Thursday, August 28, 2014

special guest: Baeley Hathaway

Angel Mateo and Baeley
My name is Baeley Elaine Hathaway. I am 17 years old and I go to North Idaho College. I am studying psychology and Spanish and plan to get my doctorate of psychology and practice bilingual therapy. Right now I coach gymnastics and nanny. On August 31 my sister married a man who has been a family friend for years. His mother adopted twin girls from Guatemala about 7 years ago and upon returning home, has started a non profit organization to help fund orphanages in Guatemala. She is currently sponsoring Esperanza y Futuro.

I have been to Guatemala twice now and I think I decided to go for a month this summer because of how wonderful my first trip was. Guatemala has always been on my heart since I was a little girl and when I met my brother in law's mother and found out she has an orphanage in Guatemala I knew it was God's work. I chose a month because that is how long my break was for school, but if I had it my way, I'd never leave!

During my month in Guatemala so many beautiful and memorable things took place. It would be impossible to chose a favorite or a most valuable. But one story I feel is worth sharing is about a little boy I met outside of the orphanage. I was asked to babysit the children of the woman of Santo Tomas while they listened to a guest speaker talk about personal hygiene. I arrived and was given a box of things to do to entertain them. Most of the children colored pictures and waited for me to make them a bracelet made of beads the colors of Jesus' life and death. But one boy sat in front of me and stared. He was probably 2 years old. I asked him if he wanted to color and he said nothing. I asked if he wanted to help me make a bracelet and he said nothing. He just studied my features and I wondered if it was his first time seeing someone with light hair and skin. After quite a while he finally agreed that I could tie a bracelet around his wrist. I told him the colors meant that God loves him very much. He held out his little hand and he watched me tie a knot. Right as I pulled it tight, I said "que guapo!" Or "how handsome!" And his little chin raised up and he grinned the biggest grin at me and jumped into my arms. He hugged me tight for minutes and with no words, I felt his innocence and his willingness to love. His little head against my chest, he was healing me from the outside in.

I learned so many things about myself while in Guatemala because allowing yourself to experience a different culture also allows you to discover what makes you, you. I came to Guatemala with hurts and wounds I had no idea how to heal on my own. I came feeling insecure, worthless, and drowning in an attempt to stay afloat. I barely had faith in God and had no faith in myself. By being accepted as a friend by these girls and getting to share laughter and tears with them, I learned that i will have worth no matter what people say, no matter the mistakes I make, because I was made by something worth everything. I learned that I cannot love other people if I don't love myself because if I am going to claim that everyone has beauty, I cannot discount myself. I learned that boys and girls, children and adults, rich and poor, are all alike. We are alike in that we all feel alone sometimes. We all need to discover ourselves and the only thing that's different is how we do that. Because I tried so hard to show the children at the orphanage how beautiful they are, and to believe that they are treasured and loved beyond measure, I must believe that also about myself. The peace I feel in my heart when I am in Guatemala taught me that I am not here by mistake. The last thing I learned is that my worth doesn't only exist in a different country. I am not only called to serve Guatemala; Guatemala just reminded me that everyone I come across from every walk of life can be loved, and that I have enough to love them.

This is the most precious thing I am taking back with me: the knowledge that sometimes I need help, and just alike, sometimes I need to give help. I am taking back all the precious kisses I received from the children and I will use them to remind me to keep fighting when I feel defeated. I am taking back my gratitude for the mere fact that I am alive and breathing, for my family and friends, for all of the blessings I have. I am not alone, I am not forgotten, I have a family in two countries and I am taking back all of the love I felt from them.