Hey all! So, I know you might be thinking that it’s strange for me to write a blog post already when I’m not actually leaving as a YAV until the end of August, but I have a few good reasons to write:
1) I’ll be leaving exactly 3 months from today for pre-departure orientation in Stonypoint, NY, in preparation for this coming year as a YAV! Then, just a week after that, our team will land in Guatemala, anxious and excited for whatever this year has in store. Crazy. Exciting. A little unreal. But awesome, nonetheless.
2) Exactly a week ago today, I graduated from Whitworth University… another huge landmark in my life! Among the hustle and bustle of “goodbye-for-now”s to professors and friends, packing up, driving back home, unpacking / organizing everything again, writing thank you notes, and getting used to being back with my family of 4 instead of my family of 9 (me and 8 other housemates …gotta love college life!), I haven’t had much time to think about what this transition actually means. My time at Whitworth was a huge blessing, comprised of four very rich years full of incredible growth, relationships, changes and challenges. I am so grateful for everything I learned and experienced there, and for all of the opportunities my education gave me –especially for the formative months spent in Central America.
My first taste of Central America came in a 3 week trip to Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala, as part of a 3 week intensive oral Spanish trip. I immediately fell in love with the country and with the people, and felt a deep connection with the vibrant culture of Guatemala. Then, through a series of incredible events and connections that I can only describe as God, I met people who are part of a ministry team in Xela called InnerCHANGE. I immediately connected with the InnerCHANGE team as well, along with the boys they work with. By the end of those three weeks, I had a feeling that it wasn’t my last time in Xela, nor my last time with these new friends. As it turned out, I had the chance to return to Guatemala the next year in the beginning of a 4 month trip through Central America. This time, my love for Guatemala and the people there only deepened, and I felt an even stronger sense of belonging and call there.
While I didn’t know exactly how this connection would pan out, I did have a very strong desire to return to Central America after graduation. After looking into a few different programs and service opportunities, the chance to serve with YAV seemed to fall into my lap. It was perfect actually, and mind-boggling to see the way that God’s hand was working through all of it: having service opportunities in Guatemala, some very near Xela, where I first felt called and fell in love with the country; having many work opportunities that are all specifically related to interests of mine and potential options for discerning vocation and pursuing future careers … it was all truly incredible, and throughout the entire discernment process I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and security about the decision to serve with YAV. Even though I still don’t know exactly where I’ll be in the country or what type of work I’ll be doing, I know that God is very clearly moving and leading me back there. It just seems right, and I’m so excited to see what happens!
Now here I am, with 3 months of time before I next step foot in Guatemala – this time for a year. I stand at a crossroads- today, May 20, 2012- looking both forward and back. In both places I see the abounding love, grace, and provision of God, which is at once both humbling and inspiring. It is amazing to watch how He has already been at work in my life and to see how He is continuing to do so, leading me towards Guatemala once again and preparing me for this year and this work in ways that I can hardly imagine, dream or comprehend. Because of this, I know that I can enter into this new phase of life fully trusting that God will continue to provide, confident that whatever is to come will be just as rich as what has already been. I’m excited to continue to dwell in the possibility and hope of the future, while also enjoying the present and appreciating the past; striving to live intentionally into the blessings that God provides. I want to live in the tension of the crossroads, ever mindful of God’s masterful work, and letting myself trust in Him throughout life’s transitions.
So, this is why I write today. I am mindful of trust and transitions, still not even fully aware of what those two words mean but willing and ready to give it my all. My heart is happy to be at home for the summer, to settle down and prepare for this big, new life transition as a YAV. My heart – the “corazón guatemalteco” side of me – is also happy to return to its other home in Guatemala, and I know that will come before I know it. Until then, I am content to be here among family and friends, remembering and rejoicing in all of the blessings and richness that God provides to us all.