Siete Altares (Seven Heights) – Day 48

My flip-flops were not going to cut it; I could tell within a few steps into our climb of the Siete Altares waterfalls. The uneven broken stairs made from multiple rocks were cutting through my thin, old, flimsy flip-flops. Don’t get me wrong, I love my flip-flops, but for this, I was wishing I had water shoes.

The first set of stairs were grueling, but the handrails really helped. The next section was a bit harder; one slip and you could fall into the cold water. Luckily, there was a rope tied across to the other side that you could use for balance. Two more set of broken steps followed, one went up and the other down. Again, handrails were there to help you along the way. I was beginning to think “This isn’t that bad. I can do this.” Oh ye, of so much pride…

There were several people in our group climbing the falls. The 6 in our group and about 4 others that rode on the boat with us. There was a family of 4 (a mom and her 3 kids from New Jersey) that also rode with us, but decided to stay behind. We were all pretty much staying together throughout the beginning of climb. Then as it got harder, the group started separating with Jake and I falling behind. Mostly me, but Jake was staying with me to help me. More because I didn’t want to be left alone not because he wanted to.

There were some parts of the path that were clearly laid out, others were underwater so you could hardly see them and still others that Jake kept saying were there, but I just never saw. I was so consumed with catching up with the rest of the group and just getting it all over with, I just followed the path Jake went. I was enjoying myself, but fear was definitely consuming me.

When we got to the highest point, there was this beautiful natural pool of water. We were all so excited we made it! Me more than anyone! We all had worn our swimsuits under our clothes, so we stripped down and went into the water; some dove off the top of the waterfall, others jumped in from the side, while others gently entered one toe at a time. You can guess which one I did? Don’t judge me! The water was freezing!!!

Once we were ready to go, I began climbing up, when everyone called out to me that we had to go back the way we came. What?? You’ve got to be kidding! It was the only way, so we went. I once again followed Jake and sure enough, we eventually fell to back of the pack. We could not remember what paths we had taken the way up, so we were basically feeling our way around again for the sturdy rocks so we wouldn’t slip and fall into any holes or lose our flip-flops which I almost did several times.

I was getting a bit frustrated at one point, wondering why I just couldn’t be fast like the rest of the group. Then a thought popped into my head, I hadn’t prayed this whole time. I never once asked God to guide my steps or show me which way to go. I didn’t ask Him to keep me safe. I, instinctively, did it on my own, or even worse, depended on my 13 year old to help me.

The rest of the way, I prayed. I still slipped, almost lost my flip-flops several times and finished last, but I made it and without the fear that was hovering over me before. Can you feel the lesson coming? There is always one, isn’t there?

Most of you who have followed me from the beginning of this Guatemala journey know that I am a planner and love to have things laid out and organized. I know that God has a plan, but I like to have mine, too, just in case. I am okay with plans changing (for the most part), but always like to have a plan to get me started. Like, when I heard the call to come to Guatemala, I planned to move here indefinitely. Or when those plans fell through, I had a plan of the lessons I wanted to learn and the questions I wanted answered, which haven’t happened either…The point is, I always have a plan, except for right now.

In 9 days, Jake and I will be back in the States and there is no plan. I don’t know where we are sleeping, where I will be working or even if we are to remain in Florida (some unexpected possibilities have come in to the mix as of the past 2 weeks). Even if I wanted to make a plan, which I do, I can’t come up with one. So, like I did at Siete Altares, I will just pray the rest of the way. Even if I slip, fall into a hole, lose one or both of my flip-flops, I will keep moving forward. Praying that He gives me the strength to get us where He wants us to be…but this time I will be helping and guiding Jake along the way not vice versa!

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4;12-13

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:10

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:3-4

The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:8

Amazing Race C.A. ’12 Part 2 – Day 47

Day 3 – Thursday, July 26 cont.

We arrived in San Pedro around mid morning and headed straight to the bathroom, of course! As each one came out of the bathroom, Ashley greeted us with this face of pure joy as she pointed down the hall to the Dunkin’ Donuts sign! The entire group minus yours truly are coffee fanatics. After the DD run, we went on a minor goose chase finding the most inexpensive fare to Copan. We finally found one, but the bus had already left the designated area, so we had to run to another stop to catch it.

The ride to Copan was a long one. It was about 4 hours and uneventful. Besides the video of me really into my worship music that will not make its way to FB if David values his life! LOL! We made it to Copan around 3pm. While we waited for David’s friends to get home from work, we walked around the center of town just browsing through all the shops. To all of our excitement, we found a smoothie shop, so we all stopped and had smoothies for lunch! YUM!!!!

As we continued to walk around, Jake noticed a young kid who seem to be following us. He didn’t look threatening at all and it isn’t uncommon for vendors to follow you around so I thought nothing of it.

When it was time to head to David’s friend’s house and where we would be spending the night, Jake was happy to know that we would be riding a Tuk-Tuk to the house. If you are not familiar with a Tuk-Tuk, it is basically a motorcycle that was converted into a mini-taxi. None of us with the exception of David knew what to expect when we reached the house.

The modest home had 2 small bedrooms, a small refrigerator, limited lighting and no running water. We knew it would be cozy so we all just decided to drop off ours bags and head back into town for dinner and decide on sleeping arrangements when we returned.

After dinner, we all sat in the park for a little while. As we sat there, Jake brought it to my attention that David was talking to the boy who had been following us earlier. Curious to know the conversation, we got up and heard David mention that he remembered the boy from about 3 years ago when he had been in the city with another missionary friend. He searched through the pictures on his phone and confirmed it was him.

His name is Jose. He is 16 years old and left home 3 years ago to work in Copan. He makes and sells jewelry to earn a living and to pay for his room that he rents. Later, David explained to us that the last time he saw him, Jose mentioned that his mom had just passed away and he had come into the city to make money. He has never attended school and does not know how to read or write, but has learned math for his business.

David and Ashley took a special liking to Jose and spoke to him about Jesus. He seemed to have heard it all, but said he was too young to worry about that. David explained that Jake is 13 and has been going to church most of his life. He explained that we are never too young. He didn’t seem very interested but was interested in our companionship. We hung out for a little bit. David invited him to a breakfast smoothie with us before we headed back to Guatemala and we parted ways.

Back at the house, David’s friend, Brian, was sleeping in his room and his uncle, Ramon, was sleeping on the floor in the living room area. We quietly got ready for bed and decided the newlyweds would sleep in the other bedroom, I would sleep on the couch, Jake on the love-seat, Ashley on the chair and David on the floor. David and Ashley were smart enough to bring a sheet, but the rest of us slept without. Funny part: I was a bit scared to sleep on the couch next to Ramon because shortly after we all settled into our spots, he began talking in his sleep saying he was going to kill someone. We all sat up laughing. It was funny, but a bit scary, too. He didn’t talk again all night. Thank God!

Day 4, July 27

At 5am, Ramon woke up to go to work. He could not find the keys so he kept yelling to Brian to help him find them. We all were quickly awake. Once he noticed we were all awake, he began to repeatedly say that the house was ours and there was food there for us to make breakfast. Although humorous how much he repeated himself, we were all floored at his overwhelming generosity. We did not want to use up any of their limited resources, so we did not eat there. Also, even though we needed showers, the only water available was rain water they had collected to shower with, flush the toilet and possibly wash their dishes with, so we all decided to forego the shower until we got to our homes later in the day.

Once we all were ready, we headed back to the center where we shopped a little and met Jose for our breakfast smoothie. After saying goodbye to Jose, the 6 of us split up into 2 groups and took Tuk-Tuks to the border. David, Jake and I were in one.

In our Tuk-Tuk there were stickers that said “Cristo Vive” (Christ Lives). David asked the driver if he was a Christian. He said he wasn’t Catholic so he considered himself a Christian. David proceeded to present the Gospel to him. We could see that he was really listening. He even mentioned how his wife is always wanting him to go to church with her, but he kept saying he wasn’t ready. I chimed in and told him that we are never ready which is why we need Jesus and the Holy Spirit to guide us.

After a few minutes of conversation, David knew he wasn’t ready to make a decision so asked if we could pray for him and asked his name. He answered it was Miguel. I asked his wife’s name. He said it was Iris and then asked if we could also pray for his 1-year-old daughter, Ariana. Of course, we would!! As David prayed, Miguel began to cry. We knew his wife has planted a seed and we had just watered it. Miguel did not make a decision to follow Christ, but we know that one day he will and we will see each other in Heaven.

We made it across the border with no problem and took our 2 final bus rides home. It was such an amazing, life changing, God-filled 4 days. We accomplished so much and, prayerfully, were also able to glorify the Lord along the way! I can’t fully express how great it was for us to take this trip with (practically) strangers, but God is so good and so faithful. He heard and answered so many prayers, we were flabbergasted!!

Jake and I are now back “home” in Zacapa and are preparing to head back to the States in 10 days. Although at times this summer has felt so long, it actually flew by! The last 3 weeks have been especially unforgettable; spending a week in Guatemala City, spending the last week with the team from Alabama and this week on our backpack adventure. God has shown Jake and I that He is always with us no matter where we are or what we do. He has also given us confidence to go wherever He is leading us to go next…;)

Amazing Race C.A. ’12 Part 1 – Day 46

Monday afternoon, I got a call from a friend asking if Jake and I wanted to take a few days to travel to other parts of Guatemala, Honduras and possibly Belize. The only catch was we could only pack a backpack each and our transportation and room and board would be kept to minimal expenses. Making sure it was ok to take off another week from teaching with Lucy, we agreed.

In order to make this story flow a little better and it be less of a novel, I will try to keep my commentary out (as much as possible) and will begin with an introduction of all the travelers.

Ashley: female, age 24, U.S. citizen, missionary in Zacapa, and fellow translator for the Alabama team last week
David: male, age 20, Guatemala/U.S. dual citizen, missionary in Zacapa, and fellow translator for the Alabama team
Jared: male, age 23, Chile citizen, full-time missionary everywhere, 3 week old groom, and Ashley’s friend
Paloma: female, age 23, Mexican citizen, full-time missionary everywhere, 3-week old bride, and Ashley’s friend
Jake: male, age 13, U.S. citizen, summer missionary in Zacapa, my son
Jennifer: yours truly

Day 1 – Tuesday, July 24

During my morning devotion, I prayed that we would have a great trip, but that the Lord would spare our comfort. I wanted our faith to be stretched. At around 8:45am, Debora drove Ashley, Jared, Paloma, Jake and myself to the bus terminal where we met David. We got on the bus to Puerto Barrios. It was about a 3 hour drive. We arrived mid afternoon and our first stop was…the bathroom! We then stopped at a little place for linner (late lunch/early dinner) of tacos. After a hearty meal, we walked to the dock and boarded a small charter boat for a 30 minute ride to Livingston. Livingston is a remote area that can only be reached by boat. It is a very diverse area. The diversity of the Guatemalan heritage was in full display; Mayan, African, European.

We checked into our hostel for the evening, Casa de la Iguana (House of the Iguana). The quaint little place was run by a bunch of British blocs. The rooms were separated in little dorm-like bungalows. Each bungalow had 1, 2, or 3 rooms. The 6 of us shared a room with 3 bunk beds and 1 fan. We shared 2 toilet stalls, a shower and a sink with the guests which stayed in the room above us. My prayers were being answered.

Once we checked in, we took an approximately 2 mile walk around most of Livingston just enjoying the culture and the beauty of it all. On our way back, we stopped at the dock to arrange our activities for the following day, then stopped at a small restaurant a local woman and man from the States owned. They were known for their pizza so we all ordered pizzas and shared them among all of us except for David who craved chicken, so he ordered Chicken Marsala. After dinner, we headed back to our room and all settled in as best as we could . Those of us on the top bunks did not feel the fan, but where blessed to have a semi-cool breeze come through the one window we had. Ashley had several ants in her bed, so she went to bed after fending them off.

Day 2 – Wednesday, July 25

Ashley is training for a half marathon, so she woke up early to get 6 miles in. David couldn’t sleep past 5am so he went for a stroll. Jake didn’t sleep at all so he was a tad cranky. The newlyweds went for an early walk and I stayed in bed as long as I could. We had to be at the dock by 9:30am, so we all gathered at the common area of the Hostel for breakfast. The common area had the dining area, the only bathroom with hot water, a book exchange bookshelf and an array of interesting characters, including the colorful native crabs. For breakfast, we all ordered either french toast, or an extremely large plate of fruits and granola with a few pancakes hidden underneath.

After breakfast, we checked out and headed to the dock where we boarded another small boat and headed to our first stop, Siete Altares (Seven Heights). Here we climbed waterfalls!!! It was so amazing! This was, by far, all of our favorite part of the trip! When we reached the top, Ashley jumped off while the rest of us decided to walk into the water carefully…it was FREEZING!!!

After Siete Altares, we boarded the boat and headed to Playa Blanca (White Beach). After Siete Altares, the beach was not impressive whatsoever. We had lunch there, then climbed on the boat and headed back to Puerto Barrios, where we walked to the center of town and boarded a bus to the Honduras border. At this time, we had decided not to go to Belize since the charter boat was super expensive. 

It was a short ride to the Guatemala/Honduras border. We first had to stop at the Guatemalan immigration office to check out. After a small hiccup with Ashley’s status which the Lord quickly cleared, we walked a little bit towards the Honduras immigration office to check in. After officially being approved to enter the country, we walked a little way to catch a bus or a taxi to our next stop, San Pedro.

After finding out there were no longer any buses  running for the evening and the only 2 taxi drivers refusing to take us on the 2 hour trip to San Pedro, we began to walk the 1 kilometer to a local hotel where we thought we could spend the night and catch an early bus. As we walked, David, Jared and Paloma  flagged down a pick up truck to drive us to the hotel. He agreed and, in true Central American style, we all climbed into the back of the pick up.

On the way, David (reaching around the side) tried to convince the driver to drive us to either San Pedro or to Cortez, which was on the way to San Pedro and only an hour drive versus the 2 hours to San Pedro. Our intention was to get to those towns sooner so we could have more time in Copan which is a great tourist area and our final destination, but too far to make it in 1 day. After some negotiation and camping out under someone’s front porch to shelter us from a sudden downpour, we agreed on a price for our new friend to drive us the hour to Cortez.

Once again, we all climbed  into the back of his truck. By this time, the rain had stopped. I suggested we pray. Everyone was aware of my request to the Lord to make our trip an uncomfortable one, so they all nominated me to pray. I agreed. I prayed for a safe trip and for the Lord to hold off the rain until we arrived at our destination. Although quite cramped and uncomfortable, we had so much fun. We sang every praise song we could remember in Spanish and English.

Our driver dropped us off at the bus terminal in Cortez, but when we arrived it was not certain that a bus to San Pedro would be coming so we decided to catch 2 taxis to a local and inexpensive hotel to spend the night. The hotel, Hotel Juan Griego (John the Greek Hotel), was also a quaint little place, but in a different way.

This place was like a normal hotel/motel except the owners, a man, his wife and their little girl, Sarah, lived there and there were no other guests. It was as if we were sent from Heaven to them. They were so accommodating. The rooms only had 1 full size bed, so we split off into twos; Paloma and Jared (of course), Jake and David, Ashley and myself.

After dropping off our stuff, we went out to find some dinner. We were told that if we walked a little way towards the beach area, we would find some food. It was a beautiful, cool evening with no rain in sight (Thank You, Lord!). We reached the beach, but did not see any open places, so we stopped and asked. We were directed to walk a little bit further and we would find it. We did find it…it was a carnival!! Rides, games and FOOD!! We sat down at one of the areas and ordered some yummy tacos!!! After dinner, we took a short stroll through the carnival and headed back to the hotel…If you hadn’t noticed, it had been a long day!! 🙂

Day 3 – Thursday, July 26

Ashley woke up early again and went for morning run. While she was gone, I began to document all of our journey thus far and was so amazed at all we had already done! It was so crazy!! Throughout dinner the night before, we all would randomly laugh thinking about what an adventure we already had been on in only 2 days!!

Once we all got ready, we said our goodbyes to the lovely family who owned the hotel and crossed the street to a very tiny place that barely fit all 6 of us in the outside (and only) dining area. We all ordered tortillas with either eggs, refried beans, cheese, potatoes or all the above. After eating our very large portions, we climbed on another bus to San Pedro, where we would catch another bus to Copan (there were no direct lines  to Copan from where we were).  The ride to San Pedro was only about an hour or so long, but something incredible happened on the way…Sorry, at this point, I can’t help but share my emotions.

As we were on our way on this crowded bus of about 22-25 people, Jared stood up. He excused himself for interrupting everyone’s trip, introduced our team and then proceeded to present the Gospel. This, normally, soft-spoken shy guy was standing there with confidence, speaking of the saving grace of Jesus. His words were not condemning nor intrusive, he was genuine, inviting and spoke like he just wanted them to get to know his good friend, Jesus Christ.

Tears streamed down my face. I was overwhelmed by his boldness to freely speak as he did. When he was done, he prayed for our trip and everyone on the bus and handed out a little pamphlet explaining all he had just said. Everyone had been so attentive to his words and now they were all quietly reading what he had handed out, including the little boy (around 7 or 8) who was sitting next to me.

When it was all back to its normal bus-filled volume, Paloma turned to me and said “that is my husband”. At that moment, I understood my tears. I, too, one day want to travel to different countries with my husband. I want to one day be proud of my husband for freely and boldly preaching the Gospel to anyone who will hear him! Oh, Lord, hear my cry!!

I think this is a good point for me to stop since my hands are super tired from typing and I am ready for bed. I will continue my trip narrative tomorrow. Hope you have enjoyed it so far!! Plenty of pictures have been posted on FB!

“She’s my wife” – Day 41

Soft spoken unless he is preaching the Word of God. Soft tempered unless his family or his God are being threatened. Always kind! Always sweet!

He came home after a long (and surely hot) day. A dozen pink roses in tow for his bride of 27 years. It wasn’t their anniversary or some special occasion; he wasn’t even in trouble. He bought them just because…

“She’s my wife” he cried out in his broken English. The pride in his voice made all the girls’ heart skip a beat. Where can I find one like that?, they all wondered. Are they still made with that same mold? Short in stature, but his heart the size of a giant.

As I often do, I prayed for my husband. Although I am not sure who he is quite yet, I can still pray for his heart. Last night I asked the Lord to fill his heart with love for me. Not because I need it, but because Jake needs it. Because my future children need it…and really because He commanded it.

We (I) tend to be jaded and lose hope that men like Ronny (Debora’s dad) even exist. We believe that even if they do exist, they don’t exist in our generation. That is a lie from the enemy! The very same God who made Ronny, made every other man, so every other man has the potential to be just as (if not more) loving and caring!

I’m not raising Ronny as an idol because he is fully human and has his flaws. He sins and fails like the rest of us; living in the same house for almost 2 months has allowed me to see that.  But knowing my heart, the Lord gave me such an example to remind me that the faith I had lost in men, was a loss of faith in Him. Just because men like Ronny are not the norm, it does not mean they are extinct.

So, I will be the first to apologize to my father, my brother, my son, and every other man in my life for losing faith, not in you, but in God. And I commit to you my prayer and my encouragement so that you may love as Christ loved!!

Side note: I am continuously amazed at the lessons the Lord is teaching me. Lessons I never knew I lacked, but He did! I praise Him for knowing my heart and knowing that I needed to be away from “it” all, so I would be able to hear Him clearly! All Glory, Honor and Praise to the Lover of my heart!!

Bittersweet – Day 40

It is amazing how quickly bonds can be formed in such a short amount of time when the same Heavenly Father is shared.

Jake and I spent the past week with a group from Alabama. The majority of the team was a youth group from Thomasville Baptist Church in Thomasville. I was 1 of several translators. We spent most of the week with them from the time they got here last Saturday to late last night while they did VBS at 2 of the local schools and evangelized through one of the neighborhoods.

Translating is always an exhausting job because it uses a lot of brain power and when you don’t use your brain as much,  it’s even more difficult (I knew someone would have a joke there, so I had to beat them to the punch.). However, the best part of translating is being able to help people communicate that because of a barrier cannot. We become a way to bridge the gap for them. Hmmm…kind of what Jesus did for us!!  God the Father can’t understand the words we speak unless we have invited Jesus to “translate” for us!

I love that Jake was able to experience what a week-long mission trip would be like. There is a sense of purpose and urgency that is much more evident in a week-long trip that can get easily lost in a 2 month trip. Also, he was able to connect with other kids his age and see Guatemala through their eyes. He also made connections with some of the adults. I love my boy, but he isn’t as quick to make connections as I am.

The lessons of this week went right along with the lessons the Lord has  been teaching me all summer…same Scripture references and everything! There were also a bunch of surreal moments, that I wouldn’t believe unless I hadn’t experienced them myself. The Lord was surely speaking!

As we said our goodbyes last night, I went around hugging everyone and felt as though I was saying goodbye to my family. I know the bond that is formed when I have come with groups in the past, but I knew most of them, so I didn’t expect this week to be the same since we didn’t know any of them. I guess it goes to show that when we are working together for the Lord, we are bonded by His love whether we know each other or not.

I know the friendships that were formed were genuine and I can only pray we can all see each other again, prior to Heaven!! Love and miss y’all already so very much!!!

18 days until we fly home…August 8th is coming up quickly!!!

Living Water – Day 34

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3

35 years old!! I just cant believe it!! Where did the time go?? The bright side?? I have been averaged at age 21…one of the many reasons I love Guatemala! LOL!!

Well, Jake and I returned from our mini vacation from the city yesterday. We would have stayed longer, but I am needed to help translate for a group that is here from Alabama for the week. They will be doing VBS in 2 locations; a small town where they recently built a church and at Elim, the school I have been teaching at. The group is a large one. They are about 44 of them and more than 30 are teenagers! Fun, fun! LOL!!

So far, it has been really fun! We went to 2 church services today, one in Zacapa at the Shalom, the church our Calvary team has worked with in the past and then in Conavisa at a church this Alabama team help build just last year.  I translated the announcements, the special presentations, Scripture reading and the worship (when appropriate). Debora translated the sermon. She’s much better at translating than I am.

Tomorrow we begin VBS in Conavisa. Then a small group of us will be visiting a local orphanage. Only 10 of us are allowed there, so the rest of the team will be evangelizing in the city! I am excited to be the translator of the orphanage team and excited Jake will be with the evangelism team. Please keep us all in your prayers as we bring the Good News of Jesus!!

Last week, was a great break. Jake had a blast playing with my friend’s son who is 11 and we both enjoyed hot water and the television in our room. However, it was great to come back to Zacapa. Although steaming hot…it has become home to us! We are excited about this week and what it will bring!!

We are heading into week 5…and as we get closer to heading back home, I can’t help but think of the transition back to the U.S. Please keep the following items lifted in prayer for us:

1. Housing – We are not yet sure where we will be sleeping when we return on the night of August 8 nor where we will be calling home. If you know anyone with some space that would allow us to stay until we are settled, it will be greatly appreciated. Also, a place that we would be able to rent for a longer term.

2. Job – I will be applying for different Home Health Aide position while I am here to see if I can get at least interviews lined up for when we get home.

I know the Lord has all of it worked out and will provide me the details as long as I continue to stay planted by His stream of Living Water!! All Glory to Him!! Questions or details of where, when, etc., please contact Jenny Dunlap at

Time – Day 31

Time flies.
No time like the present.
Time will tell.
Time heals all wounds.

Twenty years. So much has happened in 20 years. I graduated from high school. I ran away from Boston to Florida. I’ve been married, divorced, and became the mother of 3 children (although 2, Preston and Gloria, are in Heaven with you). Several failed relationships. Several great friendships. Mission trips. A discovered ministry. So many things that formed and made me into the women and the mother I am today, but nothing has changed the course of my life, more than the day you left this earth.

I remember that day and the short months leading up to that day not as memories, but as moments. Moments that could have easily happened earlier today. The moment you told me that you were having a “minor” surgery. The moment I laid in your bed to reassure you it would be okay to “let go”. All of the moments in between. So, many details about your life and death that I didn’t discover until several years later.

Those details now don’t matter. You left this earth and claimed your place in Heaven. You are walking with our Savior in a new body that gleams. Your only desire is to worship Him. How amazing is that? I am so jealous! I, still mourning you at times, selfishly wish you were here. However, just in the past week, the Lord has reassured me that this journey has been predestined for me and I needed to travel it without you beside me. The calling He has placed on my life has required and been inspired by each tear I have shed and every smile that crossed my lips.

I have missed you these past 20 years, but you have not missed me nor every milestone that I have reached. For, with my Heavenly Father, you see the whole picture. You see where I am headed and are excited for the things ahead. In your perfect emotion, you have laughed with me and hurt for me, and have been the encouragement it was often hard for you to be on earth.

How amazing that I may not have had the perfect mother on earth, but I do have a perfect mother in Heaven!! Praise You, Lord!  One day, I will be singing praises to our Savior right along with you! Oh, what a glorious day that will be! And it will be like no time has passed at all! I love you, Mami!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ,so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:30

Score – Day 28

Teaching English wasn’t the only thing on my agenda for this trip. I also wanted to minister to the kids I was teaching, but for the past month, I hadn’t really had the chance. I now see, that I may have not been seeing the opportunities placed before me…

Today, I had 4th, 8th, 5th and 6th grade (not all at the same time. THANK GOD!!). In 4th, 5th and 6th, I recapped some action verbs I taught them last time I saw them (like sit, run, jump, scream and the months). We also went over how to say when is their birthday. I guess, with my birthday in less than week, I got birthdays on the brain.

The 8th grade class went a little differently. I had them for 2 periods with their snack period in between. During the first period, we went over their homework and then went over verb tenses because they got the actions correct in their homework, but the tense wasn’t correct. During this first period, they were NUTS!! Screaming over each other, not listening…they were just all over the place. By the time the bell rang for them to go to snack, I was ready to kill them and praised the Lord for the break.

While they were on their snack, I prayed that the Lord would give me something to teach them that would not only calm them down for the moment, but also give them something to think about in regards to their behavior in general.1 Peter 1:15-16 came to my mind. This was the same verse that He brought to me in my devotion late last week and then again during Sunday School yesterday morning. I didn’t know what to do with the verse, but figured we could at least start by translating it.

I wrote the verses on the whiteboard. When they returned from snack, I explained that what written on the board was a Bible verse and as we translated it, we needed to remember that and show reverence for the Word of God. It worked!!!! For the most part, they were all attentive and participating.

We translated the verse word for word. Not in order. I asked the students to give me the Spanish words as they came to them. It was great. They were all working together. Correcting each other and not in the rude way they normally do. Once each word was translated, it didn’t read as exact as the Spanish version read, so I read it in my Spanish Bible so they could hear it properly. The next part, just came to me. Well, when I say “just came to me”, I mean the Holy Spirit gave me the idea.

I asked the students if they were holy. They shouted a resounding “NO!” I then asked if they thought they could ever be holy. Surprisingly, they also responded with a “no”. I said the verse we just translated said that we are to be holy because Jesus is holy so that means, and since the Lord never asks us to do anything we can’t do (without Him), we can be holy. I could see their brains churning.

I, then, asked who was the perfect example of holiness. They answered with an “obviously Mees Jeneefer” kind of tone, “Jesus”. Next, I said “for your homework”. Heavy sighs and groans all around. “I want you to tell me 1. do you want to be holy? and 2. what can you do or need to change in order to be holy?”

One student said “I don’t know how to be holy.” I asked the class what made Jesus holy. They gave me several examples. I explained that is how we are to be. Like they said, Jesus is the perfect example, so we can look to Him to know how we should be.

Jake was with me in all my classes today. He did everything the students were doing, but he would do it in Spanish. He couldn’t do much while we were translating the verse, but he has already started the homework. 

It was such a Jesus filled time!! I was so happy that what looked to be the beginning of a bad day, turned into a GREAT day! What a HUGE victory!!

Jake and I are heading to the capital early tomorrow morning to stay with some friends I made on my last trip here. It should be a nice break for us. When we return on Saturday, a team from an Alabama church will be here.  I will be one of their translators for them as they do VBS in the community and in the school. I am truly loving how the Lord is transitioning us into the second half of our trip! We have already been here a month! Can you believe it?? 

My Destiny, Your Hands – Day 26

As I mentioned yesterday, the lessons that have been learned these past 4 weeks have not been anything that I expected. I found myself last night feeling lost and really wishing we were back home. Writing in my journal has always been an outlet of mine. I confessed my disillusionment to the Lord and asked for His wisdom and guidance. This morning He answered my prayer! I love how He answers when we call!

I pray the following prayer and Scripture verses encourage you as much as they encouraged me!

◊ My Prayer to God ◊

Lord, I thank You that You have called me with a holy calling, not according to my works, but according to Your purpose and grace which was given to me in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:9). I know that Your plan for me existed before I knew You, and You will bring it to pass. Help me to “walk worthy of the calling with which [I was] called” (Ephesians 4:1).  I know there is an appointed plan for me, and I have a destiny that will now be fulfilled.

Help me to live my life with a sense of purpose and understanding of the calling You have given me. I lay down all pride, selfishness, and anything else that would keep me from moving into all You have for me. I don’t want to miss out on Your full purpose for my life because I did not walk the way You wanted me to. I repent of every day I haven’t fully lived for You. Help me to live the way You want me to from now on.

Lord, help me to understand the call You have on my life. Take away any discouragement I may feel and replace it with joyful anticipation of what You are going to do through me. Use me as Your instrument to make a positive difference in the lives of those whom You put in my path. Help me to rest in the confidence of knowing that Your timing is perfect. I know that whatever You have called me to do, You will enable me to do it.

I pray that nothing will draw me away from fulfilling the plan You have for me. May I never stray from what You have called me to be and do. Give me a vision for my life and a strong sense of purpose. I put my identity in You and my destiny in Your hands. Show me if what I am doing now is what I am supposed to be doing. I want what You are building in my life to last for eternity. I don’t want to waste time going after things that are not what You have for me. Help me to be content where I am, knowing You won’t leave me there forever.

Lord, I know that “all things work together for good” to those who love You and are called according to Your purpose (Romans 8:28). I don’t want to presume that I know what that purpose is. Nor do I want to spend a lifetime trying to figure out what I am supposed to be doing and miss the mark. So I pray that You would show me clearly what the gifts and talents are that You have placed in me. Lead me in the way I should go as I grow in them. Enable me to use them according to Your will and for Your glory.

◊ God’s Promises to Me ◊

Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:1-3

Be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.
2 Peter 1:10

You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:11-12

Whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Romans 8:30

– Excerpts from The Power of a Praying Woman

Day 25

I have no idea what to write. I keep wanting to be inspirational and deep, but I got nothing…

This week has been uneventful. Tuesday afternoon, what I thought was an allergic reaction to playing with kittens, turned into a cold that kept me home from school on Wednesday. I made it to school yesterday. Thursdays are my lightest days ; I have only have 3 classes. We had our weekly devotion/chapel which ran over and brought down my 3 classes to 2. And still not feeling well, those 2 classes were not eventful either.

Today, was a teacher work day so I got another day of rest at home. Our evenings have been uneventful with the exception of the occasional trip to the local market which is always an adventure!! No plans for the weekend and besides a possible trip to the Guatemala city next week, nothing planned for next week either.

There have been many lessons learned on this trip. None of which I had expected, of course. Most of mine have been in regards to my walk with Him and His design for my life as a Godly woman and mother. For Jake, I know things have been stirred in his heart, but those are things that I don’t even know about and maybe never will.

What we often have planned is not what He has planned and instead of being disappointed, I am learning to be grateful because His ways are always much better no matter how great we things ours to be!

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.