365 days ago


I took a pause from work and left my desk to fill my cup with hot water. I came back and kept drinking my lemon and chamomile caffeine free tea as I was replying to a friend’s email:  Now that I think about it, a year ago I was on a boat in Beni (Bolivia), translating for dentists and helping children that were affected by a flood, wondering what life in Guatemala would be like… now, I am almost done!!! After I wrote this sentence I paused for a long time. I took a sip of my tea, grabbed my phone and spent a couple of minutes looking at pictures from last year.

Ruth Bell

This is where I was 365 days ago!

Words (or one blog post) are not enough to express all the things that I have learned, lived and let go of these past 365 days. Well, technically that would be March 4th. I still remember the night I arrived in Guatemala. I was welcome with a bottle of Coca-Cola and an offer to go to Mc Donald’s for dinner, but I declined. I was exhausted. I wanted to take a hot shower and get in to bed as soon as possible. And then… no hot shower at the house I was staying at. That night I journaled: Wow! This is real! I am in Guatemala. It is 10:29pm (12:29am at home)… this is going to be fun!   (If I could talk to the girl who wrote that sentence I would tell her “fun” is not the word you were looking for.)  The next sentence read: Lord, I am here. Let your will be done. Please give me grace at the office tomorrow.

These 365 days have been fun, yes. But they have also been challenging, incredibly beautiful and incredibly painful. I have cried, and I have laughed. I have embraced the new and I have let go. I have learned to love and I have learned to let myself be loved. I wanted to let you all know that I am still alive, that I am still here. I am still living life in Guatemala, still serving with a team fighting against sexual violence toward children. I am still learning and I am still helping and giving as much as I can give from my abilities and my knowledge. What is coming next? I am still not sure. But you can pray for wisdom, clarity and financial provision.

“You do not have to go to the Congo or to Uzbekistan to change the world. You do not have to be brilliant to change the world- or wealthy or influential or a spiritual giant. But you do have to say yes to the invitation. You do have to be available and willing to be used, and you may have to pay the price that comes with following Jesus because changing the world and following Jesus is not easy, and it does not come cheap. There will be some sacrifice involved- there always is.”

Unfinished – Richard Stearns

I read that quote on the plane the first night I was in Guatemala, and I think it sums up 365 days in Guatemala in a pretty good way.

This is where I am at.

This is where I am at. At IJM Guatemala. Where every nail represents: a child that testify in court against her or his aggressor, a conviction, a prosecutor or psychologist trained!

Where were you 365 days ago?