Guatemala

Trey leaves for Guatemala today!

While we are busy packing and getting a few things in order here at our house, I did want to take the time to ask for prayer and keep you guys in the loop.  Trey is leading another mission team to Chichicastenango, Guatemala.  It will be his fifth time participating in this work.  The focus of the week will be building homes for widows, installing stoves in existing homes, and serving in feeding centers for orphans, as well as any other projects as needed.

(Psst- Learn more here.)

Can you tell why he loves it…? :)

guatemala

Oh for the LOVE, people.

(Oh for the LOVE, people.)

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Guatemala is a beautiful country with a beautiful culture.  It’s hard to comprehend… looking from the outside in… just how many widows and orphans are living among its vibrant countryside.  It’s also hard to comprehend the reason why: a 36-year civil war that devastated the country in the latter years of this past century.  It is estimated that somewhere around 200,000 people lost their lives (or disappeared), leaving behind a tremendous amount of abandoned children, orphans, and widows.  (You might have even seen in current world news about the ongoing Guatemala Genocide Trial against the nation’s former dictator, now 86 years old.)

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(my “artsy” photo from 2010)

Even worse than the physical poverty is the rampant spiritual poverty here, a blend of Catholicism and traditional Mayan beliefs that confuses, distorts, and leaves no room for Truth or the knowledge of the one true Hope that any of us have…  But God’s heart is close here, to these people, and greater things are still to come.

Guatemala is a special place for us, one that we have grown to love through relationships we have built there, as well as the many opportunities God has given us to serve there.  (One of these years we will go at the same time!)

To link this mission with our adoption process, one cool connection that has happened within the past year is that our adoption agency (Bethany Christian Services) has actually developed a partnership with this same organization in Guatemala that our church sends teams to (Pray America).  So it’s been really neat for us to see these two organizations working together.  While they also support social-service initiatives, such as foster care and in-country adoption programs, a big part of what Bethany is doing here involves a sponsorship program that exists “to provide nutrition, clean water, safe housing, education, literacy programs, and spiritual formation for children and families in rural Guatemala.”

Alongside their adoption programs, this is one of the things I greatly appreciate about Bethany: their efforts in family preservation.  The focus here is not to adopt children out (Guatemala is not currently an “open” country for adoption anyway) but rather to preserve and empower the family unit that exists.  Obviously adoption is a huge need around the world, and it’s absolutely what’s “best” in tons of cases — but not always.  Much like the rehabilitation center in Kenya that our church has a partnership with, the point is not to remove the children from their country.  (Making it different from an orphanage.)  The goal, instead, is to rehabilitate and develop these children to become Godly, productive members of their own communities.  Similarly, with the partnership between Pray America and Bethany, they want to help educate and develop these families, in a relational way, that will put them on a path toward self-sustainability and becoming more physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually “whole.”

(To quickly clarify: When I say that adoption is not always what’s best, I’m not talking about adoption ethics, corruption, and best practices… at least not yet.  I see a TON of this being talked about all over the place right now, particularly in international adoption circles, but it’s definitely not something I’m going to tackle today!)

Getting back to Trey’s mission, I do think it would be a neat opportunity if Trey were to encounter any Bethany staff while he’s in Guatemala this week (even though we are adopting from the U.S., through their domestic program), just to see them in action and hear more from their perspective on the work being done in this part of the world.  But of course it’s not his primary reason for going, so that’s not where his focus will be.  The mission at hand is always a privilege to be part of, and it never fails to leave people changed…  It is SUCH an honor to be part of this ongoing work with Pray America in Chichicastenango: to share the love of Christ with His people there, to love on some beautiful children, to build a foundation for a relationship with God as the physical foundation of these homes are laid, to plant and water seeds of those who have gone before and those still to come…

This particular team is REALLY great, y’all, and I couldn’t be more excited for them. :)  It blesses me to no end to be a part of sending these teams out, to hear stories when they return, and especially to see Trey shine in ways that God has uniquely created him: relationally, in leadership, being intentional, utilizing his servant’s heart, and all while getting to be part of global missions.

As for me…  While I’m definitely going to miss him (and, YES, I wish I were going back!), I am thrilled to share Trey with this team and these precious people for a week, so that he can be a blessing to many others for God’s greater purposes.

In just a little while, I’ll be following him up to church to see the team off as they make their way to Raleigh for the night to fly out tomorrow… and then my little corner of the world gets very still.  The ebb and flow of our lives.  I will be grateful for the seasons of rest as they are given.

Please keep Trey and his team in your prayers as they travel and are on the field.  Pray for physical safety, protection, and provision (especially healing in Trey’s injured elbow).  Pray for their spiritual development, and for encouragement and discipleship to be present among them.  Pray for the great ways God is going to work in and through this team.  And pray for the people they are going to serve: that they will be prepared to receive them; that God’s love would be displayed and communicated; for their relationships being built with the missionaries serving there year-round, long-term; and that one day they would know Christ as Lord…

Grateful,

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{By the way….. here is an update on the “wild goose chase” of finding an infant care class (see previous post), in case you were wondering!  When DSS e-mailed me back, they let me know their classes are more geared toward parents and children taking the classes together.  But they did recommend a place in town called Smart Start… through which I found out a different nonprofit organization called “Women in the Center” offers quarterly infant care classes!  We won’t be able to make the May class, so we’d be looking at waiting until July 23rd…  Meanwhile, the lady at CAPP got back to me, and she let me know of a registered nurse who offers monthly classes, who works for Wilmington Health… Wilmington Health, as in the place where I go see my endocrinologist!  I can’t believe I didn’t think to check with them!!  Her next class is in mid-June.  So it appears the answer we’ve been looking for has been right under my nose this whole time!!!  HA!}

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