Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wrecked Still...

Well, we're back from our missions trip to Guatemala and trying to get back into the swing of "regular" life. The trip was way too short for us to emotionally grapple with everything we needed to while there. So now, we all keep revisiting different issues and emotions and processing and praying through things together. The word we keep coming back to is "wrecked." People have asked us to share about the trip, but to be honest we don't really know how to put the experience into words. Let me start with the praises...

Our travels were safe and without complication. One couple on the team missed their flight and had to arrive by way of LA, but finally made it the next morning. No one was injured or sick while there. We all received the food and nutrition we needed and had warm beds to sleep in at night. God was able to use the resources and talents we brought with us to accomplish several things including a mini-makeover in the baby house, new paint in one of the teen boys' houses, new meds in the clinic, new shoes on some feet, craft and story time with the toddlers, doing nails and hair with toddlers and older girls, and helping feed and care for the babies. We experienced a beautiful church service with freedom in their worship like I've never seen before and sat in on youth group and a school music class.

Even with all God allowed us to accomplish, we felt very inadequate when compared to the vast needs at the orphanage and the country as a whole. We saw some of the destruction from the recent natural disasters and the extreme poverty the country deals with every day. In one view, we could see the poverty in the valley, and the great wealth in the mountains above. The staff at the orphanage are doing an amazing job with the resources they have, but they need so much more. The delays in the development of the children are very evident, and there are nutrition deficits. But the saddest thing for me was looking into their eyes and seeing a detachment there that is indescribable. If you can engage them, their whole face lights up. But many times there is just a stare with...uncertainty or fear, I'm not sure which. It's as if strangers come and go so much that they don't want to attach themselves emotionally to anyone.

God allowed us to get "close" to a few of the children, including a 2 yr old little girl who we'll call Y. We would love to bring her home one day, if at all possible. As well as a 3 yr old little boy we'll call J. We also were able to form relationships with a couple of the house parents and plan to continue to keep in touch and support and pray for them. They asked us to pray for loneliness and acceptance among the other staff, more male house parents to give the children a father-figure, health concerns, and of course the children.

We still are shedding tears off and on as our hearts ache for the little ones we left. We're grateful for all He's given us here in the States, but we would love to be able to share it with them.

The pictures tell the story probably as well as, if not better than, we do. If you would like to take a look at the pictures, we'll have them up on our Facebook page in the next day or two (!/pages/Higher-Ground/62792533430?ref=ts). Thank you so much for your prayers.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Day 3 of the trip: The word for the trip is "wrecked". It's heartbreaking to see these children in need of fathers and a real home with a forever mommy. Courtney (and thus I) broke down last night as her heart broke for these little ones. I feel constantly in a state of near-tears, but also at the same time want to give these children fun, love and laughter while I can. We've talked about as sad as it is for us to see what these children are lacking, they have FAR more than many, many others in Guatemala. When we arrived at the airport, a little boy no older than 6 (if that), asked to carry our luggage so he could make a little money for his family. He just wanders around the airport asking to help all day.

God has answered so many of our requests while we're here. He's given us weather that's not too hot, taken care of Robbie's arms, allowed us to really serve, and opened our eyes a little more to the needs of others. Our major goals were to be selfless servants and to build a relationship with at least 1 person that went below the surface. I've been able to encourage the English-speaking staff members, but it's been hard with the Spanish-speaking staff.

The most frustrating part for me of the whole trip has been the inability to communicate well with so many of them-staff and children. Many know a little English, but still I can't understand what they're saying to me or each other. It's been really difficult. Of course, the kids don't care, but it kills me. So I'm praying that God will release me from this barrier I'm feeling and allow me to feel effective despite this barrier.

Thank you for your prayers and support. Only 2 more full days left. It's going very quickly.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


We're going to try to blog while we're away, but we may not have a chance until we get back. We appreciate your prayers for safety, good health, and that we will stay strong the whole time we're there. Also pray for servants' hearts in each of us.

Heading out

It's been a bit of a roller coaster this past week. We've been preparing our hearts and lives to serve the precious orphans at the Casa Bernabe orphanage in Guatemala since last fall. All the funding came in, the passports arrived in plenty of time, and we were all set to start the packing when the country was hit by not 1 but 2 natural disasters in a matter of a couple of days! The Pacaya volcano (about 20 miles from Casa Bernabe) erupted and spit lava causing the area to be covered in ash. Then just a couple of days later, there was tropical storm Agatha, which was responsible for well over a hundred deaths in Guatemala. The storm also caused the black ash to harden into a concrete-like substance.

At first we were pretty sure we weren't going to be able to make it, then we were, then not so sure. Now, it looks like the airport will reopen, and it will be safe for us to travel into Guatemala on Thursday.

So I'm thinking about these disasters and the people who have lost their homes and/or their families. It reminded me of Job and how God allowed Satan to take everything away from Job. God knew Job would continue to remain faithful to God. Job lost his land, his living, his children, and his health. If I was in Guatemala with my family, and they were taken from me in an instant, I think I'd be devastated. If He also took my way of living, my home, and my health, would I want to go on living? Would I remain faithful to God? I hope I would, but I don't know. Thankfully, I've never had to suffer that kind of loss, so I really don't know. I hope I would remember that Job stayed faithful, and God rewarded him with more blessings for the rest of his life than he ever had before. But I don't know. What about you?