I am back in Bolivia!! My time with IJM Guatemala came to an end on April 10, and five days later I left the country. After that, I spent 4 days in the U.S. attending a Global Prayer Gathering, and later I flew home.
The first day of that Prayer Gathering I found myself surrounded by more than 1,400 people from around the world, gathered to praise and pray to the God of Justice; the God that years ago set the Israelites free from slavery, the same God that made miracles in Guatemala rescuing children victims of sexual violence all last year, and the God I have been getting to know for the past 25 years. I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and I wasn’t even able to pray- Ironic, right? I could not pray in a Global Prayer Gathering.
As the day went by, I was broken by the stories of darkness that where shared in the main sessions. Stories of violent abuse, oppression, realities for so many people in our days that are so different from my reality: sexual violence, slavery, prostitution, destitution of their land, rejection, injustice. I just sat there and sobbed for hours. At the same time, and while sweet songs of freedom and restoration were sung, my burned out heart and soul were lifted up to this God. I was encouraged by the praises and prayers from 1,400 people who believed in the power of the God to whom we pray, sang songs and listen words like these ones:
The second and third day I was able to pray again. And my heart was filed with love from all the amazing people I got to see there: old friends, former intern friend, coworkers, all these amazing people that took time to show me love with big and small things (sushi for lunch or a quick trip to see the cherry blossoms). After those amazing days in the States, I flew to Bolivia.
I was nervous on the plane, but as it landed and I was able to see my sweet and lovely mountains, I felt that warm and full-of-security feeling that you can only feel when you are home.
I have been home for 20 days now. It has been a bitter sweet time. I have been able to spend time with my family (an afternoon with one of my cousins or all of them together!), go to church, see some of my friends and enjoy amazing Bolivian food. At the same time, I am missing friends and coworkers, frijoles and McDonald’s Chai. The thing is transitions are never easy for me. As I said in my last post, I am scared of the re-entry process. I have never been away from home for this long. I have no idea what to expect. How have I felt these past few days? What does reentry look like for me?
“When Peter, Edmund, Lucy, and Susan stepped out of the wardrobe (of Narnia), they were shocked to find out that no one seemed to know anything about the world from which they had just returned. In Narnia, they had experienced the breathtaking beauty of the place and its citizens; they had discovered things about themselves they had not known before; they had conquered evil; they had known love in new and different levels; they had met friends that had challenged all of their normal ways of thinking. They had been important people there. They had completely become a part of that world. So when they walked out of the wardrobe, they were shocked to find their changes were unapparent to everyone around them. When to the children, the changes they saw in themselves were so great that they were now almost completely different people.”
I feel like Peter, Edmund, Lucy, and Susan. I know that I have changed and I know that everyone around me has changed too. So I am just trying to adapt to a life outside of the wardrobe. I am pondering how my life was in Guatemala, I am taking time to rest, I am taking time to reconnect, and I know that my heart just needs some time to catch up with my body – here and now
Please keep me in your prayers as I walk through this new time, pray for a heart that can catch up with my body, for health, strength, wisdom; for a desire to seek for the Lord as I find balance between resting and getting connected again. And if you only pray for one thing, please pray for a heart that can transition well.