Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Mountains we face...

Have you ever faced what appears to be an insurmountable mountain? Not necessarily a literal mountain, but one of those “mountains of life.” Does it terrify you?

I find myself in front of a pinnacle that looks, to me, like Mt. Everest.

You see, nearly 14 years ago my life was forever changed by the intrusion of this precious little man. I can hardly believe he is about to be 14 years old. The really scary part is that in a few months he will begin High School.

 How did this happen? How did the little guy in the swing get big enough for high school?

Homeschooling High School is my Mt. Everest.

The last few months I have been reading, researching, praying and planning for this next phase of our homeschool life. I have never been intimidated by homeschooling. I love the process of selecting materials, planning projects, and just learning in general. I love all of it. But high school scares me - it’s all part of the official record, it effects college, it effects the rest of his life, it’s a BIG deal. (A little melodramatic, I know!)

When looking at my Mt. Everest, I thought I knew which path I would take. I saw a path that would take us to higher ground with some assistance from some very capable, accredited sherpas. I mean, everyone needs help carrying the load, right? No one walks up the mountain alone, right?

Yet, I find that I don’t really like the sherpa. (FYI- my sherpa is a program not a person.) When I came to this realization, I freaked a little. How exactly do I get up this mountain without a sherpa? The unknown is always a bit terrifying, isn’t it? 

So I began to have a conversation with the Lord that sounded something like this - “I had a plan and a path, I don’t want to find a new path. I don’t like where the other paths lead. It might cost me more of myself than I really want to give. I might have to give up things that I am really committed to - ministry things, not just personal things Lord. Are you sure you know where we are going?”

The Lord in his great kindness has let me vent my fears, frustrations, anxieties and whininess. He has also reminded me that I am not alone on this journey. He is my "sherpa" (I mean shepherd)  - equipping me, leading me, growing me, carrying me and my baggage. 

It’s funny how He changes me. As I listen and seek his wisdom, I no longer want to take the original path. He’s shown me some alternate paths which lead to some really great experiences. He has taken what first terrified me and changed it to desire. I no longer want the old path, I actually want and prefer the new trail. Glory to God, he’s changed my mind and my heart.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still a little intimidated by the weight and responsibility of my Mt. Everest. I wish I had a community of fellow mountaineers that I could depend on when I feel lost or lonely. Yet, I know I am following where He leads me, so I press on to reach the summit.

A friend recently read this verse over me and I was encouraged by her and the Lord's kindness in giving it to her, especially for me, especially on that day.

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand." Isaiah 41:10

What’s your Mt. Everest? Does it terrify you? Is God speaking to you about it?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I have a dream . . .

Recently we have had some homeschool writing assignments about Civil Rights, desegregation in schools, Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech. If you have never read or listened to this historic speech, I encourage you to do it. I find his words inspiring. We who have the benefit of his legacy are privileged to see many of his dreams realized. Glory to God; so many of those God-given dreams have come to fruition.

These thoughts have been rambling around in my head the last few weeks. As we work with families who are making hard choices about education, it has inspired me to have my own dreams.

I have a dream.

I dream that parents don’t have to choose which one of theirs kids can go to school this year.

I dream that one day, every boy and every girl has the opportunity to learn and grow in their local school.

I dream that teachers would be well trained and well equipped to cultivate the young minds entrusted to them.

I dream that every child would take those magical trips to far-off lands, in far-off times, with imaginative characters only found between the pages of a book.

I dream that students would rise up to become leaders and agents of change in their communities.

I have a dream.

I don’t have the power or the authority to make these dreams come true. I can’t change the systemic problems within government and education systems. But the Lord has given me a dream. And he’s given me opportunities to make a difference with a few children and a few teachers, in a small part of a small country. If I am faithful to the opportunities that God has entrusted to me, he will be faithful to produce the fruit of those labors. He is the Dream Giver and the one who brings them to bear. All glory to the Dream Giver that I get to be a part of his dreams being realized.

What’s your dream? What opportunities has the Lord given you to bring about change?

(Photos are from our first day back at the After School Tutoring Program, let the learning begin!!)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Life in the Crucible

Have you ever had a season of your life that felt like you were living in the crucible?

What exactly is a crucible you ask? It can be a bowl for collecting metal that has been heated to extremely high temperatures, it can be an extreme testing or trial, or it can be a mortar bowl and pestle which are used for crushing herbs and spices.

The mortar and pestle resonates with me: I think I have been living in one for some time now. How exactly does a mortar and pestle work? A mortar is a bowl in which you place a natural product like peppercorns or herbs. A peppercorn in it’s natural state is nearly useless, (unless you like to break your teeth on tiny, hard rocks.) A peppercorn is not good for seasoning food, which is what pepper is meant to do, right? When you place and peppercorn in the mortar and crush it with the pestle, you release the potent, flavorful power of the tiny peppercorn. A little goes a long way with crushed pepper. You can actually magnify, multiply and lengthen the life of a peppercorn that has been crushed. 

I think I am a peppercorn. The Lord has been crushing me in the crucible with the purpose of refining me into a more flavorful, more intensely useful seasoning. I’m not gonna lie - life in the crucible sucks. It’s painful. Just when you think the refining is done, another series of poundings begin; resulting in further refinement. One big difference between me and peppercorn is that I can choose to get out of the crucible. I could say - Enough! I could walk away and say this is as refined as I get. No more!

If I didn’t know that God is GOOD ALL THE TIME, I don’t think I could take it. I have to fall back on what I know is true about him. He is good, ALL the time and his plan for me is good. He is faithful to finish the good work he began in me. He’s not content to leave me as I am. He desires to refine me like a precious metal or a table seasoning. 

These are some of my foundational beliefs about who God is and who I am in relation to him. I realize that I have had a few crutches to lean on that support me in these beliefs - my family, my friends, my church, etc. So what happens if God removes or changes of few of these relationships - can I stand on these foundational truths without crutches? Can these truths bear the full weight of belief? Is God still good ALL the time if I don’t have others around me affirming those truths? Especially in a season of life in the crucible?

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 125: 1-2

In the end, the work will be for his glory and my benefit. I know and understand God in new and different ways. I have never felt his presence so near to me as I have while being refined. He is the God of comfort - who comforts us so that we might comfort others. For his glory. So I willingly submit to life in the crucible.

Is the Lord crushing something in you? Is it hard to submit? He is near, longing to bring comfort, healing, restoration. You can trust him, even in the crucible.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Teaching and Equipping . . .

I have a friend named Nancy. She and her husband have a passion for education in Guatemala. Mario teaches car mechanics at the local university. Nancy is the director of a small private school here in Pana, called Centro Educativo Josue. They believe they can change the future of Guatemala by providing quality, affordable education to children in their community. They also see their school as a ministry for sowing seeds of the gospel. 

Nancy showing off her lap book project. 

We get excited when we meet Guatemalans who are working and giving their lives to serving others in their own community. We look for ways to partner and advance the vision they have for making a difference. For the last two years, we have had the privilege of enriching and advancing the academic and spiritual goals of the Josue school through, After School Programs, Science enrichement camps, Art camps and teacher training.

This week we hosted the 2nd annual Teacher Training workshop. My partner-in-crime was Maureen, a 20+ year veteran of the classroom, and Katey, a 20-yr old Spanish major at Wheaton. We had so much fun encouraging, teaching, joking and learning together.

Katey translating while I teach science and lap books.

Katey translating as Maureen teaches about reading aloud to your class.

I feel completely unqualified and ill-equipped to teach these teachers anything. I have never taught in a traditional school. I have only had two students - and they are pretty easy to teach!! I know these teachers feel ill-equipped as well. In many cases, they are under-educated, under-trained and under-resourced. Yet, I have learned something about the Lord in my time in Guatemala. When he calls you to something, he equips you through his Holy Spirit. 

"May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ." Hebrews 13:20-21

Teaching how to use a microscope.

Teachers learning to make lap books.

Education can be a  key that unlocks many doors. It's not a cure-all for poverty, but it can provide a variety of options that are otherwise not available. I love watching others learn. I love it when you see the connections coming together and the fire ignites. I am humbled by the fruit I see budding in the teachers and students. I am so grateful for the opportunity to encourage these educators who are shaping the next generation. Thank you to those of you who make it possible for us to live, serve and advance the kingdom work in Guatemala. May he work in me what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What does it mean to Release???

As we begin a new year, we are excited about how God is at work in Guatemala. At RHI, we have three words that help us define what we do and how we serve those around us. 

Restore - Redeem - Release

We spent the first year trying to understand what it looks like to restore some measure of dignity and stability in families at the very edge of poverty. How do we help without hurting? What are the greatest needs and what can we do about it? We have learned so many invaluable lessons as we have sought the Lord’s wisdom. Sometimes, we learned from our mistakes. For us, Restore is about addressing some of the most basic and urgent needs of families: nutrition, safe housing, and access to medical care and more.

In year two, we began to intentionally focus on the Redeem phase of ministry. How do we build deep and meaningful relationships with these families? How can we encourage and challenge them in their walk with the Lord? As we pray, read scripture and sow seeds of truth in their lives, we have seen many hearts encouraged to press on another day; do the next thing. So often, I too, have been the one challenged in my faith.

As we begin our third year, we are asking the question, “What does it mean to Release a family?” Does it mean we stop working with them, we stop bringing nutritional supplements? Do you stop serving those in need? How do you know when to transition into a new or different phase of ministry? What does it look like?

We have always been mindful about creating a dependency with these families. We do not want to do so much that they are unmotivated to do for themselves. We do not want to reinforce the misplaced hope that we, (the gringos) have all the answers or resources to fix everything. We want to help, but we don’t want to do more harm than good. 

As with most ministry work - it’s messy. It’s not a clear path with 10 easy steps. The “phases” of Restore, Redeem, Release overlap. They don’t have clear boundaries. Lives are fragile. There are times when you take a few steps forward, and other times when you take a few steps back.

Maria sharing about how God has changed her life.

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to begin the shifting of gears into Release. Several months ago, my friend Maria shared with me a dream that she felt the Lord had given her three years ago. She has been burdened for the men who work in the river of Panajachel, sifting rock and sand that they sell for construction work. She knows that many of them have hard lives. They work hard and they live hard. So many have little or no education, complicated family situations and little church or faith influence. Alcohol and substance abuse is rampant. She sees their need for a Savior, but also their need for someone to care.

Maria desires to serve these men and there families. She wants them to know that God sees them in their darkness. He loves them and desires to know them. He can heal them and change them. She knows this because he has done it in her life and in the life of her family.

One gigantic pot of Chicken Pepian - delish!

Neighbors serving neighbors.

I told Maria that I want to help her pursue God’s dream for reaching out to the hurting people around her. I asked, "How can I help you reach out to your community?" That’s when I realized, this is the Release phase - partnering with families as they serve other families they see in need of God’s restoration and redemption. Maria and her family can be much more effective in reaching her community than I can. She has the dream; the Lord has given us a few resources with which to remove an obstacle. We can multiply the kingdom work, if we work together. 

What a joy it was to watch Maria, her family, her friends, her church body work together to feed and encourage close to 100 people. They shared songs, they shared the Word of God and they shared life-giving sustenance. They were lavish in their giving. They spent much time, energy and resources making a traditional meal and planning a service to honor God and his people. It was beautiful to see the dream become a reality.

Rice w/veggies, chicken pepian and tomalitos.

Hungry bodies and souls being fed.

I know this journey to Release families is like Restore and Redeem - it’s not linear, it’s messy, it’s forward and backward. It’s unique to each family, not cookie cutter. But isn’t that true of every one of our our own faith journeys - we all take steps forward, steps back. We all have seasons when we need to be served by the body of Christ and seasons when we look beyond ourselves to serve others. That’s the process of being transformed. We are all being Restored, Redeemed and Released.

Monday, December 9, 2013

On the blog again . . .

It has been almost one year since my last blog post. I didn't mean for it to be so long. I had good intentions, yet the words wouldn't come. At first, I thought I had writers block. Then, I thought I was just a little too busy or overwhelmed to write. I tried guilting myself into writing, I came up with a writing plan/schedule - and still nothing. I find that I cannot make myself write. Well, I can, but no one (myself included) would want to read it. When I look back at things I have written over the last couple of years, I remember the burning thought or idea that would not give me rest until I wrote about it. I felt an urge to share my thoughts and experiences about what the Lord is showing me with my fellow sojourners.

This past year has been different. I have had some of the most amazing experiences, as well as some of the most difficult days I have ever known. It has been a time of drawing near to the Lord and feeling him draw near to me. It has been intensely personal, not for the general public. It has been for me alone. Its interesting that I have never in my life been one that writes a prayer journal. Perhaps blogging was a bit of public journaling. This year I felt compelled to start writing my prayers. Instead of writing for others, I have written pages and pages of my thoughts, feelings, and experiences as prayers to the Lord. It has been a time of sweet intimacy between the Lord and me. I hope he leads to to share some of those experiences with you as I begin to blog again.
I sense the beginning of a new season; a fresh start. I feel a desire to write for others, not an obligation. I hope to see you back here as I write about some of my rambling thoughts and adventures on this road called life.

Thanks to so many of you who have waited patiently and gently encouraged me in this season.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Homesick ....

This world is broken. 

I don’t need to tell any of you that do I? In the last 24 hours we have seen plenty to remind us just how broken this world has become.

I know of a precious Guatemalan grandmother, blind in one eye and half blind in the other. She is the primary care giver of her two young granddaughters. They have been left behind since their mother’s new family doesn’t care to provide for her children from a previous relationship. When we visited her this week, she had no electricity, no firewood to cook on and no candles with which to see. They are alone and vulnerable in this dark world. All that is in me wants to rage against the circumstances and people who have created this situation.

I know a single mom, working hard to feed, clothe and educate her three kids. She caught a cold a couple weeks ago which has become bronchitis. She has chronic reflux which prevents her from eating well. She has acquired an amoeba and a kidney infection.  She got some medical care and medicines this week, yet she is struggling to understand the directions and importance of taking the eight different meds she was prescribed. I feel frustrated and helpless.

Yesterday, innocents gunned down in the safest of towns, in what should be a safe haven with trusted guardians. And we all wonder why? WHY???? When will the senseless brokenness end? We are painfully reminded of our broken and fallen world. Our illusion of safety and security is shattered. We are reminded that we were not created for this kind of life.

Anybody besides me homesick for Eden?

This month, our family, like many families, is celebrating Advent with a Jesse Tree devotional. Each day we read scriptures and hang an ornament. We are reminding ourselves of God’s story through the Bible - how He created perfection, how we chose our own way, how He pursued us and made a way for us to be reconciled to Him. The word Advent means “Coming.” We are remembering the coming of our King. We are looking back at God’s endless mercy and grace which heals our brokenness.

As I sit and ponder the things I have seen this week, I can’t help but look forward to the day when He comes again and heals our hearts forever. I look at the night sky, wondering if a new star will harken our hearts to the triumphant return of the King of Kings. I anxiously long for the trumpet to sound, for every knee to bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I wait for the day when we will dwell together in the presence of the Lord, when He will wipe away every tear, death will be defeated, mourning will end, pain will not exist, all former things will pass away.

My heart cries out “Come, Lord Jesus.” Come and heal our hearts!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Growing Community and Passing it on . . .

As we start our second year of ministry at Redeemer’s House International, we are seeing God do some major work on growing our ministry team and our community. He has added two amazing families as full-time workers and three young adults who will be serving for one year. We are so excited to be building a community of Christ followers who desire to serve the least and the last. 

The Lord recognized a need for more hands, feet, minds and hearts in order to grow this burgeoning dream of fighting for single moms and their families. In his kindness, he also recognized our personal need for community. He sees his people, he hears their cries and he is sending help.

The Everswicks, Radfords, Lexie, Redmans, Ericksons & Angel

So we find ourselves in a season of passing on what knowledge, experience, vision and passion the Lord has given us. What we have been given is not ours to keep. It isn’t always easy, but it’s a joy to share with others how the Lord is working here in Guatemala. As we work hard to integrate our new team and pass on vision, pray that God's kingdom on earth will reflect his kingdom in heaven.

We had an opportunity to "pass it on" last summer with our “accidental” intern, Kristina. She was anything but accidental - she was divinely appointed to live with us and share in the work that God has called us to do. She loved on our kids (and our dog), she served our teams and our ministry families, she is completely smitten with a little guy named Mario, she loves food (especially piecaken and fried oreos), she is hilarious, a rebellious rule-breaker and totally 100% in love with Jesus. I asked her to write a little bit about her summer here in Guate. These are her thoughts:

Kristina & Mario

“The first thing you should know is I am a bit of a know it all and coincidentally I have a bad habit of assuming that I know what is best for those around me.  Prior to coming to Guatemala I had already solved all the issues of poverty, in my head of course, and would neatly move everyone I encountered from the “impoverished” category into the “middle class.” Ha! Instead, I wound up having my world wrecked by a huge God working in the midst of a problem much more complicated than I ever anticipated. 

This summer I served as an “accidental” intern with Redeemer’s House International(RHI); the two months I spent with the Radford family completely shifted my paradigm on helping those in poverty.  RHI helped me see that the needs of the poor are not just physical, they are emotional and spiritual as well.  RHI does in fact address the physical needs: providing food deliveries, water filters, supplementing rent for safe housing, taking clinic trips to address health needs etc., but the impact of what they do is so much greater.  RHI interacts with these families inside their homes, often sitting on plastic stools, and offers the one thing they are truly in need of: Jesus Christ.  In Christ, RHI gets to place value on families that society has deemed worthless.  They get to tell them that the God of the universe hears them, sees them, and loves them exactly as they are.  RHI serves as a holistic ministry that sees the poor for what they are, people.  People with basic needs who need to be known and loved in the way that only Christ can. 

RHI taught me what it means to see the people instead of the poverty.  They taught me that I am no better than these friends of mine simply because I have running water.  My biggest take away from RHI is that All people stand on the same level ground of God’s grace and mercy, regardless of their social standing, their physical comforts (or discomforts), their education (or lack of education)… each of us are in need of the slow work of God’s grace and mercy in our lives, equally, essentially, eternally.”
Kristina Fleming, Stillwater, OK

The power of the gospel is not meant to be hoarded or guarded - it is meant to be shared, to be passed on to the current and next generations. As the Lord pours out his grace and mercy on us, it spills over onto those around us. Who are you passing it on to today?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Restoration Story - Part 2

This week marks the one year anniversary of launching Redeemer's House International. As we look back over the year, I want to share a couple of stories that are shaping how we serve the poor in Guatemala. Here is the story of Casimero and Maria.

Casimero, Maria and their three daughters. (Their son is not pictured)

In October of last year, there was a terrible tropical storm that dumped 9 days of continuous rain on Guatemala. The river in Panajachel was raging, boulders were tumbling downstream and mud was sliding down the mountains. The river exceeded its normal banks and swept several homes away. 

Casimero, his wife Maria and their four children lost their home in the flooded river. They live next to the river because Casimero works in the river. He sifts sand and rocks in order to sell for construction projects. It is hard and sometimes dangerous work.

At RHI, we primarily work with single moms and their children, because they are the most vulnerable. Casimero & Maria are an exception for us. They lost everything in that storm. It did not go unnoticed by the Lord. He has heard their prayers and he has answered. He has sent the help and encouragement they so desperately need.

Materially speaking, they don’t have much. Their family of six lives in one room that spans 10 x 12. They have no electricity, no running water. Their house is built of wooden slats and old corrugated lamina. They usually cook over a wood burning fire outside. BUT - they have each other - and that goes a LONG way. Having an intact family with a dad who cares for and loves them, makes all the difference in the world.

Cutie Pie!!

Spiritually speaking, they have wealth beyond most. Visiting their home is like going to worship the King of Kings in a cathedral. When you enter this humble abode, the light of Christ and the warmth of his love permeates all darkness. They have such a generous heart of hospitality. 

Generally when we visit, they run to the tienda to buy a Coke Cola. They don’t buy Pepsi or Super Cola - they know we are from Coke Town (Atlanta). They buy the most expensive soda available because they want to bless us. It humbles us, but what a blessing to feel the joy of their home and share a cold drink. Some would prefer they not spend their hard earned money on something so extravagant. They would prefer to bring the Coke with them or refuse. Doing that would deny them the opportunity to be generous. It would not give honor and dignity to their home. It would only add to the shame of their humble circumstances. In this case, it is better to receive rather than give.

Ice cold Coca Cola on a steamy hot day! Ahhhhhh!

We have had several opportunities to make minor improvements to their home. We helped them get windows, build a front porch and put new lamina on the front. We helped dig and build a new latrine. These are wonderful blessings that they cannot provide for themselves, but it’s not the greatest good we can do in their lives. 

Replacing wooden slats with corrugated metal siding.

Maria has had some health issues this year. There was a time when her body did not seem to be getting well and her spirits were very low. What a privilege it was for me to sit with her, listen to her laments and encourage her as a sister in Christ. She needed medicine for her body that day, but her spirit needed something more. It needed to see, hear and feel God with skin on. She needed to know God sees her, he hears her, he has sent help. Her spirit needed to know that she is not alone in this world. She has a Father who loves her beyond measure and she has a sister in Christ that comes in the name of the Lord to serve and to bless. It was wonderful to be able to meet her physical need for medicine, but it was an honor and joy to minister to her spirit. Once again I realize our purpose here has more to do with BEING present in relationship instead of doing anything.

Maria enjoying a day by the lake!

I know we have received far more than we have given Casimero and Maria. We see a stark contrast in their family from the other families we serve. A dad makes a big difference. We visited their home the day before we left for our trip to the US. Maria told us they are overwhelmed with gratitude for our family and our help. Casimero hasn’t had much work this month and she couldn’t prepare a going away meal or a small gift for us. Instead, she sang a hymn over us. “Dios cuidara de ti” God will watch over and care for you on your journey. There is NOTHING in this world she could have given us that would mean more than to have God’s love and care sung over our family through our journey. Absolutely priceless.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A different perspective . . .

As we look back over the year and all that the Lord has done at Redeemer's House, I wanted to get some feedback from some of you that have visited us in Guatemala. I wanted the rest of you to hear from someone other than me about what it looks like to serve the poor. My new and dear friend Rebecca Radicchi agreed to write about her visit earlier this summer. You can read more about Rebecca and her family on her blog.

Food, education, clothing, shelter, health care.  The needs of the poor are many.  Redeemer’s House International has chosen to impact the poor by investing in some of Guatemala’s most vulnerable, at-risk families.  They seek to build relationships that transform lives through the love of Christ. 

Most of the families within their adopt-a-family program are single mothers like Lucia.  She is a tiny woman who walks the streets of Panajachel selling souvenirs.  Carrying a large cloth sack full of her wares, she finds an open spot on the street.  Laying out her bookmarks, blankets and purses, she can only hope to draw the attention of a shopper. She lives on the edge of survival, hoping each day only to feed her children. A sickness, storm or slow selling season threatens her ability to care for her kids.

Lucia selling her Guatemalan wares.

While serving alongside Redeemer’s House this past summer, we visited several families like Lucia’s.   With a small bag of rice, beans, fruit and veggies in hand, we visited as friends.  Though we walked into homes where three kids slept on a stack of cardboard boxes, where rain poured in through cracks in ceilings, where there was no electricity and no water, we honored their lives and their homes.  Though everything in us wanted to start making shopping lists and organizing building teams, we simply connected and made sure they had food for dinner.

Truly this was a trip of both the mind and the heart for me.  God had things to show me.  My heart, heavy with memories of poverty seen on other mission trips in other places, has been processing how to serve without hurting.  With Redeemer’s House, I saw this in action.  Knowing that Christ alone can redeem, we fought the urge to play savior.  Knowing that our help could create competition between families and neighbors, we met needs carefully.  Not wanting to put local businesses out of jobs by bringing suitcases of clothes, shoes and gifts, we gave only ourselves.  Not wanting to create non-sustainable dependence, we brought food for only a few meals. 

This ministry does meet some tangible needs for their families.  During our stay, food and water filters were distributed, medicine bought, a kitchen table constructed, money donated to pay for a surgery, and a single mother was moved into a better living situation.  Yet these things too were done carefully, without the intention of “fixing”.  Ultimately, our hope was that the poor of Guatemala see God as provider, as healer, as their hope.   Our desire was to serve only in ways that pointed them to Jesus.  

a peek into a Guatemalan home

Looking into the eyes of the poor, empties me.  Walking the streets in Panajachel refocused my heart, off of myself, and onto to Jesus.  I was reminded that I can’t seem to fix myself, and that I certainly am incapable of fixing the hurting with a suitcase of shoes.  Spending the week doing ministry with the Radfords was an opportunity to serve in a new way, carrying only the hope of the gospel and a willingness to pour ourselves out for one another.  It was a game changer. 

"Our relationship with the materially poor should be one in which we recognize that both of us are broken and that both of us need the blessing of reconciliation. Our perspective should be less about how we are going to fix the materially poor and more about how we can walk together, asking God to fix us both."
-from When Helping Hurts by Fikkert & Corbett

Rebecca and her new girlfriends!

Thank you, Rebecca for sharing your thoughtful insights. Can't wait to serve side by side again.