In the morning, when I rise,
May your hope lift up my eyes.
If I may wake to troubles deep,
I am at peace secure in Thee.
Have Your way, Lord, have your way
In my heart Your kingdom make
As I walk each step I take
One thing, I pray, Lord, have Your way.
In all of me
Take it all
Lord, have Your way.
-Eddie Kirkland, “Have Your Way”
It had been a long day. I woke up at 3:45 am, met our team at our church, traveled with them to the airport, where we flew from Winston-Salem, NC to Miami to Guatemala City. What should have been a three hour bus ride from Guatemala City to Eagle’s Nest turned into an almost seven hour bus ride. In our humanity, in our “American-ness,” it could have been an opportunity for irritation and complaint. Instead, it afforded our team members with divine appointments with seatmates and flight attendants on the plane. It allowed us to view the beautiful Guatemalan countryside at sunset. It offered the opportunity to pray as a team for the driver of the tractor trailer that had overturned and delayed our travel. It graced us with sweet young ladies popping out of the home in the dark for hugs and introductions and greetings and suitcase “abductions” to our rooms! Have Your way, Lord, have Your way.
The next day was Sunday, and our team truly got to meet the children who reside at Eagle’s Nest for thefirst time. Only four of our 14 team members had visited Eagle’s Nest before, yet we were all eager to meet the children, the staff, and get started with forging relationships. What a beautiful way to start our week: hugging, laughing, and playing with the young children on the playground before the church service. It was such a joy to greet faces familiar to me from my trip last year and be introduced to new ones. What a blessing to worship in the church service with songs that we sing in our church service in Winston-Salem – but to sing them in Spanish. It truly felt like a taste of what we will experience with the unity of the body one day in heaven. Have Your way, Lord, have Your way.
As a speech-language pathologist, I had hoped and literally prayed daily for the past year that God would be able to use the skills that He has given me to work with the children in the special needs class and in the home this year. On Monday, I got to follow along with children from Eagle’s Nest and the school to speech therapy sessions in Pana. It was such a pleasure to speak with the physical therapist and speech-language pathologist that I met last year, but also a thrill to see the progress that the kids had made in a year’s time. In some ways, I felt really inadequate to help them. My Spanish is limited, and my experience working with non-verbal, moderately to severely motorically-challenged kids even more limited. But God is so gracious. He kept reminding me through the week that others were literally to follow behind me to provide therapy and tools for these kids in their own unique way. He had equipped me for a different purpose. Katty, the special needs teacher, was quick and eager to learn from my ideas. Ingrid, a delight of the week, enthralled me with her tenacious effort to follow my directions for mouth exercises and vocal productions. Ingrid also humbled me with her compassion as she wheeled her chair over to hold her brother’s hand and share her stickers with him as I provided therapy with him in the home. I needed no Spanish or special skills to pray for Angel as we held hands and “practiced walking.” Turns out, the lessons weren’t so much for the children there. The lessons were for me. Have Your way, Lord, have Your way.
There are so many moments of the week that were special to our team and to me. One team member had a heart for partnering the men of our team with the older boys at the home to share nightly discipleship studies. The mothers on our team hosted a dinner with the beautiful Eagle’s Nest Mamas to share our gratitude for the efforts and love they provide at Eagle’s Nest on a daily basis and to encourage them with scripture and fellowship. We participated in a fun evening of devotions and games and dessert for the families who have children who participate in the Manna program. All interspersed with simple, tender moments of just playing and snuggling with the little ones, playing kickball and other games with and getting teased by the older children, painting fingernails and applying fake mustaches and tattoos with the older girls, pickaxing trenches, and painting railings. Our purpose was so much bigger and conversely so much simpler than one of benevolence and good will. Our purpose was to walk a week of life together with the children and staff of Eagle’s Nest. Have Your way, Lord, have Your way.
Some of our plans turned into learning experiences. Perhaps converting about sixty Guatemalan shoe sizes to US shoe sizes to buy shoes for Manna program kids in the US, loading all those shoes over to Guatemala, re-converting them back to Guatemalan shoe sizes, and then finding the right child to go with the right size shoe was maybe not the *most* efficient way to accomplish our goal! But it was definitely an entertaining rainy afternoon watching Pastor Job and his loyal assistants trying to make sense of the shoe chaos. All the shoes got distributed. Physical needs that we can’t really imagine as Americans were met. “My new shoes are so beautiful,” said a four year old to me. Have Your way, Lord, have Your way.
Some of our plans were totally scrapped. Hurricane Earl precluded our excursion activities “forcing” us to spend more time playing games with the kids and rocking babies. Our team members didn’t mind this a bit and were more than willing to “roll with the punches.” We were all safe and for the most part, dry. And grateful for God’s design for us to be in relationship with His children. Have Your way, Lord, have Your way.
Coming home, for the second time from Eagle’s Nest, I again feel like I have left half of my heart behind. It’s such a strange dichotomy to be so thrilled to see your family again, but to also desperately miss friends, young and older, that have remained behind. Through the wonders of Facebook, and the good old-fashioned mail system, I know that I will be able to continue these Eagle’s Nest relationships throughout the year. I am constantly reminded, though, that God has called me daily to the moment-by-moment ministry right in front of me. Homeschooling. Meeting the needs of my husband and sons. Teaching a sixth grade girls Sunday school class. Working with the ESL ministry at church. Getting to know the cashier I talk to every week at the grocery store. Listening to and praying with a young employee recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Lord willing, I will be back next August at Eagle’s Nest to serve as the Lord allows. But until then, as I walk life here at home, have Your way, Lord, have Your way.