I started writing this post some weeks ago, and I think I just could not find the time to sit down and finish it, so when you read “a month” please think of “more than that by now!” Still, I want to share it with you-
I took a month off from social media, meaning: no Facebook and no blogging. I needed the time to stop focusing on missing home and being sad about all the things I am missing out on (family and friend’s weddings (lo siento Maya, Mau y Ga Bo), birthdays, babies coming to life, church, crazy fun staff done and said by the government –oh, wait, I don’t miss that!) Plus, somehow all the happy pictures made me sad.
I took a month without social media to invest in real life, to make new friends here in Guatemala. It was not easy, as it requires vulnerability on my side, and Oh ,how I hate that! Letting down my guard, making myself go to bible study and get the courage to ask if I could share something in one of the meetings, try to find a church and let people know my story. I am a good listener because I honestly care about people but sometimes I am a good listener because it is easier to listen than to talk and let people know me and all my flaws. However, life without social media was great. I had good conversations over a cup of coffee or fruit juice, I made my own happy pictures with people here, and I have been blessed with amazing friends. I mean, they are legit!
I am in the middle of month 5 in Guatemala and I am still adjusting – Yes, I am slow. I have been reading a bunch of blogs, a book, and articles about life as an expat, missions, cross-cultural life, and that kind of things. I found a couple that speak words of truth to me, like: What If I Fall Apart on the Mission Field? If you have ever lived abroad, or if you know someone that has, you might know that one of the biggest fears is knowing that living overseas will bring out all the bad stuff-and believe me, it does. I have found myself struggling with things I thought I had under control. Deep wounds I thought were completely healed, and fears I was certain I had overcome. (Please take 5 minutes and read that post, it would help you understand how you can be praying for me).
On a happier note, I had two friends that came to visit in July. I honestly can say I felt loved by them. They spent their money in plane tickets to crazy Guatemala, took the time to get to know my life here and just spent time with me. It is always good to have people that actually know me, know my background and can see how Guatemala is changing me- the good and the bad changes.
With them I got to go to the beach, and watch the Netherlands vs Costa Rica, and Argentina vs Belgium. We traveled to Belize and had SO MUCH FUN – except for the fact that I would wake up almost every day at 5:02 am even when I set up my alarm for 8:30. Oh, well. I had good times at the beach, with some worship songs, journaling and with me and myself until everyone else was up.
We had great conversations about faith, how does the church looks right now, how I think it should look like and how can we be part of making that happen? Challenging, yet refreshing. We share our testimonies, our struggles and our plans. And, of course we also talked about dating and love, and how does that affect or not the way we serve God and others right now.
I also got the great opportunity to go fishing with my family here. First time ever – and probably last, poor fish and I got sea sick. But I just love them so much and I really enjoy spending time with them. My aunt and uncle were celebrating their 21st anniversary, we also kayaked and made s´mores.
Then, I was back at the office and overwhelmed with work as we had so many things to prepare before a huge and important visit to our office. Gary Haugen, President, Founder and CEO of International Justice Mission, and a group of donors came. They talked to churches, local authorities, visited the offices, and participated on a ceremony to honored 24 girls and boys with pins that say “I am a hero.” They are brave survivors of sexual violence you can read more here: IJM President Visits Guatemala, Government Re-commits to Equip Police to Fight Sexual Violence
After that week I flew to the USA, to attend one of my best friends weeding. We have known each other since first grade! And she looked stunning! I am thankful to God because I was able to be there for here.
I also got to meet with some other amazing friends that God has placed in my life in different moments of life, and I am thankful that distance and time have not worn out our friendship, but every time I get to see them I am refreshed and encouraged. As Michael W. Smith says in one of his songs: “friends are friends forever if the Lord is Lord of them”.
So, to finish up with today’s post, here a thought: Investing in the place you are, and in the people you have around you is worthy. It is difficult most of the time, at least if you are an introvert –that attempts to be an extrovert- like me, or if your heart is full of fear of rejection because that is what you got from people sometimes. So please pray for me, so I can get over myself and my fears and I can step out in faith and invest in the people I have around me now.
“In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.”
I want to be that living sign.
Love to you all,