i swear it was just yesterday that i was jokingly telling someone that i was going to spend my summer in a foreign country. This whole thing was just a thought in my mind, a dream that would go no where because how likely was it that i would find a two month long trip with a safe organization to a hispanic country? Apparently, very. Our God is funny like that. This process, from me finding the organization to the cap on my fundraising to the days leading up to this trip, has been screaming of The Lord’s goodness. Even if i didn’t see it at the time, i see it now. Today, one of the last days that i am home, i’m going to share just how intricately detailed The Father has been in the process of me getting to Guatemala. It’s been too sweet not to share it.
i guess we should start at the beginning.
i started 2014 at Lake Forest Ranch (the camp in Macon, MS where i have spent the last two summers working, as well as five summers as a camper // pictured above) working in the kitchen. Through a series of not so wonderful events (nothing to do with the camp, everything to do with me) The Lord made it very clear that i was not meant to spend my summer at LFR again. i love Lake Forest more than i love most places in the world. It’s where i accepted Christ, it’s where The Lord has used as the setting for some of the most critical work He has done in my life. Spending my summer away from LFR is so bittersweet. Lake Forest is home in every sense of the word, but The Father gave me peace about it, He made Himself clear in it, and that was that. His will be done.
Now that i knew what direction my summer was not going in, i began asking The Lord to show me where He wanted me and slightly begging Him to tell me. i’m a planner, so i hate not knowing what’s coming and The Lord knows that, but i had to make sure that He extra knew. The prayer went something like, “Father, please reveal to me Your plan for my summer, in Your timing… But if Your timing happened to be like right now, that would be cool too.” i spent a five hour car ride talking to Him like He was in my passenger seat; Sharing with Him what i would love for my summer to hold, what i wouldn’t want it to hold, singing praises to Him when i was at a loss for words (which we all know doesn’t happen often). i wouldn’t take that car ride back for anything.
In the car i had shared a lot with The Father, but a lot of our conversation was about how badly i wanted to serve out of the country, preferably in a Spanish speaking country. Obviously He knew that, He made me, He made my heart, He gave me my love for Hispanic Culture and the Spanish language- He knew. He gave me the desires that set the stage for this journey. When i got home that night, i did what all nineteen year olds do, and i checked Twitter. i remember sitting exactly where i am now, scrolling through the feed like i’ve done a million times before, and then Jesus answered my prayer through a tweet that my sweet friend Bella had shared. It was a quote posted by Adventures in Missions.
i had never heard of Adventures in Missions but the name, as well as the quote, caught me and i stopped what i was doing and i looked at their website immediately. That’s when the pieces started falling together in a way that only the Creator of the Universe could make them.
i’m going to map out my “pre-finding AIM thoughts” for you so you can possibly see what finding their trips was like for me. In knowing that i wanted to go out of the country, i knew that i wanted at least a little time at home. My ideal dates were June 1st – July 31st. i knew that i wanted to go to a Hispanic country, i wanted to go to a place with good coffee (i’m not ashamed), and i wanted to do a handful of different things while i was there, not just one two month long project. In my mind, it was a long shot. i knew that it would be near impossible to find a trip that met all of my expectations. i used my flawless public education technology skills and navigated myself to the college aged trips to Central America. The Spirit urged me to click on Guatemala, so i did, and i couldn’t help but laugh at just how big our Creator is.
The trip, the one i am now preparing to leave for in ten short days, is from June 3rd – July 30. The description that AIM gave said,
“Spend your summer in Guatemala, a land of natural beauty, excellent coffee, tumultuous history, and vanishing hope.
It’s more than just pretty scenery. Guatemala is also home to families living in garbage dumps, orphanages, natural disasters like volcanic eruptions and mudslides, and overflowing prisons.
You can reach the people of Guatemala by bringing the hope of Jesus to the hurting. Minister to the communities by leading VBS, visiting the sick in their homes, teaching English or community outreach programs.
You have the opportunity to serve the people of Guatemala in a practical ways, sharing the love of Christ with them through meeting tangible needs.
Will you meet the needs of a country of hope?”
i said, “yes.” and i applied for the trip more quickly that i ever thought i would be willing to apply to leave the country for two months. The dates were almost perfect, they speak Spanish, it’s a trip with multiple ministry projects, and Guatemala is known for their coffee. It was an “apply now, ask parents later” kind of thing because there was not a bone in my body that did not think that i would be spending my summer anywhere else. i was going to go to Guatemala, no matter what. (side note: my parents have been very supportive through this process. More on that later.)
Now, almost five months later, i am about to go to the store to get stuff to begin the packing process. i am going to Guatemala. My Heavenly Father has made this happen. He has been in every detail of this “Pre-Adventure Journey” and it has been wonderful and stressful and perfect. i can’t wait to share with you all the other ways He has been in this.
Stay tuned. Stay wonderful.
PS. Please join me in praying for Lake Forest Ranch! The first camp of 2014 starts today!
Soundtrack to my writing today // Penny & Sparrow playlist on Spotify