Early Saturday morning our flight leaves for Tegucigalpa, Honduras. As we prepare for the next step I want to reflect a little on this last one.
We’ve been in Antigua for just about a month. Those who have followed us on this blog and Facebook know this has been a season of adjustment for us. And there is no way around it, adjustment is hard. Change is hard. But through it all one thing we know, God is God and God is good. Each day as we have faced new challenges he has shown up with the grace we need for that day. Through this we have been learning just what it means to rely on Him.
Before we left, while we were moving out of our house and feeling the tremendous stress and pressure of it all, Trina was laying in bed feeling overwhelmed when she had this vision of a frog. Through that the Holy Spirit reminded her of an acronym using the letters F-R-O-G which stand for Fully Rely On God. She shared that with me and it has become a kind mantra for us. Often when we feel overwhelmed, stressed out, scared, and lonely we remember the frog and we remember we must Fully Rely On God. It isn’t easy but it is exciting. We feel incapable and unqualified for the work ahead but we know we are where God has called us and with each day we learn more and more what it means to rely on him who called us.
Where we are supposed to be
And how do we know this is where we are supposed to be? Believe me, we have both questioned our sanity and had many moments of serious doubts wondering if we had just made a colossal mistake. On the other side of those doubts God brings about moments of clarity. We see how God is moving in ways we could have never guessed. We hear stories on a weekly and sometimes daily basis of things God is doing back home as a result of us leaving. It seems weird and at times doesn’t make any sense but the fact is we had to leave to get out of God’s way. I’m not even sure this is making sense so I’ll say it this way, many times I hear a story of how God is working and I know in my heart that it would not have happened if we were still in Lynden. I’m reminded of I Corinthians 1:18-19 “For the message of the cross if foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.'” God likes to work in ways that don’t make sense to us so we know it is God and not us.
One of the highlights of our time here in Guatemala was the Saturday we spent with Dick Rutgers. Trina wrote about our time in a previous post but I want to share a little different story. When we were at Hermano Pedro, the orphanage for children with disabilities, Dick brought along a few of the kids he calls “his kids”. These kids are mainly boys, although there are a couple of girls, that live near him who he has kind of adopted. In all I think there are around 12 of these teenage kids. Most of them come from pretty rough backgrounds. Most have been abused, their parents have died or abandoned them, or any number of hardships have fallen on them. But at Dick’s place they have a safe haven. And something truly remarkable is happening.
These kids are a huge part of Dick’s ministry. By living among them and befriending them he has created a sort of family unit. He gets to share Jesus and speak into their lives in a way no one else can. He takes them to church on Sundays and to youth group during the week. But it isn’t that he is just ministering to them, they in turn are ministering to the children at Hermano Pedro and around Guatemala. Dick speaks very little Spanish so these kids have become his translators. And when they aren’t translating they are right there with Dick picking up the disabled children and playing with them. And that is what we got to witness. At Hermano Pedro these kids were pulling the children out of their beds and playing with them and loving them. These kids are the hands and feet of Christ.
There is a huge lesson to be learned in watching these kids. If anyone has a reason to be bitter and feeling sorry for themselves, it is them. But they aren’t and why aren’t they? Now I think our logical response would be to give Dick the credit and say that because he has loved them and valued them they have overcome their bitterness. And that might be partly right; however, I know bitter people who have a lot of loving family around them. No, the reason they are not bitter is because they have learned how to serve others – to love others. When we serve others we get outside of ourselves and we stop feeling sorry for ourselves and our bitterness goes away. Instead, the bitterness that accompanies self-pity is replaced by a joy so profound it is able to heal our deepest wounds and cover our most intense sorrow. And this is why we are so anxious to get to Honduras.
A Life Full of Joy
Our time in Guatemala has been good and necessary. We’ve learned a lot of Spanish and it has helped us in our transition to a new life. But the one thing that’s missing is service. Other than hanging out with Dick for that one afternoon we haven’t been connected to any ministry. Trina and I know the joy that comes with serving others. It is why we are here and why we can’t wait to get started. These next few weeks will bring about another transition and our lives will be tossed in the air once again. It won’t be easy. There will be days we wish we were back home. But this we know: God is God and God is good, we are where we have been called, and there is great joy in serving others.