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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Consuming Fire

"...for our “God is a consuming fire.”" Hebrew 12:29

Getting closer to my 3 year mark living in Guatemala and I have been contemplating many things about life, and purpose. 

I heard this scripture today as I was listening to this guy talk about The Spirit of Christ. Being Holy is not about going to church every week or "being good". It's about allowing myself to give of me over to Him and allow Him to to consume me. I don't know if that makes sense...I don't know if I even understand it.

So I went on a prayer walk and I realized that I allow things to consume me that only gratify temporary desires and wants and at the end of the day I feel empty and unfulfilled. 

I came to Guatemala to serve a purpose and I have been feeling like I have lost something very important...a spark, a light. I have lost that consuming fire. I think "lost" is not the correct word, because I don't think that we can lose something so beautiful and so good. I believe that I have put it away and not allowed it to take over me...it has been replaced by "self".

I want to make changes and I am excited about them. I honestly do not know what exactly will happen, but I do want to be different. 

Some praise me for what I have done, but it's not for me. All of it is for my creator, my love, my LORD, my consuming fire. 



Friday, April 28, 2017

Sleepless nights

"Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires." Psalms 37:4

It's past midnight, I can't sleep so I decided to share what is on my mind tonight.

I finally posted something on social media that has been on my mind, thoughts and prayers; I want to move back to California. Once I put it out there for people to see I got scared and I started second guessing myself.

I thought that maybe people would look at me as if I had failed or did not complete a mission. Then a friend said something that gave me courage, "...remember it's your relationship with God no one else's..." (Thank you Shanelle).

This beautiful relationship has taken me places and been able to live a life that has been filled with joy, laughter, fear, leaps of faith, tears, courage, failures, etc. I do not have any regrets.

I have been volunteering at a local orphanage on Sunday's and I feel so happy doing this because of what I have been able to bring, but most importantly what it has created within me. This, my friend, is what holds me from leaving. However, I hear The Spirit saying, "I'm not finished"

What is keeping me up tonight? A simple thought that popped in my mind, that has been lingering for weeks, possibly months, but I have not entertained it as much as tonight. My heart desires to work with children with special needs once again. I worked for Apple Tree for 10 and a half years. I learned so much working for that company. It wasn't so much the place, it was the children I was able to serve. It challenged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone.

I work about 11 hours a day, 5 days a week to be able to pay bills and feed my cute cat so it is difficult to quit and do what I would like to do here. Opportunities here are scarce.

I started to think of the children I have worked with in the past and would like to do that once again. I will still be able to serve once again going to mexico for the Tecate trips (click here for info).

I will continue to pray for guidance and see where and when God will take me.
Our last speech therapy session 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Trust also in me

“Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me. 
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.””
John 13:36-14:4 NLT
                  



What an incredible scripture! It's a reminder that though Peter was going to disown Jesus, there was a promise. A promise that involves forgiveness and love. I can picture it, Jesus speaking the truth about his future sin and even then He says "don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God." He was telling me, "Ana, trust me! Keep calm"

If you haven't heard of this guy named Brant Hansen, well it's time to get to know him. I started listening to him on a radio station and when he left the station I started following him on Facebook. He is funny, but most importantly he is a man who speaks truth about God without the glam. Well, in his own way and perspective. 

My guilt comes from not understanding God. In my last post I spoke a little about how I have been feeling and God wanted to take care of my heart. Knowing God and his love for us does not involve a sheet of rules; It involves our hearts. 

No matter how "bad" we are His love for us does not change. I saw a video of Brant talking about this reminding me of something that I need to be confident in.


One thing that I have seen throughout in church culture (even the church I go to) is how people are lifted high for their achievements. In reality the people God has chosen are not those who stand out in public. It's those who stand out due to their hearts. I love to be praise and God allows my heart to be humbled because the glory needs to go to Him. I hope that as I write about things happening in my life, it does not reflect me, but reflects Jesus' heart. If it was up to me I would stay home and watch movies, but the Spirit moves me to serve the least. 

Some may not understand why I am not serving at church teaching English. This has made me feel insecure and guilty, but I know that it was part of God's plan to move me out of the way and have someone else step up. I was tired and overworked. I was not doing what fills my soul, which is serving those who have gone through abuse or have been abandoned. I believe with all of my heart that God will use my story, my journey to help others. 

I hope that you feel super loved and cared for by God, even in times when you have made decisions to step away. God wants to reassure you that He loves you, He is good and will not let go of you no matter how far you part or what religion tells you. The bible tells us so much about His compassion and forgiveness, don't forget about that!

Take some time to watch Brant






Thursday, September 29, 2016

Flight to Mexico

I don't believe in coincidences, I believe in GODincidences.

I'm currently on a flight to California, but prior to this flight I was flying to Mexico from Guatemala. On my flight I met the sweetest lady. We talked the full 3 hours and we waited for the next flight together though we we were going our separate ways. 

We talked about love, finances, health and Jesus. We laughed about life, talked about deep rooted issues and the scriptures. She was on her way to New York to meet up with the love of her life. Her story blew my mind. It reminded me that God has a perfect love story for each one of us. His word is a love letter to us filled with sacrifice, compassion and reminders of how much he loves us. 

Forgiveness was one of our topics. She asked me if there was anything that I was holding on to. She made this association with my health. Sometimes our bodies react to our emotional state of being. It got me thinking of so many things and circumstances. I do hold on to things and allow them to hinder me. I've been feeling guilty which is a feeling that has followed me since I was a little girl. I need to ask God for healing, reconciliation and peace. 

I really needed someone like that today. I needed to be reminded of my perfect love story with my Lord. I need to get back on track and allow the Spirit who lives in my to flourish and allow it to do its work in me. 

I can't wait for December because that's when my new friend will be back in Guatemala and we can continue our deep conversations. We will be meeting in two months for coffee. I am looking forward to it. God is good all of the time and sends us people right when we need it. 

“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!”
Hebrews 13:2 NLT


                                         

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hogar

Last week I started going to an Hogar that's about a mile from my house. I had been praying about it before I came back to Guatemala because I was told that one of the little boys needed me. 


My little guy, Pedro, has delays in his speech and language. He is 5 years old and I probably can understand 15% of what he says. 

The first time I went, he looked at me and started to cry. Not what I was expecting. I took that opportunity to mingle with the other children in the home. Before I left, he sat next to me for a few minutes to play with a little car. 

I encouraged the staff to talk about me everyday in hopes to spark something in him and not be in shock when I arrive a few days later. 

Our next encounter was perfection. As soon as I entered the home I saw him on the other side of the house, waving at me, asking me to go join him. There was something special that happened in me at that moment. 

This was when I was able to notice his delays as we played and looked at a book together. All of the other children were surrounding us, participating in our story time. 

This week I was able to go again and spent a little time together with Pedro. We played and looked at a few books. 

Later we joined the rest of the kids where we took a few selfies. 

God always knows what we need and what is best for us. I enjoy visiting this home and I pray that God will bless it. 








Special Guest: Ashley Harris

"36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”  Mark 9:36-37

The school year has started and there are a handful of new teachers at CAS. On the first day of orientation I met Ashley who was sitting very quietly between some of the teachers. I noticed her quiet and gentle spirit imidiately because she sat around others who were a bit more talkative. I soon found out that she had arrived the day before. By the end I introduced myself and offered my help since I had a vehicle and I too needed to buy some groceries. 

I have been reading some of her blog posts and it's evident of her love for the Lord. I wanted to host her here so you can meet her and follow her journey as she love the little first graders. She is very insightful and deep in her blog



This is her story: 


1. Background information
Born in Warner Robins Georgia to Michael and Jada Harris on February 14. My Mother, Jada Harris has worked in Christian Education for 30 years now and has made me her assistant practically since I could talk. A love and passion for international travel and work was instilled by my father who was in the Air Force and constantly bringing home fragrant gifts and exquisite stories and photos from abroad. I grew up with an older brother, a younger sister and two more younger brothers, so the more people I can have around the better. When I was in kindergarten the Gospel was presented in an Easter chapel at my school, during which I broke down and after talking with my teacher, prayed and asked God to be the Lord and Savior of my life, thanking Him for His love and payment for our sins on the cross and believing in the power of His love. Since then I have been seeking to follow Him with my life, praying that He use me to be His hands and feet bringing the love and hope of the Gospel to the world.

2. What brought you to Guatemala?
Technically who brought me to Guatemala, God absolutely. And a woman who was an administrator with my mom at Grace Brethren Christian School who has become like an adopted grandmother to me over the years. She learned of my passion for international missions and felt a call on my life like I did to serve internationally one day. Her church has been going to Guatemala since the early 1990's so in 2011, she asked if I would prayerfully consider going. Which I did and within a few months ended up on a plane to Guatemala for the first time. Looking back I'm not sure what I was expecting, though definitely not that it would change my life and my heart. That the sparkling eyes of the people of Guatemala would forever be etched on my heart and soul and that God would bring me back over and over again and now to live and serve in this country for His Glory to reach the brokenhearted with the love and hope of the Gospel.

3. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
One of my favorite quotes is "Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." by Maya Angelou. Growing up watching my mom in Christian Education and being thrust into the circle at an early age I saw the truth in a quote by J.C. Maxwell, "A teacher is one who know the way, goes the way, and shows the way." Especially in Christian education where a teacher does not just light the way for academic pursuits but stands as a light for The Way, The Truth and The Light, the way to hope and love and eternal life. An opportunity to used of God to stand as a light for children all over the world is a beautiful blessing to me.

4. Any goals for this school year? 

 I would love to see each child blossom this year, in school and in their lives. I pray that they see the love of Christ and the hope of the Gospel through their teachers and in everything we do this year. This year I pray my students think, question, design, create, struggle, collaborate, try, solve, invent, reflect, and learn. I pray to inspire my kids and I can't wait to see how they will inspire me.

5. What do you expect to get out of this school year?

 I look forward to collaborating with other teachers at the school both in and out of work. For it has been said by Robert John Meehan, "The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives." I pray to grow in the Grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am learning to trust Him more and more and step out in fearlessness when He asks me to walk on the waters. My verse for this year, prayed about and adopted in January is "Be Strong and Courageous. Do not be afraid, Do not be discouraged, For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 Getting a call to move to and teach in Guatemala with one week preparation time definitely was a call for me to grow in my trust of Him but I still have a ways to go and I look forward to how He works this year.

6. Favorite moment so far these past 2 weeks of school?
 About half my class ended up sick by Wednesday of this week, out with fevers and stomach bugs. It was pretty bad. The first one to get sick was a little girl who ended up being out for the last two days of the first week, which we only had three days to start so it was interesting. But she came back on Monday with a picture for me, drawn on this little slip of paper in all primary colored markers of her and I which she handed to me with a big hug and exclaimed, "Oh I Love You Miss!" Then sat down and began quietly reading.

7. Final Thoughts? 

 "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much" Helen Keller
"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3

Here are some pictures she sent me from her volunteer work here in Guatemala. 





Thursday, September 15, 2016

Rain

"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 
1 Thessalonians 5:18

As I sit here in the dinning room, which is also my living room, I can't help but be thankful. It has been raining a lot the past couple of days and I truly enjoy the sound of rain, but the best part is when it stops and I can hear the birds chirping.

On Monday I went to an Hogar near where I live to play with little kids. My purpose is to be with one little boy and help him with his developmental delays. I feel super honored and I pray that I can help him the best that I can.

Being back to Guatemala has been great and I pray that God can continue to use me as His tool to help those in need. The funny thing is that I believe that at the end of the day I am the one helped. Isn't this sometimes the case when we give?

School started a week ago and I absolutely love it! The kids I have this year are amazing and I know that there will be a lot of growth this year. The children know how to brighten my morning and I honestly look forward every morning to get up and get ready to go to work. Please be praying for me and the children in my class. I want to show them a little glimpse of the love of Christ. 

Gracias! Here are some pictures of my classroom.