A different reality of life interrupted our time in the “God-space” of reflection and listening. Several of our rooms were broken into yesterday and there was a theft. The items taken remain missing. We are safe; we are thankful. Credit cards were cancelled, of course, so they were not valuable for very long and most purchase attempts were declined. It was a planned effort to take the items and the police have been helpful.
The words we spoke as we drove across the beauty of Guatemala are poignant now. I can still hear Rachel saying, “I have taken so many pictures in my mind; there is no way to capture all that is here.” We spoke of how excited we are to share the story with the church. We have ideas! We have plans! It makes me smile even to write about the passion. Nevertheless, at this moment, there are no longer any pictures. The artist who came with her heart inside the camera, goes home with those photos lodged in her spirit. I hurt for her loss and yet, I know that the camera cannot hold a candle to what the expression of God inside her holds. She is so beautiful; her spirit so incredibly beautiful. I am thankful that the images of Guatemala lodge in her heart, not only in the camera. The stories will still be told.
We had the opportunity to pray many times. We let the police know that we are a prayerful people. The team was fabulous…again each person adding their voice and gift to the experience. Steve, his strength, stature and attention to detail; Rachel (Mammagoose), her tears for the children she came to represent to our church family; Rachel (Rock), her insight and putting things into perspective; Chester, his gifted translation of our voice and our heart; and me, a discernment and wisdom with eyes to see. We navigated through it together. All important.
I am reminded of a poem I wrote many years ago as I was sharing some photos with some family members. It was a simple poem; possibly even a bad poem! I am surprised it is still in my head after all this time. Only a few fragments are in my head but they sound pretty loud right now:
Inside you’ll find a photograph
Of a memory you helped create
A snapshot of a place in time
You made from good to great
…… (many lines I can’t recall)
Should circumstance change or
the pages fade, don’t worry
or add a care.
A memory is more than a photograph;
Look in your heart and find it there.
Ironically, today is an interesting day of tradition in Guatemala. It is called, “La Quema del Diablo” or, “The Burning of the Devil”. At 6pm tonight a grand gathering will happen as the town “burns the devil” as a way of sending satan away and burning off the bad of the year in order to start the new year from the ashes that remain. This is part of the tradition of preparing for the birth of Christ. December 7th is La Quema del Diablo and tomorrow, December 8th, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We had several conversations about this December 7th event…before and after our experience.
We have gained a tiny bit of experience in the process of crime and police reporting and will gain a bit more cultural experience as the festival unfolds. Some experiences you welcome; some you humbly accept. I need all of this. Theft happens everywhere in the world. What is most important is that we are safe and that the story God is writing on our hearts this week continues to be shared.
I am inserting two links for those who want to read more about the two events mentioned above.
I end with this Scripture from my reading this morning in Colossians 3:15
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” May the week we have shared be used in whatever way God will choose. We have already received blessing beyond measure. Let it be.