setting up the pins.

i’ve been home 72 days.

there is so much to tell you about.  as i find the words to describe how i’ve changed since DTS i’ll write more about my experience.

for now, i wanted to drop in and say thanks for supporting me.  i’m so happy to be back in michigan with my friends and family nearby.  my days are filled with babysitting and reconnecting with friends.  i’m happy to be back at my church and excited for the new adventures that holds.

last week i went bowling with my other fam…the kids i cared for pre-DTS…all 7 of them, plus 3 adults.  what an adventure.  as i sat in the bowling alley i reflected upon the last 72 days.  sara wrote a song that perfectly captures this season of life:

…everyone, everywhere, some way, somehow, is setting up the pins for knocking ‘em downyou can find joy in the fertile ground, you can try to fight it ’til your anger drowns…sing for the beauty that’s to be found in setting up the pins for knocking ‘em down

…it can feel simple but it’s really profound…

sometimes i feel like my days are unproductive.  but they aren’t.  the most important task i have to accomplish everyday is to know God and make Him known.  if i’m doing that it doesn’t matter how unproductive or mundane all the other tasks appear.  the fact is, i am loving life right now.  i love that i’m back to my routines and bumping into the same cashier at target or barista at starbucks or server at applebee’s.  i love that i’m caring for kids.  i love the countless opportunities to be Jesus.  my heart wants to find joy and beauty everyday, even if i’m simply setting up pins for knocking them down.

setting up the pins

last days in Guatemala

wow friends! i cannot believe i’m leaving guatemala on wednesday…at times it felt like this moment was a long ways away but right now it feels like the weeks flew by. after Christmas, we spent more time in antigua doing ministry. we visited a cool place called village of hope in san lucas, guatemala. this is a ministry that places special needs orphans in homes with guatemalan foster parents who all live on the same property, creating a community of sorts. the ministry is just getting off the ground so we spent time doing construction to help the team prepare to welcome children. i’ve met several wonderful new friends who i hope to stay in touch with.

we are currently serving in guatemala city until we return to california. we visited an orphanage and spent time loving the kids. international adoptions from guatemala are closed and in general guatemalan families aren’t adopting these children. it’s been interesting to visit the various orphanages here, we’ve worked in 3, and consider what my sister’s life could have been. she was an orphan in china for one year before she became part of our family i can’t imagine my precious baby sister spending her whole life without a family around her. i can’t help but look at these beautiful children and want to give them all a family. i’m so happy my family could change the life of one orphan – she has a new identity forever, she’s a daughter and sister now. today we celebrate her adoption that happened sixteen years ago.

so there is one week left in DTS before i’m home in michigan. we leave guatemala on wednesday after a day or so of debrief. then in chico we have a few days more of debrief as well as graduation. i am looking forward to going to my church in chico next sunday before i fly back to michigan on the 14th. my dear friends and family – i am so thankful for you and your support. i could not have done this without your prayer and support! i love you all!

Christmas in Guatemala

dear friends! i hope you had a wonderful Christmas. here in antigua i celebrated the holiday with my ywam family, or ywamily :) on Christmas Eve we went into town to buy a gifts for a secret Santa swap. then we spent the afternoon cooking and hanging out. i got to talk to my sister since it was her birthday and see my extended family that was gathered at my house for a meal. it was so nice to see them! i went to Christmas Eve mass at the church in our neighborhood and then watched a crazy fireworks display at midnight.

on Christmas morning we ate brunch then swapped our secret Santa gifts. it was a nice relaxing morning. we had free time in the afternoon – i spent most of it cooking with missy and kasey. our Christmas dinner was a feast – we had deviled eggs and nacho dip, Danish meatballs and turkey, potatoes and mixed veggies, and stuffing. it was delicious! we watched elf during dinner and ended the night with a team talent show. i think we recorded each act so i’ll try posting a video of my talent…

as of today we have 13 days of outreach left. pray that the joy of the Lord is our strength. there is lots of laughter with our team and as the weeks pass by please pray that we have more laughter and joy! i’m excited to see what the next 2 weeks will bring – i’ll keep you updated! lots of love to you all!

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Lake Atitlan

so friends – i have 18 days left here in guatemala. my team has been at lake atitlan working with Pastor Antonio. we’ve done lots of kids ministry…which has been fun for me. i’m practicing my spanish, using it as often as i can – i really love speaking spanish here! trying to use my spanish here is another way i can honor the people here, to learn and serve in this beautiful country.

in other news – i visited a doctors office this week while we were in San Pedro. i noticed a swollen bite on my ankle on sunday nite when we got here. the bite kept swelling and was very hot and red. so on tuesday morning, after a nite full of pain, i went to the doctor. over the course of this week i received 3 steroid shots and took 6 doses of antibiotic. finally my foot and ankle looks normal again – i’m so happy!

today is a day off and we return to antigua tomorrow. i’m excited to spend christmas with my teammates in another culture, but i miss my family traditions and comforts. i’m thankful for each of you and the blessing you are to me!

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my week in San Marcos

dear friends.

i’m happy to be back at YWAM Antigua to take a shower and do laundry before our next adventure. my team returned last nite from our week in the earthquake zone. while we were gone we met lots of families that are displaced as a result of the earthquake they had in november. we met many important people in the relief effort – including the regional director for The Red Cross in Guatemala and a 3-star Guatemalan general. we spent time working at a warehouse/distribution center loading trucks and distributing food boxes to local families. i loved being an extra set of hands getting work done faster!

the highlight of the week was the time we spent at an orphanage called CANICA. this is a home for street children where they can live and grow up in a Christian environment and remain in Guatemala as adults. two of the missionaries working there, richard and linda, are from traverse city, mi! they are wonderful people. our team loved getting to know them and bring able to pray over them, as well as their ministry and the kids. and i really loved playing with the kids! surprise, surprise – right?!

before we left for San Marcos I was very nervous about being able to stay warm at night and sleep well… God provided sleeping mats for us so i slept great. He taught me so much about trust this week! psalm 9:10 says, “and those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.” i am trusting Him to meet my needs for the remainder of my outreach, which is 31 days…but who’s counting :)

we are leaving YWAM Antigua again tomorrow to do ministry in San Pedro until Dec 24. thanks for praying for me – i am so grateful for each of you. you have been so supportive of me and I consider you part of my team! love you all!

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outreach week 1

dear friends!

i’ve been in Guatemala nearly a week – it’s been an adventure! God is working everyday to order our steps right to the ministries and opportunities He has for us. this week we’ve spent lots of time outside. we take the bus into Antigua and pray around the city, and talk with people. we also walk around our little neighborhood praying for the families that live near us. this week we visited a school and played with kids there, we fed homeless people, delivered food to families in the neighborhood, and hosted kids club at the base.

the name of this outreach game is “go with the flow” so i really have no idea what’s next. God is growing me in that area, i’m not always comfortable in that position. all i know is that the next 6 weeks are going to fly by, and before i know it outreach will be over.

thanks for your prayer support – my team has generally been healthy so far. today in particular i’m feeling tired and a bit overwhelmed by the pace with which our days go by – we are busy busy busy. there’s lots of stimulation and it’s getting to me – i’m thankful for our day off tomorrow. keep praying for peace.

much love to each of you, i couldn’t do this without your support.

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thanksgiving

happy thanksgiving!

it’s been 86 days since i was in michigan and i have 48 days left in guatemala. thanksgiving looks different today. as I reflect upon this year, especially the days i’ve had in DTS, my heart is full! i’m thankful for my friends and family who support me in prayer and financially! my whole DTS team left on outreach with 100% support – that hardly happens. i am thankful for the opportunity to minister to the people of guatemala; it’s an honor to represent Jesus here. i am thankful that God loves me no matter what – i haven’t done life everyday the best i could, but that doesn’t matter. each night when i go to bed i know God delights in me and is proud of me. that’s good stuff! this season has not been what i expected it to be, but God is so good and He’s used everyday to prepare me for the next. So here i am, laying on my bunk bed in antigua, full from my guatemalan lunch, surrounded by my ywamily (ywam family), basking in God’s goodness! not the thanksgiving i anticipated but just the thanksgiving i needed.

i will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and i will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. {psalm 7:17}