you loved me and this time I had to close my eyes. For some reason it hurt to hear. No, I wasn't imagining that you were someone else. I was imagining that I was someone else. Someone who deserved you. Someone who could be what you needed.

Time brushed by against our cheek.

We bought a home and soon it collapsed. So we rebuilt it. And it collapsed again. I knelt in the dust and bent nails of our life together and I cried. You bent down next to me and you laughed, and said that we should find a place where homes can't collapse. Where is that? I had to know. You said that place is wherever we are. Then I cried again. In the rubble I saw our collapse, and you saw our foundation. Is there a difference?

Soon our youth ran off.

We became gray. We grew shorter. Life shrank around us. And we didn't know how to stop it. Maybe that's why we fought. I shouted. You held your breath. I folded my arms. You combed your hair. Our faces turned red, but I kept my eyes open. I had to see your expression. Did you look at me the same as you did that night behind the church? After all these years, and all these kisses, and all these collapses, were you still real? And could you make me real too? Did I even want you to?

I needed you to love me. I needed you to let me go. But you never did. Somehow you always smiled through your pain, and wept over mine. And in the silent wake of our wars, you held me close and I felt safe. Safe from myself. I wanted to climb inside your chest, close the doors behind me, and lock myself inside, hidden away within someone who cared for me.

The end came more quickly than we thought it could. No one really believes in the end. But when it arrived for us, I asked it to give me one more minute with you. Just one.

Then I looked for a final time over our worn, sunken shoulder, through every page that we wrote together, through every poem and every bruise, every kiss and every collapse. I inhaled each one. And when I reached the last page of our lives, I tore it out, folded it neatly, and tucked it inside my lips. Then I leaned over and kissed you, whispering, Here is our story...

A thousand times I threw in the towel. A thousand times you picked it up, and used it to wipe the quit from my eyes.

WOW. How beautiful! After reading us this narrative, Josh described that all forms of love are found in it. But most importantly, GOD's love.

"A thousand times I threw in the towel. A thousand times you picked it up, and used it to wipe the quit from my eyes."


Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Work.

Once again, apologies for the ridiculous chunks of time that pass between my posts.

It's late September and I'm still trying to wrap up some posts on a June mission trip!

But as we all know, life gets crazy sometimes - and NOW is that time for me.

The Work.

The work we did in Guatemala was far greater than any other mission trip I have been a part of. It was also the first trip where I could physically SEE the difference we were making. I could SEE the progress and mark we were leaving on this village. And it never ceases to fill my heart with warmth and love as well as fill my eyes with tears of joy and blessing.

What my team and I did in Guatemala was build a new church for the people of this small (in land) but large (in population and love) village. SO COOL. Being a part of this work was amazing. Never in my life did I expect to be a part of a construction team or project. I mean look at me. Think about it. . . People like myself aren't really cut out for this kind of work. But as one of my favorite quotations states "God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called."

It was so obvious to me that I was being called to be a part of this team, this mission, this work. I heard the Lord loud and clear. I felt Him tugging on my heart strings like never before. I NEEDED to do this. And boy am I glad I listened to His call.

I have never experienced God the way I did on this trip. I was in a tiny village I had never heard of before, being the hands and feet of Jesus to people who loved Him like I had never seen.

Talk about CRAZY LOVE!

It's still amazing to think I was a part of building something that the body of Christ will gather in and praise His name! Day after day. I know it's not about me. But it's such an incredible feeling to know that I am the most unlikely person to do this sort of work, but God qualified me for the job - and I did it! Not in my power, but in His.

And I felt the Lord blessing ME while He was blessing these people through my team and I. My heart is so full from this trip. STILL. It literally changed me. These people made a mark on my life that will never go away. My heart is branded by them forever.

And the Lord threw a little something my way on the trip as well. You see, it's always been a dream of mine to do medical missions. And one day of this trip, I was able to work in the medical clinic. That day is forever ingrained into my memory. I don't speak Spanish. Like at all. But the Lord miraculously gave me the words to speak with the doctor and the patients and understand what was going on. I was able to take their vitals and listen to their symptoms and how the doctor diagnosed them. It was heartbreaking hearing the stories of what happened to these people, and even more heartbreaking to hear how much time had passed since their symptoms began. . .

Months, YEARS even. And they never saw a doctor. They don't have that opportunity. And that is exactly what drives my dream of medical missions. People that NEVER get to see a doctor and live with pain and agony from childhood, well into adulthood and live through the pain.

But it was amazing to be a part of this medical experience for them. AMAZING. A dream come true. And I love that my dream came true through helping others. There's nothing like it.

The work we did there was visible, but also personal. I left feeling so full of love, blessing, and that I truly, truly helped. And these people are the warmest, friendliest, and most loving people I have ever met. I want to be like them.
I love her :)
Pressure's on!
My favorite trainer (Marvin) and Frank!
Love these little faces
Nice work ladies!
Dramatic shot
Best teammate ever
Is that a smile?
That means we're doing good, right?
Little Samuel. Adorable as ever.
Nick work Frank, Seth and Esteban!
Break-time hike
Seth with our unbelievable trainers!
Team Perfection.
Most beautiful walls award goes to. . .
Chop that block Ryan!
My Ruth.
Team Awesome.
Ryan, Me, Marvin (our incredible teacher)
Re-bar (?) haha I think

Medical Clinic!
(This is the dentist at work)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Places.

I promised a post on the different places we went in Guatemala.

And then I realized the lack of pictures. . .

But here we go anyway!

First, the Phoenix airport! DUH.
Next. . . The plane!
What am I looking at? . .
Next. . . Customs in Guatemalan airport!
Helping each other figure out the customs sheets
On to the van we go! For a five hour drive! After 7 hours on a plane! KILL ME.
Made it to the hotel!
Good lookin team!
Obnoxious dog at the hotel. . . Trapped in an enclosure on the roof
And man could he bark loud
Off to eat!
Albamar Restaurant
And the city of Quetzaltenango
AKA the city we stayed in
The village we worked in
Village kids playing soccer (futbol)
Great shot.
We were so high up, we were in the clouds! Literally.
The temporary shack church
Dr. Gomez speaking at church on Sunday
What the new church looked like when we arrived
The clouds are among us!
We spent lots of time in the van
Three amigos
It rained. A LOT. And some days the van couldn't make it up the crazy mountain to the village we were working in. . . So we had to ride up in the beds of trucks. I actually enjoyed it :) At least until the temperature dropped significantly and it began to rain. Of course.
Feelin good!
A little chilly
Now a little warm
Just right. Happy camper.
And the boots. Can't get enough of the boots.
Oh boy.
Morgan :)
Arabian Knight? Or Ninja? Hmm. . . Definitely never saw him
Shopping! For food! In a Wal-Mart owned store!
And now. . . Introducing my favorite place on this planet. . . ANTIGUA!!!!!!!!
Central Park
I adore horse-drawn carriages!
Beatifully artistic architecture
Ancient. WOW.
Hmm. . .
Main Street. El Guapo in the back.
"The Handsome One" volcano
So dang pretty
I love it here
Best coffee shop ever.
Bible scenes!
Coolest church ever.
Seriously. It doesn't get any better. I could call this place home!
One more shot of Main Street
We ate here one night. So good.
POPS. Ice cream! Best mint chocolate chip ice cream in the world.
Love it.
The cross.
So those are the places I went on my trip! Antigua was seriously amazing. Everyone should go. Starbucks has a coffee plantation there! It's where they get their Antigua blend! MMM.