I have been coming to Guatemala with my church since 2011. It was first a place God sent me. I went in answer to a prayer when I asked, “Do you want me to go?” And what I heard, in the way my heart as learned to hear how God speaks to me, was simple and direct: “pack your bags; you are going to Guatemala!” Many missions, visits and deep friendships later, it is a second home to my heart. I am still learning the “why” of that and I’m quite sure I am missing most of it. What I do know is that it helps me to be with the people. They help me remember who God created me to be. It is not that this does not happen at home; quite the contrast! My church family and all those around me call out the person God called me to be. But what it does mean is that somehow I am incomplete without seeing, knowing and being with God’s people all over the world. I have come to peace with that part of me.
In that first visit of 2011 our mission team spent the last night in Antigua. I found a book titled, Lent and Holy Week in Antigua, Guatemala. The author is Elizabeth Bell. I devoured that book and have turned to it many times during my personal Lenten preparations just to get a taste for Christ in other cultures. And now…seven years later, I am experiencing what I’ve read and wondered about for quite some time.
So I am here. And ready to see all God has to teach me along the way. Praying that it shapes me and molds me a little closer into the image of Christ.
The photos are from La Iglesia de la Merced. The backdrops are prepared new each year with the expressions that particular faith community creates. The adoration of carpets made of flowers, sawdust, vegetables, etc. are both the creation of the church family and also their offerings of the best of their land for this seasons.