Guatemala Bound x 2!

The Lord has Blessed me…well, let me say He ALWAYS blesses me, but this has been a special shower of blessings.

As you all are well aware, a large piece of my heart is in Guatemala and I have literally ached because I have not been able to go since last March. Well, the Lord has heard my cry and is allowing me to go TWICE this year!! Isn’t He awesome???

The first trip will be from June 25-July 5. I just got word of this trip this week! I will be going with the local leaders as their translator. The team, which will arrive a few days later, will be doing a mini-VBS and mini-medical clinic.

The second trip which I had signed up for will be from October 21-28. This will be an Encouragement and Evangelism trip. The cost of this trip will be approximately $1,500. If you feel led to do so, I would be extremely grateful for your financial support towards the October trip. We all know that whenever we are on the path the Lord has for us, the enemy attacks, but we serve a MUCH GREATER God, so in addition to your financial support, I covet your prayers during the next few months!

Donations can be made out to Thomasville Baptist Church and can be either be mailed to me or directly to the church. If you send it to the church, please include a note that specifies it is for Jennifer Sanabria’s trip to Guatemala, October 21-28, 2014.

Jennifer Sanabria
656 Old Hwy 5 N
Thomasville, AL 36784

or

Thomasville Baptist Church
210 Wilson Ave.
Thomasville, AL 36784

P.S. If you are wondering where Jake will be during my trips, he will stay here in Thomasville with some friends. He is very active in the theater team (both in school and community) and he is also part of the sound/technical team at church, so he will be well occupied! ūüôā

Life Altering

Sometime in late 2011 or early 2012, the opportunity was offered for members from Thomasville Baptist Church in AL to participate in a mission trip to Zacapa, Guatemala. Each person who was sensitive to their desire to go either chose to pursue it or chose to ignore it. Some who had been to Guatemala were eager to return and others were eager to visit for the first time; either way each person had some kind of expectation of what was in store for them.

About a ten-hour drive away in Belleair Bluffs, FL, a mother and her son were also planning a trip to Zacapa, Guatemala. Unlike the TBC team who was only planning a one-week stay, this mother and son team were planning on staying for eight weeks. They packed all of the belongings they would need for their trip and either sold, donated, or stored everything else. They knew that upon their return from their summer adventure, they would be starting anew.

By divine intervention, these two teams met on July 14, 2012 in the Guatemala airport when the mother and son team, who had already been in the country for a month, would serve as translators for the TBC team. They had never met nor even knew that the other existed until that very moment. And at that moment, a ripple effect began.

Within a few days, a bond had developed, friendships were made, hearts were stirred and plans were being made. By the end of the week, the mother and son team were considering moving to Thomasville, AL. And a little over a month later, they did just that. Now, a year later, those friendship continue to develop, hearts are still being stirred and plans have been met and new ones are emerging.

In late 2011 or early 2012, both of these teams did not know the other existed. They did not know that their individual decisions to visit a town in Guatemala at a particular time would be the very encounter God would use to make His plan to come to fruition. Yet, in order for this plan to be realized, each individual needed to be sensitive and obedient to the impression made on their heart. Without either the sensitivity or the obedience, we are not certain as to how this story would have played out.

When making a decision, how often do we consider how it may affect the world of the people already in our lives? How about the people we haven’t even met yet? What if each of our decisions were a piece to a much bigger plan? Although we can never be sure what sort of impression our decisions will make, ¬†we can be certain that at any given time, any of of our decisions can be life altering.

Home, Sweet Home!

Being home is wonderful! The comfort of being in your own home, sitting on your own couch, the freedom of knowing your surroundings is indescribable. I guess living in a hotel room, out of a suitcase and being limited to going out only if someone comes and get you can make you appreciate being home.

I moved to Florida in 1997 from Boston. I was 19 years old and, if I am completely honest, running away from “home”; It really wasn’t home anymore. I wasn’t happy where I was or even felt like I belonged anywhere. Living at different friends houses for about 6 months; I was homeless. So, moving to Florida, starting anew, felt right.

Although I was a Christian at the time, I wasn’t walking with Lord. I had lumped Him with the people who had (in my eyes) disappointed me and felt He had nothing to offer me. I guess to an extent, I was running away from Him, too.

Now, 14 years later, I am making plans to leave this “home”. Not because I am not happy here or because I don’t feel like I belong. I’m not running away from the Lord this time…I am running to Him!

Being away from home is difficult. I know being away from what has become our home here in Florida will also be difficult because I still often struggle not being close to family and friends who are still in Boston. Yes, God can use whatever circumstance we put ourselves in to His Glory, but unlike my move to Florida, I have comfort in knowing that this move is ordained and Blessed by God.

As our move date has moved to June, 2012, we will be organizing more fundraisers and would appreciate any suggestions, help and prayers. Also, please consider how you can help support our ministry either with a one-time donation or a monthly commitment. Thank you!

 

When we are Available!

I haven’t had as much computer time as I thought I would so I haven’t been able to post anything all week. I find myself with sometime, so I will do my best to do a recap now. Sorry if this is long, but there have been so many God moments I want to share as much as I can, so here goes:

I came to Guatemala with not many expectations because if I have learned anything from past trips, the keyword is¬†flexibility. I knew coming to this time would be different because I didn’t have a set minute by minute agenda or anyone to really do anything with. (Yes, I never meet a stranger and I could easily tag-along with people, but in my insecurities, I don’t like to¬†bother¬†anyone.) So, lesson number 1: Being a missionary can be lonely. People have told me this, but to actually experience it is a different story.

I am grateful I was able to experience this on a small dose because, although difficult, it is a reality of being in a new country!

Lesson 2: It’s good to have plan, just don’t be disappointed when things don’t go as planned. I knew I may not be able to get much done, so I wasn’t surprised when I wasn’t even able to open a bank account. My passport wasn’t enough…I needed a letter from immigration and a utility bill. The utility bill wouldn’t be so hard to get, but ¬†I wasn’t able to get to the immigration office, so I wasn’t able to open account.

I also wanted to go visit places to live and Jake’s school. Yesterday, a new friend took me to the neighborhood where the school is. We were able to drive onto the grounds, but did not have time for a tour. She also lives in that same neighborhood so I was also able to see what we could expect when we are looking for rentals.

Lesson 3: Network, network, network. Participating with the 2 mission teams that were here working with the church allowed me to interact with the families from the church and the community. I was able to meet the Pastor and his family, but with all that was going on, (understandably) I didn’t get to spend much time with them. However, I was able to get to know a few people who gave me awesome advice and offered help us with the move and getting acclimated.

Lesson 4: I have a passion for nursing.¬†This isn’t a surprise to me or to most people, but I love having the reminders every so often.

I was able to go into a hospital yesterday to drop off something items for a friend of the person I was with. The mom was spending the night with her son who had surgery earlier on his cleft palette. The hospital was a small Catholic hospital (nothing compared to the larger hospitals which are all over, but very expensive.) The room was a large room with about 8 beds. It is intended to be a pediatric surgical recovery room (mainly for children who had cleft palette surgery), but the other units were full so an older woman in a coma was placed there. It was pretty crowded.

A baby next to the little boy we were visiting was crying. He was so sweet! His mom was holding him, trying to console him, but nothing was working. Seeing them there, with their moms next to them consoling, praying, loving on their children, made my heart break. I tried to hold back my tears, but I couldn’t. I wanted to do something!

Lesson 5: God does speak, we just have to listen. My ultimate goal was to receive word from God as to when we should make the move; I needed to know if February was my timing or His.

Earlier in the week, I was able to spend some time with a friend I had met on a previous trip. She mentioned that coming in February would not be wise because it may require Jake to repeat a grade  since it would be the middle of the school year. She suggested we wait until June. This would also allow us time to find a place we are both comfortable with, get settled and then Jake could start the new school year with everyone else.

I can’t say this advice wasn’t a tad disappointing to hear, but it was an answer to my prayer. Although the thought of moving in June instead of February had been introduced, I did not want to only lean on that advice and asked the Lord for further confirmation…which I received from numerous people who gave me the same advice. Yesterday, I believe was the concrete confirmation I was looking for. I was able to spend time with someone who’s children are in the school and had recently moved here from the States herself. She provided TONS of advice and specific details we need to move forward.

I know this still requires alot of prayer, but I feel peace in knowing Jake will get to finish out the school year at home, we will have more time to raise funds and I will be able to continue to serve and hopefully grow the post-abortion ministry at Calvary.

God is good ALL THE TIME! As long as we are available, He will reveal Himself and His plan for us. He is so Gracious to allow us to experience things in small doses so we are better prepared when the larger dose comes our way.

I may not have been successful in completing all I set out to do, but I did try to make myself available to Him. However He chose to speak, I wanted to be able to listen.

The trip isn’t quite over yet…I get to enjoy worshipping with the Vida Nueva congregation tomorrow, and then hopefully spend some times with friends before heading to the airport early Monday morning. But today as I sit here, I have a chance to look back at the week and see His hand over it all, and all I can do is PRAISE HIM.¬†I PRAISE HIM for speaking to me. I PRAISE HIM for making this trip a time for He and I to spend time together. I PRAISE HIM for the uncomfortable times. ¬†I PRAISE HIM for being with me throughout this week! I PRAISE HIM FOR MY SALVATION AND HIS GRACE!

My bags are packed!

In less than 12 hours, I will be on my way to the airport…Guatemala bound! This trip will only be for a week. The details of this trip are to primarily help out Vida Nueva’s Bilingual VBS in the mornings and in the evenings there will be a soccer camp. In addition, to serving with the church, I will be looking for a place to live and a school for Jake. But even beyond that, this trip is for clarity.

I am a planner at heart, so last night, I had a hard time sleeping. In my anxiety, I kept repeating “Do¬†not¬†be¬†anxious¬†about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”¬†Philippians 4:5-7¬†I know I have nothing to worry about “because He who is me is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4), but I am finding myself repeating that verse over and over again.

I know His plan for me and Jake has already been written and I pray (and ask you to pray along with me) that He will reveal more of the details during this coming week. I have no doubt the plan is for us to live in Guatemala and I, believe, we are to move in February, but my prayer is for the Lord to confirms that timeframe.

Jake will not be with me so I also ask you pray for him. We have been apart on other occasions, but it is never really easy.  Please pray for my friend, Wendy, as he will be staying with her while I am gone. Also, keep all of the other folks who have graciously volunteered to help out with Jake this week. Thank you!!!

Lastly, I ask you to pray for the people and the country of Guatemala. Pray for those who we encounter to accept, believe and confess Christ as their Savior.

It is going to be a great and exciting week! Thank you all for your prayers, encouragement and support!

P.S. I will do my best to post everyday.

Back to the Beginning…

I must admit, I have been in quite a funk today. I have felt this wave of discouragement and failure kind of like suffocating me. I have been seeking all day encouragement from outside sources knowing full well that my only encouragement and lifeline from this sense of drowning is my God and what His word speaks to me.

For some stupid reason, I did not go to the Word, but as Our Loving Father so often does, it came to me…

When I first felt the call to move to Guatemala and was telling people of this crazy idea, two beautiful people in my life (who do not know each other) gave this me the same verse. That verse was such a relief to me. I was free in that verse! It gave me peace in knowing, I will always have just enough (of everything) because my flesh would taint anything more. Now, that I feel like I am fighting to survive, His words ring true once again and remind me of my original request:

8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; 
   give me neither poverty nor riches, 
   but give me only my daily bread. 
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you 
¬†¬†¬†and say, ‚ÄėWho is the LORD?‚Äô¬†
Or I may become poor and steal, 
   and so dishonor the name of my God.
Proverbs 30:8

When God Speaks!

Last night was our second fundraiser. It was such a blessing to see everyone. Jake and I are truly Blessed! Thank you all to those who attended, and a special thanks to those who helped out, especially Debbie Tatem. She is truly a God-sent!

During last night’s dinner, it was mentioned alot how I heard the Lord. How He has called us to go to Guatemala. At one point, Jake asked me, “how do you know you are hearing from God and not just crazy?”. I heard him say it, but with all of the commotion going on, I didn’t answer him. So, he asked me this morning.

I told him I, honestly, don’t know how to explain it. I said that sometimes, it is a clear message that you hear or feel compelled to do, but others times, you really have to pray through to make sure it is His voice. Ultimately, you get to a point where you can better discern His voice, but it isn’t always definite (at least for me in my walk at this time).

I’m not sure if that is the best answer, but it was the best answer I had. I will be praying for God to give me the better answer though and pray for God to speak and let His presence be clear to Jake…gotta love that boy is seeking!!! PRAISE GOD!

If you were not able to make it last night, and would like to donate, it would be GREATLY appreciated! You may give online or mail a check to 3025 Los Altos Drive #1, Belleair Bluffs, FL 33770. Checks can be made out to me, Jennifer Sanabria, or can be made out to Calvary Baptist Church for tax deduction. Thank you!

Sneaking up fast!

Not only is my “logistics” trip to Guatemala coming up fast, but our second fundraiser is coming up fast, too! Have you RSVPd?? Have you invited your friends? It is a great cause!! ūüôā

This fundraiser will be a dinner/silent auction at Bascom’s Chop House on Thursday, November 3 at 6:30pm. Please be there at 6:30 so you can bid on the silent auction before dinner starts. Along with dinner and the silent auction, we will also have a slideshow and a short presentation of what our trip will entail.

We have several great silent auction items, but if you have anything that you would like to donate, we would GLADLY take them. Ideas are designer bags, jewelry, paintings, sporting event tickets, photo sessions, consulting services (accounting, law, insurance, etc.).

The cost for the event is $30 per person. Cash only, please! Also, please bring cash for the silent auction, but checks will also be accepted. No credit cards, please!

If you are interested in attending or donating to this event, please contact me at sanabriaj26@msn.com. Your prayers are also very much appreciated!

Free will…who says it’s free?

Everyday we are faced with decisions. Everything is a choice. We choose every step we take and every word we speak. We choose to react or not to react at all. Even when we are not consciously choosing, we are choosing. This is what is called “free will”. It’s a God-given gift.

This week, like every other week, I made bad decisions, but this, not like any other week, I chose to sulk in my defeat. Not necessarily wallowing, but “examining” why I did what I did when the answer is quite simple; I am not perfect and will not always make the best decisions. The part I forgot though, was that God already knew that.

He knows I am human and will make mistakes (sometimes the same ones over and over again), but He loves me anyways. My successes and failures do not determine how much He loves me or how He sees me. He always sees me the same…I am His daughter. He hurts when I make a bad decision, but it doesn’t change or alter His plans or love for me.

Knowing this truth should give me comfort. I should not feel bad when I make a mistake because, well, I’m human and it’s part of my DNA, but that isn’t the case. Because I know this truth, I want to do better, be better, live better. And in turn, I have another choice…

When I fall short (and it’s guaranteed I will) what will I choose to do? Will I hide and try cover what I’ve done? Will I justify my reaction? Will sulk in my defeat?

I already admitted, this week, I chose to sulk in my defeat with the cover-up of “examining” my behaviors. I, subconsciously, chose to entertain twisted truths of “I will never be good enough” and “I don’t deserve to be used for anything good”. Those statements are true:¬†I will never be good enough and I don’t deserve to be used for anything, but God doesn’t see me like that, He sees me through Grace.

So, instead of hiding, covering, justifying or even examining where I made a wrong turn, I can just go to Him say, “I messed up, can You show me why and how I can avoid doing this again?” And the Awesome part? He will!

Choosing to come clean and admit I made a mistake isn’t the easiest of the choices and sometimes requires alot more of us, but who said free will would actually be free? After all, the Ultimate Price was paid on a cross over 2,000 years ago!

It’s Time…

Beloved, it’s time we crawled up into the Savior’s lap and
receive His lavish acceptance.

It’s time we quit trying so hard.
It’s time we relent of questioning of God’s motives.
It’s time we identify with Jesus’ sacrifices for us.
It’s time we fully believe in Jesus’ forgiveness.
It’s time we renounce trying to surrender and just do it.
It’s time we put an end to resisting God and begin resting in Him.
It’s time we dump what we’re not and reach for who God is.
It’s time we plant our feet firmly on God’s promises.
It’s time you and I delight in God.
Maybe it’s time we type this out and tape it to our mirrors
to remind us: It’s time.

-Excerpt from Tammie Head’s Duty or Delight?