Sunday, August 17, 2008

Being weak and letting go

I hate having to ask for help. I don't know if it's because it shows a sign of weakness or dependency, but I don't like having to do it.
But there is something strange that happens when you are living 2,000 or more miles away from family and close friends and you are dropped into a culture where even getting to the store can be an all day event that you have to get over yourself, over your own ego, and admit that you need people.
On Friday morning I was in the community of Las Delicias working with a team that had come from West Virginia and at about 6 in the morning I woke up with severe stomach pains. I went to the bathroom and was in there for a long time. I tried to pull myself together and even got to the work site that morning, but it was pretty clear that after 20 or so minutes that there was something in my stomach that had to get out. I felt weak, hot and completely miserable.
Pastor Miguel, who is the local pastor of the Las Delicias community was at the work site with me and when he found out I was sick, he made a call to a doctor friend of his close by. The doctor wanted me to come in and see what was going on.
Pastor Miguel drove me to the clinic and made all the arrangements and in 5 minutes I was face to face with the doctor. He asked me some questions and took my temperature and told me I had a very bad bacterial infection that he believed was food borne. He gave me some medicine and told me I was to go home ( back to my apartment in San Salvador). Within hours, Margarita, a very good friend and co-worker, drove me back to my apartment.
I took the medicine I was given and fell asleep.
I am still feeling a little low as far as energy goes, but compared to how I felt on Friday morning, I am a new person!
I have found through several interactions like this that the more I am open and honest about how I feel and what I need, the more I am able to be in true community with people. If I am in pain and don't tell anyone about it, they don't have the chance to help me and share that with me. I would have never had so much time and interaction with Pastor Miguel, but because I was honest about what was going on in my life, he was able to reach out and help me.
I cry more living here in El Salvador. And it has very little to do with sadness, but more about letting go and allowing people in to my life. If someone asks me about my family, and we are in an intimate setting, I can open up and tell them how much I miss them and how hard it is at times to know that I am not there for important events or gatherings. It doesn't get easier. Jesus wants us to be open to Him, and to tell Him how we are truly feeling, but He has also created us in community so that when one of us needs encouragement, or tylenol, or some juice, or a hug, that we can be Jesus to one another.
Acts 2: 44-47
" And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and posessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people..."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Time to relax, Time to think..

This past week I had a break between teams and so Tina and I, along with Matt and the Huff family went on a trip up to see some Mayan ruins in the city of Copan, Honduras.  We stayed at a great little hostel and spent time exploring the ancient city and enjoying one another's company. It was a great way to spend some free time and gave us all a chance to relax and take advantage of living and working in such a cool corner of the world. When was the last time you spent the weekend wandering through ruins?
After Copan, Tina and I left the Huffs and Matt and journeyed on to Antigua Guatemala.  Antigua is a colonial city with cobblestone streets and caf├ęs on every corner.
It is also surrounded on all sides by volcanos. Our first night there it was dark and rainy and we were forced to stay at the grossest hostel in the universe that had green mold growing on the walls. FYI-never stay at the Kafka hostel if you travel to Antigua.  Because it was so nasty, Tina ( the best travel buddy) woke up at the crack of dawn to go and find us somewhere else to stay. She came back at 8:30 with a brand new place for us to stay. It was clean, had a private bathroom and had great views of the volcano. Once we switched our lodging I was convinced that we had to stay there for at least a few days.  We got up in the mornings and just wandered around the city- shopping, relaxing and best of all, eating really good dessert!
It was also such a perfect time for me to reflect on the time I have spent here in Central America and start to think about my future here. Where do I feel like I could be most helpful? Where can I thrive? I love the sights,sounds and people of Central America so much. I want to live side by side with them, whatever that looks like.
 Tomorrow I go back to Las Delicias to work with the next team that will be here and from now until the time I leave I will not have a day off. I am with teams and doing what I love for 18 days straight! I am excited to get to connect with the teams and and this time around know what I am doing!
Please pray that God would continue to provide financially for the rest of my time here, and that He would be able to use me in any way He sees fit.