Friday, January 09, 2009

in the midst of it all

well, it is now into january, and it has been five weeks since i have written... sorry to those of you who are still following :) however, we have had a very good, yet very busy past five weeks.

we prepared for christmas by making all of our gifts. usually christmas shopping finds me out quickly buying some last minute gifts as i search for presents that i think those i know will like, often settling for a generic one. this year, i truly found out though what it means when people say that they have more fun giving than receiving. as leslie, rachel and i had fun working on different christmas projects, it was a way to prepare not only the gifts but our hearts towards the true meaning of the season... jesus and those around us.

and some of those gifts left the beautfiul warm guatemala and traveled to the cold land of the united states as aaron and i left to have a couple weeks celebrating christmas, new years and my brother's wedding with my family. although we were sad to know that ironically we would be the missing family members in this years' christmas celebrations down here in guatemala, we truly had a wonderful and blessed christmas season. we were able to spend a week with hannah when she came down before we left and although we missed katie, ryan and jacob down here in guatemala, we were able to spend time with them for about half a day in the states as they returned to the states and we prepared to return here to guate. and for the eleiott family, we enjoyed not only the time with family and celebration of the season with lots of food, football and laughs (in true italian form...), but also welcomed carissa as a new member of our family as her and chris got married on january 3rd. it truly has been a blessing to watch the two of them grow closer to not only each other, but also closer to god as they have already traveled through these past few years together. what a testimony and encouragement it is to see a young couple seek after God's heart with a fervor and passion to see His will done in their lives.

monday brought us out of the 12 degrees in the chicagoland and back into the warmth of the dry season in guatemala. and we hit the ground running as we had clinic on tuesday, three pastors from the states came down on wednesday, a pastors' day for guatemalans yesterday, a small trip to the zona reina and then into the city as the pastors left today, and then look forward to a full day tomorrow with clinics and a wedding of one of our worker's sons.

i am reminded that for those of us who travel between two countries and two families, i don't know that it ever gets easier as i find myself again with strong feelings of both the difficulty of leaving family and life there behind and yet the happiness of returning to family and life here. as i have faced the fact that there are parts of my heart in both places, God has reminded me this week that He is not only the One who calls us, but also the One who provides the strength, grace, and courage to carry out that which He has called us to. Our time on this earth truly is so short, and as we have hopefully let our hearts and minds sit in a little bit over the past couple weeks, we not only say we believe in but also give our hearts and lives to following after a savior who was born in humility, received little earthly praise or recognition during the 32 years he walked this soil, and died a criminal's death on a cross, misunderstood and also finding himself somewhere between "here" and "there"... longing to be with his Father in heaven, yet being faithful to live out the purpose he was created for here on earth as he longed for the people around him to grow in the freedom that a relationship with him offers.

yesterday, we were blessed to have about thirty local pastors and their families and about twenty americans join in a day of ministering and encouragement. it truly was amazing to be a part of as we helped to fill up those faithful ones around us who work hard to serve well the people god has placed them as a shepherd over. they do this work in a land often times defined by its spiritual darkness and without the daily encouragement and filling of other believers that it is so easy for us to take advantage of in the states. as we all stood in the midst of our living room full of fifty people from two different countries, all worshipping our God in three different languages and crying out to Him from fifty different individual lives, we united over one prayer that rung out through the room as we verbalized our cries to Him. please open our eyes and our hearts to those around us... bring healing to Your people... unbind the hearts that are bound by fear and hurt... send down your Spirit and refreshment to a dry land and people... renew us... love us... save us... may Your kingdom truly come and Your will be done on this earth as it is in heaven.

i pray that as we each walk on in the midst of life, both in the good and the bad, the cry of our hearts may be that His will truly be done in our lives and on this earth.