The trip to Quetzaltenango changed many things, again. When you are trying to learn a culture you have to be willing to be changed over and over again. Going to the city where Chester, Adolfo and Doris all live was a blessing for me, even though it stirred more in me than I may ever have time to sift through. I experienced beauty, pain, friends, culture, mountains, pride, laughter, tears and ultimately a flood of God’s grace.
I was able to see Adolfo’s church as the band was having a late night practice when we arrived. His pastor, Juan Pablo, was there so it was nice to see him again. It helps to see people more than one introduction. By now I have seen Juan Pablo several times and in different contexts: Jacqueline’s baptism, the visit of he and Mario at La Toma and now in his own church preparing for weekend worship.
The air is cool. The vegetables grow in abundance and the city is surrounded by mountains. It is beautiful. Xela was meant to be a “little France” so the architecture and streets are exquisite.
When we arrived the students from the local university were making processionals (parade) which involves floats of all types and demonstrations of sarcastic humor toward the government and other leaders. Chester had told me about this so I was glad to see it for real.
We visited Doris in her home and I got to meet all of her family. We went to Adolfo’s home and sat at his kitchen table for tea and conversation. Adolfo and his wife open their home to so many. Their hearts are full of compassion for others. Visiting these homes was very humbling for me. And my heart began to open in a place I didn’t know was there. When I started to pray my words became few and tears emerged from that place in my heart.
I met Chester’s father and we had a great visit with him. He also knows a lot of history so l learned even more. It is great to meet all of these families. Being on a mission work site with people from a different culture is one thing. Being with them in their own setting and context – seeing family & friends, the places they go and live life everyday – that is so much more! I can’t begin to say how thankful I am to have this experience. It changes things – as it should!
I preach at Manuel’s church this afternoon (church happens at 3pm here). I’m nervous about it and also excited to have the opportunity. I’m so aware of what I don’t know… and how much I have to trust God every day to speak only what I am given to speak – no more, no less. I hope I hear that message well today because it feels completely vulnerable and risky to stand in front of a faithful people and preach the word of God in a culture where I cannot speak the language or begin to know the depths of their life experience.
Today I am struggling with the reality of things. Things like countries who have so much violence, poverty and hardship while I have so much. And things like no health care or limited health care and the impact of a society that has known too much war. Things like the long hot shower I can have any time I want at home, while others search for clean water. Things like how self-centered I am when it comes to just using up natural resources as if there is no shortage and it is all for me (the yucky reality). And things like tomorrow when I pack my bags and fly to Tennessee. What I hold and know is God’s amazing love, God’s amazing grace. I believe that is a good place for me to hold. It is what I’ve been given to hold. Let it be.
“The grace of God is sufficient for power is made perfect in weakness.” II Corinthians 12:9