Quieres Bailar?

The last two days we went back to hoeing dirt, and it was hard work, but I wouldn’t say I was as uncomfortable as when I danced with grandpas at the “grandpa house.” I have never really danced with a guy my own age, so when 75-year-old Oscar held out his hand and started moving his hips faster than I could follow, I was a little uncomfortable to say the least. The live band playing a gigantic xylophone played for a couple hours and by the end I wouldn’t say I would want to dance with a bunch of grandpas again, but I did have a new friend (One who would give me a picture of a horse and draw a picture of me, but that’s another story). Image

 

Later on in the week, after good conversation and coffee during one of our breaks, we went to the hospital to help feed the cerebral palsy patients. While we were waiting for the meals to be ready, my leader Roni asked if I had a hard time feeling comfortable around everyone. I do, but I thought I was doing a pretty good job of hiding it. Its not that I’m not forming beautiful relationships and loving this community, its just hard to open what I’ve worked so hard to keep shut.Image

There are a lot of girls on this trip, so boy talk is inevitable. We talk about marriage and being pursued, so it’s easy to let my mind wander. It’s easy to be reminded that I have never had that, and slip into wondering if I will. Rather than sitting in the question of “if”, I would rather shut that part of my heart down. I would rather hide the part of my heart that longs to be pursued, trying to believe I don’t need that from any guy, including Jesus.

When I came to Jesus, asking why I had such a hard time feeling comfortable around people, I was confused when He asked me to let Him romance me. How does that have anything to do with my relationships in community? He showed me how hiding that part of my heart from Him, keeps me from fully opening up to anyone. If I’m working so hard to hide from Jesus, who already sees all my heart, how much harder am I trying to hide from others?

Jesus is holding out His hand, asking me to dance. I can come to Him timidly and uncomfortable, but He doesn’t care because He just wants to dance with me. He wants me to open up in His arms, push through the discomfort, and open up my heart to His beautiful romance. Then I can know that I am His beloved, and in that security, know I can open up all my heart to Him and everyone else. 

still, expecting

At training camp, they told us to toss out all expectations. Left unmet leaves us still seeking, unsatisfied in where we are. I thought I didn’t have many. Easy surrender because I thought I was open to anything. 

That was before two weeks into the trip and I’m standing in the middle of a dirt field with a hoe and they keep saying we have to do the whole thing. The second morning of all day hoeing, I realized I didn’t do as good of a job surrendering as I thought. 

With each sling of the hoe, I let the frustration grow. How is hoeing a field ministry? How is this furthering God’s kingdom? I came to love people, not dirt. 

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A good part of my team were feeling the same. By the second week, we expected to be making progress, seeing fruit in relationships, seeing something. Instead, we were clearing a field, still unsure of what our ministries would look like for the rest of the trip. Instead, we were too lost in our frustration, blinded by unmet expectations to see the cleared field in front of us, ready to provide jobs for workers, ready for fruit. 

When I stood in the field, I knew I needed The Lord to change and my heart, and I knew He could, I just had to be open. After lunch, I walked over to one of my teammates, Stephanie, who I know the Lord used to encourage me just when I needed it. It was simple conversation, but in that specific time we grew closer, and we were both uplifted. Without that field, I wouldn’t have had to think about hard questions, frustrations. I wouldn’t have left feeling so loved by God that He would care enough to encourage and lift me up.

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From that day in the field and all throughout the weekend, I’ve had to continue to lay down expectations. I’ve had to accept that I won’t know what the rest of this trip will look like, and sometimes even what the day will look like. I’m learning that I have to be still in uncertainty, knowing that then I have to rely on the Lord, that His plan will always be better than mine. 

I’m learning that the only thing I should expect is what God has for that time. In everything else, I have to be still with God, putting all my emotions in Him so I can be fully present in this time. Whether I’m hoeing a field, holding hands with cerebral palsy patients (which is what I did today), or sharing Jesus with someone, if I listen I know it will be what God has for that moment. In this, I can be still and expecting only Him. 

que una semana!

I would say this has been one of the longest weeks of my life, simply because I look at my team and where I am and can’t believe we just met a week ago. These people that feel like family, this place that feels like home has only been in my heart for one week. Image

I want to bring you into a picture of the beautiful community I’m in. This team, who I was so nervous to meet, believing my insecurities would take over and I would cower back in fear, welcomes everyone. Its accepting, intentional, loves above all, and challenges. When I would love to stay in my comfort zone and hide from hard relationships, I’m being challenged to be here, to know that this time will fly by and we only have right now to push into this community. Image

Next week will be our first full week. This week was sort of pieced together with orientations and settling in. The first day we we’re here our contact, Luis, wanted to take us to tour an old convent. It was hauntingly beautiful. He told stories of some of the practices between nuns and bishops and “naughty” nuns. Those rooms behind us are where the nuns would be locked in when they we’re “naughty.” After the tour we went to tour the hospital. It was much better than what I was expecting, remembering the one in Honduras that still gives me chills. This one is a non profit, non-government, so everything is donated. A good majority there are cerebral palsy patients, and that is who we will be working with. It was hard to see, but every patient is dignified and loved, it’s just hard to be faced with the space to question why. I know my team members who spent the rest of the week there had a hard time, good, but hard. Image

(One of my incredible leaders, Roni. We are so similar it’s scary, and she has changed me so much!)

The rest of the week I went to a coffee farm. Luis has a friend named Julio who is growing his coffee business and needed help. The first day we went with him, he wanted us to go to two of his friends houses to pray for them because they are sick. One has cancer in his foot, the other has an infection in his leg that makes it hard to walk. I have also been acting as translator for him because he doesn’t speak any English. When I heard I would be doing that, I was terrified. I didn’t think I could possibly do that with the Spanish I know, so I immediately began praying for strength. That God would give me the words and help me understand enough to do a good job. The Lord is so faithful and not only helped me, but gave me so much joy in doing it. I actually got to pray in Spanish for the two men. I’m so excited to continue to grow in my Spanish. There’s something so beautiful about connecting with someone in their own language, and being able to offer that connection to someone else.  

Yesterday we got to walk around town and just spend more time growing with each other. Today, we’re going to Luis’s church! I can’t believe how different I feel in just a short week. In my relationship with God, in community, and just as me. I’m falling in love all over again with the Lord and learning more of what it looks like to truly walk with Him. 

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(The volcano outside our house!) 

What a week!