It’s been awhile since my last post, but I have a good reason for that ~ I’ve been in Guatemala with my dad! Anyone who knows me, knows that a part of my heart is always in Guatemala. Since adopting my younger sister in 1999 from Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala City (now known as San Miguel del Lago when they moved outside the city), I’ve always felt a strong desire to travel there and be a missionary at this place that gave me a sister. My first trip was with 2 college friends in 2002, and it’s been my second home ever since then. For 10 years, I visited several times a year – sometimes staying just a weekend, sometimes a week, and once I stayed for a month. I’ve been there when new children arrived at the gate, and other children left to go home with adoptive parents or back to their biological family; I was there when a sibling group was told their biological mother had died and they were now truly orphaned and I held one of the girls and cried with her; I’ve celebrated birthdays, baptisms, and holidays; I’ve met other missionaries from around the world and am still friends with many of them; and I’ve sent countless pictures and videos to adoptive parents of when their child was just a baby in the nursery before they were matched together.
The nuns who run the orphanage are family to me, and before Sam and I were engaged, I insisted he go to Guatemala with me to meet them and get their approval 🙂 Thankfully, he passed with flying colors! Ha! That was in 2011 and the last time I was in Guatemala until this recent trip. I visited with the nuns when they came to the States on various trips, but I never wanted to leave Sam and the kids when they were little to go back down to the Hogar. However, for the past year, I’ve felt a subtle nudging from God to return to Guatemala and re-ignite my passion for mission work.
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the every day work of running a household and taking care of children, that we fail to spend quiet time really listening for God’s plan. Let’s be real, when the kids overlap in school 2 hours on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the last thing I’m doing with those free hours is sitting quietly asking God to push me out of my comfort zone! Ha! But over the course of last year, I found myself thinking about Guatemala more and more, looking at flights every now and then, and feeling this strong unsettled urging to return to San Miguel. My youngest sister Isabel who still lives at San Miguel (her adoption was halted by politics) turned 18 this year and graduated from high school, so that was the last big push I needed. I prayed about this visit and with Sam’s blessing, decided to accompany my dad last week to celebrate.
I discovered something incredible happens when you follow God’s will….you find inner peace. Sure there were times leading up to this trip when I woke up panicked in the morning thinking there’s no way I can leave my family, and convinced I was going to traumatize my kids for life with feelings of abandonment. Those were the times I unknowingly let the devil plant seeds of doubt about following God’s will and ministering to His children. But as soon as I said a prayer for the Lord to calm my fears, He did! A sense of peace washed over me and I went back to feeling confident about this trip. I knew if I was doing God’s work in Guatemala, He would do “my work” back home, and sure enough, Sam and the kids had a fun weekend and were perfectly fine while I was gone.
My dad and I spent 5 days bonding with Isabel, helping her map out her future, giving love and care to the other children at San Miguel, and marveling in the beauty of Guatemala. I can’t wait to return with Sam AND the kids next!