We have a lot to be thankful for the past four months, but we are still adjusting to life in a new culture and language.
Several weeks ago I had the privilege to travel to with Tico Vargas and Benjamin LaBriel to participate in the Pastor’s Conference. We traveled 15 hours in three days on roads that were slightly bumpy. The Pastor’s Conference is designed to provide teaching to pastors who do not have access to formal training mainly due to financial reasons. Some of the pastors drove ten hours in order to be part of the conference. I admit I am spoiled but no one prepared me for the “rustic” rooms. Thankfully, my mom did advise me to take my own pillow and a towel. There is a certain smell in the rooms that is indescribable. Bro. Tico tells me it is a spray to keep the fleas out of the room. There are no fleas! One of the leaders of the conference told me the lodging was a very special treat for most of the pastors as they do not stay in places this nice. I loved being able to talk to the women, but I was counting down the hours to return home.
After the conference ended one pastor walked over to talk to me. He laughed as he told me that his favorite football team is Alabama, and my dad actually gave him an Alabama shirt last year. He then handed me an envelope as a gift from his church. The church gave me cash that was more than what I traveled with to El Salvador. I kept my composure until I was back in my room. In reality, I shouldv’e been giving them an offering to help their ministry. It was a sweet reminder of God’s faithfulness. It was a reminder of how God uses people to provide for us. It was a sweet reminder of how quickly I lose focus and yet how God graciously refocuses my perspective.
Sundays can be the most discouraging day for us. We miss our normalcy of church. We miss sermons in English. We miss our church family. The months of June and July were not hard because we knew a lot of the teams ministering during the summer and the months simply seemed like repeats from the previous two summers. However, in August everything changed as our friends in the states continued with returning to their normalcy, and we were reminded that this is our new normal.
Since we do not work with the teams who use the mission house, we never really know who is coming to Guatemala. We were refreshed to have several teams that we love come to visit back to back. From Bro. Doug Chappelle and BJ Parsons to Bro. Johnny and Mrs. Judy to Danville Baptist Church, God used these people to encourage and refresh us. We needed to laugh at B.J. I needed to have long talks and coffee with Mrs. Judy. Soy needed to get beat at Hearts again. We are thankful that God uses people to encourage us. We are thankful that he uses people to refocus us.
Thank you for being part of our ministry!