This was a question that my friend Les Peters, the founder of Impact Ministries, asked me two weeks ago, shortly after arriving in Tactic, Guatemala.
My answer: a full blown yes. I didn't have to think about it. I wasn't shocked by his question. Or my reaction.
I was at home. And I was experiencing it with my family.
I was at home. Even though I knew I was only staying a week. I was living in the guest house but I didn't feel like a guest. I felt immediately connected. Loved. And filled with joy.
Guatemala is a place that holds a huge part of my heart. It was so hard leaving and it has been hard writing this post because it makes me really reflect on what I left. I wish I didn't have to leave because it is home there - in a whole other way than here.
But I know that home isn't just a place. But it is relationship.
Filled and healed relationship with God, myself, and people around me.
And God is doing so many amazing, incredible, and almost inconceivable things in that community.
He is working. He is shining down His love and blessings. He is giving hope.
Hope to a people that have been oppressed and weighed down.
Hope to a people who don't know what it is to dream.
Hope to a people who live in a 24 hr cycle of hoping to be able to get food for their family.
But Hope is changing these cycles. Giving dreams. Instilling worth.
Providing a seedbed for growth. And completely changing lives.
Including my own.
Six years ago, I never would have dreamt I would be where I am today. Filled with a story of healing and hope. Back from my fourth (and definitely not last - Lord willing) trip to Guatemala.
And witnessing change in incredible ways in my life and Guatemala that can only be explained by one things - God.
His life-changing, hope-giving, worth-instilling, and revolutionary Gospel.
While in Guatemala, I had many amazing and life impacting opportunities. But a couple stand out among the rest... So if I may, I will share some of those things with you now..
I had the immense privilege to be able to stand before one of the school devotionals and personally thank each child there for praying for me. While I was sick, every school was praying for me. I knew one of the schools was, but I didn't know all 1300 amazing children were. And you know, God heard those prayers. Those prayers from hearts that physically are small, but emotionally and spiritually are overflowing. Prayer is powerful and from the lips of all those children, powerful seems too weak a word. I was able thank them for praying and encourage them that they helped changed my life because God not only heard but also answered their prayers for healing. It was a pretty incredible moment.
Another moment that stood out for me was the official Seeds of Tomorrow Greenhouse opening (you can read more about this in my last post here). It was a surreal moment for me - Seeing how God worked and completely changed my dad's heart, gave him a vision, and then brought that dream into reality in 15 months! It was amazing and such a blessing to be a small part of. The gratitude was tangible by all in attendance (approximately 1000!). It was a special morning indeed. And all glory to God!
The last story I will share in this post is about my sponsor child - the one who left that special message months ago (you can read more about that here!). Going to her house and seeing her whole family together with most of my family was so special. Thanking her for all she has done for me - including earnestly praying for me - and sharing my love to her. I bought best friend bracelets and had the joy of giving her one. I know that forever is a long time but I also know we will be connected for eternity. Being with her family and mine honestly felt like being in heaven. The Spirit was so present as we shared love, tears, prayers, and gratitude with another. It is a moment I will not forget.
And to top off that amazing visit, I saw her twice after that - at church and at the greenhouse opening, and we were both wearing our friendship bracelets. And she was also wearing the beautifully and lovingly knit sweater a dear friend of mine made for her.
This trip was one I will never forget as I did not know if I would ever be back again due to my health. But God is so amazing and has blessed me beyond belief.
So I am thankful. So very thankful to Him.
Because I know it was Him and not me that got me back to Guatemala.
It is all Him.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:1-5 ESV)