Last night my sister Alicia came to see me before I leave for Guatemala. She brought some old family videos from the early 90’s. Since these videos were made, many of the people in them have passed away. We saw three of my grandparents, one great aunt, two aunts, an uncle, 6 family friends and two other relatives that have all passed away in the last 25 years. ItT was bittersweet to watch. I love and miss them often. Seeing them and hearing their voices reminds me of the fact that they are gone. It also reminds me of how many great times I had with them in the time we had together.
The harder part for me was the realization of where we stand at this point in time. While the events of Alicia’s graduation part seem to be a lifetime ago, watching the videos made it seem like it was just a few weeks ago. I realized that we are all one generation older now. I am the age my parents were and they are actually older than my grandparents were in the video. Several of my nieces and younger cousins have families of their own, some with nearly grown children. Time is the enemy to life on earth. It is speeding us toward our last breath. This realization can be a hard one to swallow.
Every time I prepare to go back to Guatemala this thought weighs on me. We are all getting older and I do not know when the last time I see someone will be. My dad has wound up in intensive care on one of my times there a few years ago. My sisters have had health problems. I have had several of my friend’s parents pass away while I was gone. These thoughts can cause me to panic if I dwell on them. All of the people that have passed away have caused pain but the next ones will be much more painful I have a feeling.
You may ask how I can leave in light of these things. Am I being selfish or just foolish? Did God really say to go or do I just like Guatemala enough to abandon my family. The truth is I love Guatemala but I love my family and friends more. I love the people God has brought into my life in both places more than I love the places themselves. I can be content in Illinois, Guatemala or anywhere as long as I have some of the people with me that God has placed in my life to share the journey with. While I have no desire to go it alone, God has not asked me to do that as of this moment. He has asked me to hold all things lightly and not let anything get in the way of obeying His purposes.
As I prepare to go again I face the idea of when will be the last goodbye. I have come to realize something though. The last goodbye will only happen for those that do not know Jesus. For those that are in a relationship with Him, the Bible tells us that we have already passed from death to life. When we surrender ourselves to Him, we have confronted death and won. Our bodies will cease to function but our lives will just transition. We will be off on a new eternal adventure with God. Unfortunately, those that do not surrender themselves to Jesus will not get to join us in this journey. The Bible also tells us that it is appointed unto man but once to die and after that, the judgment. Not everyone will have a place in God’s presence for eternity. For them, we will say goodbye, never to see them again. This is the saddest thing that I can grasp. Jesus has offered hope and life to all as a gift. We cannot earn it but we have to receive it. He will allow us to turn our backs on Him. It is not his will that any should die apart from Him but it is a reality that many do.
This is the reason I go. In Guatemala there are many that need to hear the Gospel. We work with them to share it in our work and in our words. (The words are usually other people’s in Guatemala but I am working on it) We try to live in a way that brings Jesus glory and helps people understand that they are valuable to God and to us also. Living out the Gospel in front of them is our main purpose.
For me, there is also a second element. I have family members that are not living in relationship to Jesus. I love them and want to spend eternity with them. I have found that family often does not hear our words so I have to live in a way that demonstrates the power of Jesus in my life. I need to live what my words could not adequately convey. I need to be a message. My prayer is that my family and friends, the kids at CYC and others that know me will see the love of Jesus in action through my life and respond to Him. I am not leaving because I want to be apart from my family. I am leaving because I want them all to spend eternity with me. I am not willing to hold onto the next 25 years if it costs me eternity with any of those that I love.
Are you in the place God is calling you to be or are you staying in a comfortable place because you are surrounded by people that you care about.? Are you afraid to leave for fear that they will not hear the message of Jesus if it is not from you? Pray for them and then do whatever God is calling you to. Don’t worry about it just obey. God is faithful and will draw your family to Him. If you are obedient to God, He will do for you what you are unable to do for yourself or them. This does not mean that everyone you care about will surrender to Him but it does mean that He will draw them in ways that you cannot fathom. He is faithful.
We will be jumping into a full schedule as soon as I get back. A team from Hood River Oregon will be coming just a few days after my return. They will stay for 9 days and then we will have a short break. A week after they leave we will begin a near continuous stream of teams until the middle of August. We are anticipating much work will be accomplished in the next 4 months. We should be near completion of the Church and school in Membrillal, build numerous houses and stoves in Zapote. Have an outreach in San Lucas and a medical clinic in Membrillal also. We pray that many lives will be impacted for Jesus in these endeavors.
If you would like information on how you can be involved in any of our projects, feel free to message me on facebook or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our major needs are sponsorship for about 35 kids in Membrillal. We have ½ sponsorships for $35 or full sponsorships for $70 per month. You can find links to our sponsorship websites in the tabs at the top of this page. We also need funds for construction on the school and Church in Membrillal. We have numerous teams this year but will have openings for groups in the future if you would like to contribute with you work as well. I look forward to hearing from you.
As I leave, I still have needs for the year. I need to raise about $3,000 more this year to meet my funding goal of $12,000. I also am still looking to raise the funds to buy a decent truck or car. (preferably truck) I have had money given toward this purchase but so far it has been used for airfares and living expenses because that has come up short. I know that Lauren and Jean, and Annie also still have needs for the year as they are both planning on returning later this year after they spend a little time in Illinois.
If you would like to make a donation you can make a check to
Life Church Morris
P.O. Box 679
Morris, IL 60450
In the memo of your check write:
Mission San Lucas if it is for me
Mission Santiago for Lauren and Jean
Mission Esther House for Annie
Do not write any names on the check.
You can also support me by clicking on the donation link on this page and using a credit card online. Thank you for all of your prayers, kind words, team mission trips and financial support. Each of these things is vital to the success of the work we are doing. We do not work alone but we value your partnership for fulfilling the call of God to Guatemala.