tomorrow night is the resolution to a year's worth of anticipation. today i will pack my bags. tomorrow i will say my goodbyes. i will go to the semi-annual book money dinner at outback with my best friends. stress free. full of laughter. bloomin onions and toast made my kurty kurt. at 10 pm, the guatie family will meet at sullivan to pack suitcases full of clothes, shoes, toys, and supplies to take down to the people of guatemala. i am so excited and ready to be back there. to hold the beautiful children. look deeply into brown almond eyes. clothe the homeless. feed the hungry. touch the lepers. love people like Jesus did. we have waited for this trip to get here. prayed for it. talked about it. prepared for it. and the time has finally come.
today i told my four year old neice, ella, that i was going to guatemala tomorrow to take boys and girls clothes and toys and tell them about Jesus. she told me that i guatemala was closed and i should just stay here with her. this time last week i was short over $400. as of today i have exactly $400. amazing. i had faith and trusted that God would provide. i knew He would. the money would come about. and i would take the red eye on friday morning with my other 18 team members, who i will call family by the end of our time spent in the 3rd world country i fell in love with a year ago.
when i think about this time last year, i cant help but remember what i was going through at the time. i was scared, searching for escape, a reason to keep going, a belief even. i was weak. dependent. lacking faith. that trip changed my life. turned my world upside down. the beginning of losing my life and regaining it. becoming whole and new. the beginning of surrender and restoration. detox. a light at the end of the tunnel. through that trip i learned what was important in ife and what was petty. how to appreciate my friends. to look through the eyes of the hurting and poverty stricken. to trully love and serve with a selfless heart and genuine spirit. to be passionate. intentional.
we are commanded to love. called to go. we cannot love people like Jesus did without knowing how He did. i have been reading through the 4 gospels lately. to see the ways that Jesus loved people. served people. i do want to love and serve just like He did. to completely become consumed in the stories that tell of his selfless heart and unconditional love. to be shaped to be more like Him. it is important that we know the things He did. the occurences that taught people to trust and have faith. to lose their life. be washed clean. renewed. we are COMMANDED to be IMITATORS of CHRIST. how can we be imitators of Christ if we do not know how He lived, loved served? if we want to be like david beckham, we study him. watch his matches. read about him. watch videos. train like him. act like him. all to become more like him.
i am so excited about this year's guatie team because there are so many new people who have never been to a third world country. their eyes have not seen. they will be changed after it. they will never forget their experiences and the people they will love and the darkness that their eyes of light will see. it is such a life altering experience. this summer i started praying for this trip and the team that we would be putting together. i can remember having this strong pull on my heart about two of my best friends. i prayed for both of them, told them about the trip and asked them to pray about going. i felt that they should be there. Grier and Amber are both going on the trip and i am so excited for both of them. Grier's huge heart, unconditional love, and passion to work with children have blessed me in so many ways and i cannot wait to see God at work in her life and others this week in guatie. Amber is a servant. a constant rock. takes care of people. is filled with a passion to change the world. go to third world countries. live for Christ and serve as He did. Her constant laughter is going to be such an amazing blessing to our team and i am so glad that i get to be there for her first plane ride :) both of these girls are my guardian angels and i am confident in the fact that God used them to be His hands and His feet in my life. i am who i am today because of their love. He used them to give me hugs, make me laugh, love me, encourage and support me. They saved my life through Christ. He uses people like that. I think of it as himself in human form. i see Jesus when i look at their faces. i feel his presence when they are with me. through conversations. actions. it is such an important thing to me that i get to experience this trip with them :)
last year, the thing that broke my heart the most in guatemala was that people did not have shoes. they would walk barefoot through the streets filled with dirt. glass. manure. trash. filth. their feet would be torn to pieces from walking the streets of the villages without any shoes. i wanted to take my chacos off and give them to children, but they would not have fit, and i would not have been allowed to go barefoot. when i was getting things together for this years trip, i wanted nothing more than to take as many shoes as i could. that was something that broke my heart last year. i took pictures of children's feet last year because of it and i could not escape those images. nor did i want to. my mom sends a weekly letter to all of her parents of the children in her first grade class. when she sent it this week, at the bottom she told them that i would be going back to guatemala and asked if they had any children's shoes in decent condition, to bring them to school this week. today she called me from school, choking back tears of course, and said that she has over 5 shopping bags full of shoes for me to take. a class full of first graders just changed the world. a hundred children in guatemala will have a pair of shoes sent with love from six year olds in greenville, sc. that is absolutely amazing.
i am curled up in my sister's bed right now, watching elmo with my neice ella. spending the afternoon with a child who has clothes, shoes, toys, food, a house, a family. to be separated from her for 9 days. to go from one extreme to the other. to know that we are blessed beyond belief. to be grateful for what we have. to spend time with the ones we love. while our team is gone, be praying for our families back home in the states, our safety, the people of guatemala, the missionaries we will be working with, that we will serve and love like Jesus did, that we will be His hands and His feet. a light in a dark nation. thank you for your love and support and what you mean to me. thank you for investing in my life, my passion, the beat of my heart. i am truly blessed beyond measure.
(an organization that gives shoes to people in Africa)
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in an ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. -Mother Theresa