Living the Life

The past three weeks have been extremely busy! We’ve had students in ministry sites with us: JMU for a week and then our Bethel semester students returned to work in ministry sites for two weeks. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights:

–          We visited a small children’s home in Santo Tomas for the first time. These kids are waiting to be adopted, which can take a while as international adoptions in Guatemala are extremely limited due to corruption issues. One little boy, Daniel, was going to be moving in with his new family that very same week we visited.

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–          We tended to a group of special needs kids in the clinic one day. This group of kids with developmental disabilities from Magdalena really stretched me out of my comfort zone. We got the opportunity to love the least of these and bring a little joy to kids who often are hidden away.

–          Our women’s group celebrated its one year anniversary! It was so fun to reflect with these ladies on all that we’ve accomplished in a year and to see how far they’ve come in confidence, vulnerability, humility, trust, and self-worth. What a great time to praise God for all that He’s done in our lives in the past year.

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–          Alba had her baby! Thank you for your prayers throughout this high risk pregnancy. She is still in the hospital as far as I know, due to high blood pressure. She had her fifth daughter.

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–          Our clinic students have made great progress on their project compiling and entering data into the computer. We are very excited and thankful for all of the hard work they’ve done to standardize a coding system for our diagnoses and transcribe all of this information into the computer. This will be very helpful for statistical analysis down the road! I’m thankful for their willingness to embrace even the mundane aspects of missions.

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–          We had another “jornada” in San Miguel to check up on the malnourished kids in our nutrition program. One family really caught my heart towards the end of the day (sisters Juanita and Marina and their dad Marcos). The girls’ mom had passed away a while ago and I was so touched by their dad’s sacrifice to take care of the girls and could really feel his love for them as he told us about his struggles to carry his family forward. God bless them!

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–          I went to the hospital for the first time since October with our Bethel students. What an excellent day where we were able to see many different procedures! Two of our students went to labor and delivery with Dra Sara and two stayed with me in surgeries. I am so blessed to have these relationships with the surgeons in the hospital and I am grateful for their partnership! The hardest part of the day was when one of the trauma patients passed away due to too much internal bleeding from a car accident.

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–          I have been loving the level of engagement in our semester students this year! It is so exciting for me to have the opportunity to discuss these tricky topics with them: paternalism in our community, popular practice of witchcraft, Hugo Chavez’ death, debt of developing countries due to the IMF, my experiences in Cuba, missionary interactions in a foreign context… I am so grateful for students’ curiosity and their willingness to let this experience penetrate into who they are and be changed by what they see and learn here. I love study abroad because it is such an incredible opportunity to be stretched out of your everyday, familiar comfort level and wrestle with challenging issues and see from a new perspective that you had never experienced before. Here is an excellent quote from one of my readings in my master’s program: “Research on study abroad must include efforts that move beyond the evaluation or “what works” paradigm to interrogate the fundamental assumptions that shape our pedagogical approach to the study abroad experience and the ways in which study abroad produces identities.” (Nadine Dolby, 2007)

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I wanted to update you on my process of figuring out what I will do when my two years in Guatemala ends in May. It has been a long process of soul searching and considering my goals and values and then looking into different options and stepping out in faith to pursue those possibilities. To make a LONG story short, it has been really difficult to trust in God and move when I am unsure of where my steps are taking me, but God has been faithful. I am happy to tell you that I will be returning to work with the study abroad program where I studied in Costa Rica, the Latin American Studies Program. This is a program offered through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that was incredibly life-changing for me and I am thrilled to get the opportunity to be trained in their academic pedagogy and study abroad philosophy. Study abroad has so much potential to slap us awake when we are trapped in our own little worlds and do not care about the realities of others in another context, to help us to see life through someone else’s eyes, and to pursue our responsibility to respond to injustices on a global scale. I’m excited to see just what my role in LASP will become and how God will use my passions and experience to make a difference in students’ lives. Please continue to keep me in your prayers as it is going to be extremely difficult to leave Guatemala. I love what I do here and I have found family in so many wonderful people. I don’t know how I’m going to muster up the strength to say goodbye! But Guatemala has always found a way to pull me back even when I never expected to return, and I don’t doubt that I will come back again someday.


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This is going to be more difficult than I think! Lord help me!394749_10151483351508421_631435310_n 483682_10200858774015338_307388530_n 541648_10200858769815233_1820889241_n 556596_10151208632166954_1127130543_n

100_1721It’s Semana Santa!

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maurine
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 18:55:46

    Yes. It will be hard.
    We’ve been reflecting this past week that it was the first “Holy Week” back in the U.S. after celebrating FOUR Semana Santas in Guatemala. Made us miss the beauty of the people and the culture even more.

    I will be praying that you LIVE IN THE MOMENT (something we’re always encouraging the Semester Abroad students to do) and take in every precious moment that our good God has for you. RECEIVE it and take it in. Our service is ultimately for OUR transformation, right?

    Keep me posted on specific ways I can pray for you this month.

    Much love to you. And remember, I know what you’re going through 🙂
    Maurine

    Reply

  2. eunikang
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 18:58:02

    Britney! I felt like I could feel your sadness about leaving Guate as I know how close you’ve become with everyone there. I’m so honored/thankful for having had the opportunity to follow you in your journey these past two years. Congrats on your new opportunity with LASP in Costa Rica!!

    Reply

  3. David Messenger
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 21:01:37

    Britney, I feel we have touched each other’s lives in interesting ways and that God must have something special for you to do. We have both been impressed by the people of Guatemala, the countryside, and the fabulous way they celebrate Lent in Antigua. I obviously share your fascination with medicine and the medical profession. Hopefully you continue to be safe in your last few weeks in Guatemala. Depending upon where you find yourself in Costa Rica I can connect with Normal people from our church. Good luck and may God pour his blessings upon you.

    Reply

  4. Profe Reinhard
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 13:59:16

    Britney,
    Felicidades…muy emocionantes estas noticias de los próximos pasos en tu vida. Estoy seguro de que Dios tiene grandes cosas para ti en Costa Rica.
    Bendiciones.
    Profe

    Reply

  5. bjvillhauer
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 08:38:16

    GRACIAS!

    Reply

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