Psalm 40:5 Lord my God, you have done many things— your wonderful works and your plans for us; none can compare with you. If I were to report and speak of them, they are more than can be told.
Preparing to arrive in Guatemala, I didn’t have much in the way of expectations. Just a God given excitement and an unruly desire to squeeze some babies. Being mine and my husbands first mission trip, the first full day was more than we could have dreamed. After our beautiful tour of the orphanage grounds, we got straight to work, and after deciding that laying brick wasn’t my thing, I was more than relieved when Pedro let us ladies loose on the kiddo’s. I mean that is, after all, what I had my heart set on. We have two kids of our own and I knew that all of my extra ‘mom’ love would be something that I would hone in on while at the Nest. That same day, while carrying formula into the orphanage, the feeding center caught my attention. I was taken a back to hear that these were children from the surrounding community and to hear how far they had walked to eat one meal. My thought quickly turned to “Thank God for Eagles Nest and this meal.” and this is where I also met Norma. A young girl, feeding an even tinier girl. Something about that image and hearing how this 12 year old took care of this 2 year old tugged at me. Little did I know that right then, God was forming a place for Norma in my heart.
I had written in my journal “It is very exciting to know that God has so much more planned for the next 7 days.” but I had no clue just how much God would show up and show out. Day 3, I got pulled away to take updated photo’s of each child which was great because that also gave me time to break away and spend time with some of the mommas. Maria was special. Hearing a few other stories from different mommas, each one was very different but yet had small similarities. She was very open about her life and graciously let me pray for her. Thank God for our amazing interpreters. After that, I could expect a big squeeze and 2 smooches on the cheek from Maria each time I saw her. I have to say after being home for 3 months, I still miss that girl and her warmth. I’m not sure if I’ll ever know how much that prayer meant to her nor will she ever know how much her sweetness meant to me.
The day came when we were to hand out shoes to children in the community and also to the orphanage. I was dead set on seeing Norma again and fitting her for shoes myself. By then, I knew what God was up to, he used me to speak to Norma. I asked her many questions about herself, what she wanted to be when she grew up, how many siblings she had ext.. Norma grew emotional when talking about her dream, and knowing she would only have a 6th grade education. We spoke about going back to school a little later in life, and I told her that I would pray for her and that she should pray for her dream too. She agreed to let me pray over her right then. I told her that Jesus loves her, I love her and that Grecia (the interpreter) loved her. I told her that she was very special to God and that he knows her by name..”That’s how special you are!” I can only hope that God instilled his love, patience and perseverance in her that day.
Ohh but God had even more in store than I could imagine. Sitting in church Sunday morning, after a beautiful worship service where we sang2 songs in English (how awesome), Pedro announced that we were going to have a couple testimonies. I thought I was off the hook when he called up Todd, who shared such awesome wisdom, but God wasn’t letting me off that easy. I stood up there, Spanish Bible in hand (that Claudia lent me) and cried my way through my personal life testimony. Listening to Job’s service through an interpreter I didn’t think I would get much from it. Boy was I wrong. God just kept tugging and tugging at me and soon I was being called to get baptized with sweet Wendy and Marvin. After the service I couldn’t help but think “Oh what did I just get myself into” but He was in control more than ever. By far one of the best experiences I’ve had and I cannot thank Pedro and Job enough for providing endless opportunities for God to move. AND to watch these children get baptized was just as good as getting in the water myself. I told Marvin “We are brothers and sisters in Christ now!” and his response will forever stick with me: “We are all family here.” Yes, Marvin. We are!! God is ever present in this place. Thriving, growing and prospering. Felis, Pedro, the mommas and countless others that make this place run on a daily basis are nothing short of God given and we thank our Lord for each and every one of them!
I started to ask myself, what is God’s love?
God’s love is:
A man playing the saxophone who isn’t ashamed to fall to his knees, surrounded by people, in prayer to an amazing God.
The smile’s on the towns people’s faces and the friendly “Hola’s” that flow from their mouths.
The excitement that bubbled out of a girls face when we visited her home and gave her sandals with sparkles on them.
A momma working day in and day out, not only to care for her own family but to help provide a stable living environment for these sweet orphaned children.
The pride on a dads face when he talks about taking his daughters out to the fields to work, even though he gets ridiculed by family for not having a son.
The smile I saw on Pedro’s face as countless kids swarmed him with happy hugs and “Papa’s”.
God’s love is a women with a calling to take in orphaned babies in a foreign country. To not only love them but show them GOD’S love and for her daughter and son-in-law to uproot and continue to fulfill that calling on their family. People who do not have to love these children, but choose to because God first loved us.