The day has finally come. My last blog post. Officially, I can say that was the fastest three months of my life so far. I have never learned so much and made myself so willing to try new things. I did it. I jumped into another culture, language, family, way of life, and community. Graciously, I was accepted in with welcome and joy. For this, I am forever grateful to the Kunkel and Lopez families as well as the staff and students of Love Guatemala.
I asked for things to be repeated more times than I can count, I spilled soda on myself in a meeting, and I sang in front of the entire staff and their families in English. I translated difficult life situations, saw the faces of hungry children receive a full plate of food, and listened a lot. I have never listened so much in my life. So many times, I thought of a comment to add to a conversation and after practicing it in my head was too late to add to the topic at hand. So I listened some more. I have never felt so unknown.
And then the best thing happened, Jesus told me that He is with me and knows me better than I do myself. I rest easy in that because it allows me to see the needs of those around me more readily and be done with the preoccupation of proclaiming my accomplishments and selfish thoughts.
I think I may already be done with the question that will inevitably follow me during the upcoming months, “How was your time in Guatemala?” There is no way to properly and effectively answer this without an in-depth conversation.
Simply, I realized that problems may look different, but the tragedies of life remain the same: people drink too much, fathers and mothers abandon their children, spouses and children are abused, and prejudice exists. Sin is sin wherever you are.
The hope exists in God being good wherever you go. The Gospel of Jesus is Good News for ALL people. No one is left out. There is hope in the life, death, resurrection, and coming again of Christ Jesus not just for evangelical America, but also for the illiterate widow and the penniless orphan living in different countries around the world and yes, even within the United States.
I digress; my time in Guatemala has been extremely life giving, difficult, fun, tiring, and encouraging. I’ve been pushed to grow from the first week when Carlos made me buy soda in a tienda and laughed the whole time while sitting in the car to this last week in trusting God with what is now scarier than first coming to Guatemala: going back to the States.
Joy comes easy here; things are simpler. Lives are less cluttered with objects and the pace is slower. It may take you the entire day to do what could be done in two hours in the States, but that is ok. People instead of productivity are most important and I have to believe that is how Jesus wanted it.
Jesus changed my life. And he continues to do so. Love Guatemala played a major part in this. Where your time is, there your heart is also. Part of my heart will always be here in Guatemala. Who knows? God may bring me back in the future!
So, you’ve read the blogs and seen the Facebook posts. You may have even watched a video or two, but the truth comes down to this: all good things are best experienced first hand. Come and visit. It’s a challenge. Risk big and step out in faith to where God has been calling you, whether that is Guatemala or your work place. Just don’t miss out because with or without you, God is moving on this earth and I want you to be involved. Share your story, your money, or your time with someone who needs to be encouraged, given a second change, or experience the grace of God again in his or her life. We invite to visit on a team or form one yourself and experience the work that is happening here in the community of Magdalena Milpas Altas, Guatemala. As I can profess, it is the work of God and we merely follow how he leads us.
I’ll leave you with this. God is good, faithful, and forever bringing hope. Thank you for reading this summer. I pray your life was changed in a similar way that mine was.
May we remain hungry to see more of God’s kingdom on this earth. May we continue to seek what it means to truly follow Jesus. Thanks be to God for this opportunity.
Signing off one last time,
Caleb the Intern