Our Introverted Extrovert

I’ve learned something about Abigail over the last six weeks, through watching her discover it about herself. She may be an extrovert that thrives off of spending time and interacting with other people, no matter the age, but I think she learned about how many people she can handle at one time. Being an introvert myself, it has been a struggle to constantly meet her interaction needs with just the two of us at home. Not only does she need me by her side for most of the day, but I don’t get my time by myself to recharge. We have been making it work, but it hasn’t been easy.

Needless to say, I think my daughter is an extrovert. I think she gets her energy and fill from being around people and interacting…but I think living with 12 other people in stead of 2 other people, she has learned about her introverted side — that she has one and how to get in touch with it. I have noticed on days that we didn’t get the chance to get out of the house here in Guatemala…which was most days…that her happiest days were days that she could just wander around outside with no one bugging her or asking her anything. Where she could just pick up a stick and play in the dirt or pick up some mangoes in peace. She would come back inside looking, acting, and feeling totally refreshed. Plus, it gave me the space I needed from her to not go too crazy.

I hope we both remember that’s what she needs when we’re back home. I pray that on days where we’re both at our wit’s ends He touches my mind and reminds me that all she needs is a little introverted play time for us to get back on our feet and treat each other with a little grace.

It has been such a big blessing in my life to be able to bring my three year old daughter to a foreign country. Even if she doesn’t remember a thing from this trip when she’s older, I know it made a difference in her life and in mine to watch her grow here. I was floored by her flexibility and willingness to try new things. Sure, she and I butt heads a LOT over who should be in control, but at the end of the day, I think about things like the time she answered the question “do you want to eat some rabbit?” without skipping a beat with “yeah, suuure!” or when she would willingly sit through children’s worship that was entirely in Spanish.

She is an incredible little girl. It has been the joy of my life to be part of her life since it began 4 years ago.

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The Next Three Days

The title of this post came to me just now as I was talking to Tim about starting to pack up our suitcases. I said “I think I’ll go ahead and pack my suitcase and Abigail’s suitcase and just put our clothes for the next three days on top.” And there you have it. A blog is born.

The next three days are going to fly by for us. We have the rest of today and all day tomorrow in Monjas, a day in the City on Monday, and then Tuesday morning at the airport and then it’s Goodbye, Guatemala and Hello, America. The rest of today we’ll be hanging around the house and gathering up odds and ends to start packing. Tomorrow will be similar, but our morning will be spent at church (pending transportation…). Sunday night is our last night sleeping in this house. On Monday we’re going to go ahead and get to the City by late morning, probably go to the zoo, get some lunch, and hopefully find some pitaya (awesome pink fruit) at a mercado (market) somewhere because I have been craving it since we first had it a couple of weeks ago and haven’t been able to find it since. We’ll just spend a day in and around the City so we don’t have to fight traffic on Tuesday morning getting to the airport.

On Tuesday, we have to be at the airport around 10 and then our flight to Atlanta leaves around 12:30. We have a four hour layover in the Atlanta airport and then hop on a quick flight to Little Rock and will get in around 10:30 that night.

I guess this is actually happening!

I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces, hugging necks I’ve been missing, and getting Abigail back into a routine of some kind. I’m sure it will look a bit different now, and I am eager to find out what our daily lives will be like once we’re back and adjusted.

But for now, I’ll soak up the challenge to speak and understand a language I’m not near fluent in and try to eat a ton of local cuisine before we go.

Blessings on our last few days and on our travels back to the States.

 

 

GC Works Thank You

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I had the opportunity to make this card for Gabor to send to their constituents. 🙂 I did the front and back, he wrote the note on the inside.

Goodbyes

“If we don’t meet again in this life, live your life so we may meet again in Heaven.”

A good friend I had made over our time in Zambia said that to me as we said our goodbyes when we were heading back after our semester there, almost 5 years ago now. I still remember that moment and I think I always will. It has made me a better person. Not that I was stuck in any kind of sin that I needed to break out of, or felt like I needed to change something right away to ensure I would see him again someday in Heaven, but it is just such a wonderful thing to say when you are parting ways, unsure if you will see them again in this life.

Also, to only know someone for such a short amount of time and to care *that* much for their soul. Incredible.

So far, I have had to say good bye to 2 very special people. One was Lencho, a guy who is an employee for Ecofiltro and GC Works worked with directly through the deliveries to the communities. He absolutely adored Abigail and she him. This man has such a contagious energy and enthusiasm about him that you can’t help but be inspired when you’re with him.

The other was Anna Bella, the woman who has been cooking and cleaning for the Siklosis for almost the whole time they have lived here. She is a very special lately. She is so gentle and kind…She just brings peace when you’re with her. Watching her interact with Abigail was really special too, because neither one spoke even a single word of the other’s language, but you could tell they just loved each other so much.

We have 3 more days left here in Monjas. On Monday we’ll go ahead and drive to the capital and spend the day and night there so we don’t have to worry about getting caught in traffic on the way to the airport on Tuesday morning.

 It’s so hard to believe! Before I know it, I will be waking up in America…And that is a little bit of a strange thought right now.

It’s all coming to a very quick close…

Thanks for the memories, Guatemala.

 

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The Beginning of the End

1025291_10151655769229712_2134081884_oYeah, the title sounds a little depressing.

It only refers to the fact that the date our plane leaves Guatemala City is soon approaching. It has nothing to do with the end of our experiences here because I know once we get back to the States and reflect, that over time we will just be finding out more and more of what we were taught when we were here.

Last night we started the last week of the internship in the best way. We all sat down together for some worship, reflection, and healing. By the end of the evening we laid our hands on two people in the house who said they needed some healing. I will never forget Gabor saying “When someone needs healing of any kind, my hands start to tingle.” The man has a gift from the Lord that he is tune with and I am thankful for seeing it played out. We all gathered around the person asking for healing and laid our hands on them. Gabor started praying and then the rest of chimed in with whatever the Spirit was moving us to do or say. It was an incredible experience. An incredible moment. To feel the Lord working through His people to bring healing. Wow. I just can’t say enough. There is so much power there. I’m reminded of Matthew 18: 20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” We were gathered, and He was there.

I think it really set a positive tone for our final week together. Living with 14, and for one week, 19 people is not an easy task. It was easier some days than others, but I think there is no better way to start the end of our time here by a rejuvenation of mind, body, and spirit from the Lord.

I am going to miss the people in this house a lot. We’ve become a little family over the last 5 weeks, and it will be hard to see us all go our separate ways. I think we’ll all look back fondly on our time here together. I know we will.

It’s All in the Heart

I thought I was going to write this blog about how different worshiping in other cultures can be.  The truth is, the location and language may be different than what we’re used to, but the worship is the same. 

In the middle of a worship service it can get frustrating. The churches here use sound systems, believe it or not, even if they aren’t using instruments. I have never been super comfortable with that because you can’t even hear yourself think.  And if I can’t do that, I can’t focus on what I am there to do. So not only is it loud, but you don’t understand anything that’s being said. You start to feel complacent and a little alone because you can’t sing with the brothrs and sisters you are fellowshiping with. You get disheartened wondering if you should’ve just stayed home and formed some sort of private worship service by yourself. At least then you could understand what was happening.

But then you take a breath, look around you, and know that God is there. People are raising their voices, lifting theirhands to the Father, kneeling to pray, and having intimate moments with our precious Savior. And then you realize it: You can’t understand any of the words, but you don’t have to know what’s being sung or said to praise our Lord. It’s all a matter of the heart. You can praise God anywhere you go as long as you take a minute to open your heart and have your sacred moments with Him. 

Dental Clinic with Dr. Bolding

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Wow, where to begin. The dental clinic was so wonderful in so many ways I’m not even sure where to start.

I guess I’ll simply start with meeting the Boldings. These are some special people. You don’t have to be in their presence for more than 5 minutes to know that they love the Lord, they have big hearts, and they are as genuine as they come.

I was blessed just to spend a couple of hours in a van from the airport back to Monjas with them, let alone a week working alongside them! When God reigns down the blessings, man, they really pour.

We started out early Tuesday morning up at PDLC, one of the communities GC Works has been affiliated with for a while now. The Boldings had 5 trunks filled with dental equipment. It was literally a traveling dental clinic. We set up the clinic in the local church building. We had a table as you walked in where the patients were asked a few questions before they went to sit against the wall in a line of chairs to wait their turn. Dr. Bolding would give them each a quick exam as they sat to see if they had any problems, then depending on what they needed, they would either be moved to a chair to get numbed up or they would come directly to the main chair for fillings. We had a wooden lawn  chair sitting on 2 stacked cinder blocks for that chair by the end of the day.

I got to learn how to be the “clean” person all day that day. That means I only handled clean instruments and got to be a little bit of an assistant to Dr. Bolding and his wife as far as grabbing what they needed as fast as I could. I also prepared the syringes with lidocaine and a needle!Yes, that means I was up close and personal with some of those extractions, folks! Let me tell you — 7 and 8 extractions in one sitting…Not something I could ever imagine myself watching or being a part of in any way, but the Lord does surprise. 🙂

Probably my top 3 favorite things about working closely with the dentist and his patients were these:

1. I got to see the gentleness this man and his wife. I got to see their hearts and hands serving these people they had never met. I got to see them working for the Lord through the gifts He has b lessed them with.

2. I got to use the little spanish I know to ask some particularly anxious women and children if they were nervous and if I could hold their hand. Connecting in that way is something I will never forget and something that can be done despite a language barrier. Hold a hand, people. Give a smile. It matters.

3. I got to work side by side with Timothy. He was the “dirty” worker that day and the stations were set up next to each other on a couple of benches. We got to share in a lot of things that day, including thinking about going to Dr. Bolding’s dental school to become dental assistants in Arkansas!

I can’t finish out this blog without mentioning how this 3 day clinic ended. On Thursday, our last day for the clinic in PDLC, some leaders in the community prepared for us “almuerzo completa” — full lunch. We knew this would be a treat before it even happened, but what we didn’t know is how it would move us. We were served jugo de papaya – papaya juice, some sort of vegetable chicken soup (fresh cut veggies in broth with an entire portion from a chicken, not nice boneless chunks), and more than enough tortillas. Delicious doesn’t even describe it, although the chicken part did gross me out…I’ll be honest. 🙂

At the end of the meal (this was the *real* treat), Augustine (we were at his house), stood up to share some words that were on his heart. He spoke about how blessed their community has been to have GC Works be involved with them, and how now we bring this great work into their community and how they are forever grateful. He said so much more..I wish I had written it all down…But I was just in tears…It was such a special moment to see God’s dreams for this community and the work of GC Works to come to fruition and to hear that what is being done is making a difference in lives…Wow. I felt blessed to just be sitting at the table witnessing it all.

After one other man and Gabor also said a few things, we were done. We shook some hands, gave some hugs, and the coolest thing happened. I walked up to the precious abuelita — basically like saying granny — and as our hands touched she looked into my eyes while she patted her heart with her free hand and said some beautiful things in spanish to me. I do not know what she said, but I know it was beautiful. I know she felt moved and I know I felt moved. I cannot remember what I said back to her…probably the only thing that seemed appropriate that I knew how to say in spanish which was “Dios le bendiga” — God bless you.

God bless Plan de la Cruz.
God bless the work of dentists.
God bless Global Community Works.

God bless us all.