In August of 2014, my family and I packed up all of our belongings and moved to Guatemala in hopes of connecting with different ministries and joining hands in what God is doing in this wonderful country. It was a move that we felt in our hearts God had placed there from the very first day we met. It was time, and we had nothing to lose. When you do everything you can to be obedient to what you believe God is calling you to do, nothing can get between you and your obedience.
This does not mean everything will go according to plan. We arrived in country and God's faithfulness immediately began to show. Through Him we found a place to live, a car to drive, and friends to share with. Then things kind of hit a wall. You see, living in a foreign country is hard. In every way. It is taxing on the mind, body, and soul. We found ourselves exhausted after most days. The charm and the excitement often became dull. The vision before us was often blurry and we just couldn't find the right lens to clear things up. We dealt with every emotion possible. At some point questioning everything and fighting against regret, fear, intimidation, expectations, etc. Despite our efforts to be proactive and make connections, we felt alone, and had no clue what to do when we woke many mornings. We had times of excitement and encouragement, with family visiting and encouraging phone calls, but many times found ourselves unable to shake the funk. There were so many cultural transitions and immediate needs right outside our front door. The desire to do more than what you can, weighed heavy on our hearts.
What was behind all this was amazing. In December we had the chance to go back to the United States and visit family and friends. As was expected, we spent most of our time sharing stories about what was happening in our lives and what God was doing in and through us. What was unexpected was how much these conversations would impact our own lives. Through each story we shared, came encouragement from the other end, which resulted in late nights between Jen and I talking about our first 4 months in Guatemala.
God began to reveal to us many faults in our hearts. Our restlessness, frustrations, fears, and doubts stemmed from nothing but our own insecurities and lack of trust. Never before had we struggled together in this area quite like we did during our first 4 months in country. The pressure to perform caused us to set up expectations that weren't there initially, and shouldn't have been there at all. When we came to Guatemala, our only expectation was to follow God every day the best we can, and allow Him to work. Our human minds got in the way, and caused confusion as to what was God, and what was us. This was unacceptable.
I am not one to necessarily praise the calendar by viewing every January as my savior to a better life; but this January has been different. It has became a symbol for us to turn the page to a new chapter in Guatemala. We arrived a week ago feeling refreshed, encouraged, and stronger in our marriage than we have been in a long time. I have started my job at school, and students arrive in less than a week. Jennifer has been making our new house a home, and enjoying her time to get to know our new neighbors (which is a lot easier to do with sweet little lucy running around). God has helped us view our first 4 months as a "grace period" so we could discover things slowly.
It is a new year, and our expectation is God. Nothing else. One day at a time, allowing Him to work, and being obedient to His great Message on a daily basis.