Grace Like Rain

The rainy season is starting here in Guatemala, and I am falling in love with the rain. As someone who has lived most of my life outside of Seattle I never thought I’d say that, but it is truly beautiful to have afternoon showers where the rain just POURS and lightning bolts illuminate the sky. The rain has been sorely missed by the people here, especially during a year that has had record highs around Xela and other parts of the country. There was talk for awhile that Guatemala was entering into a drought, which would be devastating for a country in which the large majority of the population rely on their crops of corn and beans to survive. No rain means no food… simple when you think about it, but mindboggling to those of us who live in a society of supermarkets and don’t need to think of where our food comes from for the next meal.
Although the rain was late, it finally came- and in grand style. One afternoon, the skies darkened and it just started to pour. It continued raining throughout the night, and I fell asleep to the rain tinkling on the tin roof above. When I woke up the next morning, I was greeted with a brilliant green- a treasure that had been there all along, but hidden underneath layers of dust. All of the corn shoots that have started to come up in Pachaj were vibrant, celebrating the new life of the rain, and the leaves were still adorned with jewels of dew from the downpour. I was amazed by the beauty of it all, and so thankful to God for this beautiful creation and the wonder of life and rejuvenation that He provides.

It was such a beautiful reminder to know that those gifts are still present, even though sometimes to recieve them we have to pass through dry spells and difficult times when we question if the rain will ever come.  My life in Guatemala has in some ways been like the corn. Through some of the trials that have happened recently, I sometimes feel that I’m also coated with layers of dust and suffocating from heat and lack of water. Although I’m grateful to have the jobs that I have here, the work can sometimes be frustrating when I feel like my Spanish has hit a wall and when nothing I do will control a room of 11 toddlers. Sometimes I question if my skills and passions could be better used in other ways, and then feel frustrated and guilty for thinking that. However, God has shown me grace through these trials and I am so incredibly grateful for that.
While before I was never extremely passionate about my work in the health center, God has renewed my joy there. I deeply love, admire and respect my host mom, and something she said made me realize that my work in the health center is important even when I can feel like I’m not doing too much. She told me that she is so grateful that I’m there, since it allows her to do other work in the community (with water, health, women’s rights / empowerment, etc.) without worrying about what is going on in the health center. Hearing how much it means to her to have me there gave me new love for my work, rooted in my love and respect for my host mom. The work there really isn’t about me at all- it’s about serving others and loving them as I can, even if that love manifests itself in ways that I don’t expect. God has also blessed me with blossoming friendships with the nurse and the doctor, which I am so grateful for! In a culture when most social circles revolve around the family and people at church, it can sometimes be difficult to form friendships in other places. However, God is blessing me with friendships with these two women, and I am so so grateful for that! Even moreso I am beginning to get more joy out of the work itself, which is an amazing blessing as well. I never thought that I’d be able to help hold down a patient while a nurse and doctor cleaned an open wound, but when a little girl with Downs Syndrome came into the health center with a lesion on her leg, God helped me see His face in hers. The sight, the smell, everything went into the background, and I just looked into her tear-filled eyes and saw the eyes of Jesus. Holding down that little girl’s leg while the nurse was cleaning it reminded me of Jesus’ call for us to be servants and foot-washers, and in that moment God showed his immense love by allowing me to serve and love others in the small ways that I can. That experience was incredibly beautiful, and it is one that I will never forget.
There have also been trials in my work at the daycare, but once again God is showing His abundant and amazing grace. Work there started up again in mid-January after about a month-long break in December, but we went for months without a teacher (even though people from the office arrived on various occasions with promises that a teacher would come soon!). This situation was frustrating and worrying at times, and I began to doubt if a teacher would ever come. Aside from that, there were some worrisome situations that surfaced in the daycare regarding some personal struggles of some of the kids there. These situations seemed beyond my control, and one afternoon I arrived at a friend/ mentor’s house crying because I just didn’t know what to do to help. However, she just sat and listened to me, gave me words of wisdom and prayed with me, reminding me that God has me there for a reason (even if I don’t have all of the answers or help that these kids need). She also encouraged me to pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit and that I could be a vessel of God’s love to the children there. Her words rang true, and I was reminded that the most important thing these kids need is a loving example- something that I can continue to try and work towards each and every day. After praying this prayer, I have felt an abundance of love for these kids and know that it is God who is helping me love them better. I am so grateful for this, but also very humbled, because I know that through my own strength and effort it never would have happened as it is- when I tried on my own, I would only feel frustrated, exhausted and tired. Although the kids are still feisty and rambunctious, I know that I’m not working on my own and take great comfort and solace from this fact. As continued answers to prayer, the psychologist from the health center will also be working with the kids a little bit each Friday, and just today our teacher came! She’ll be coming daily- a huge blessing and help to doña Consuelo, and a great help to me too 🙂
Going through these struggles, I’ve realized that they’ve just made me more dependent upon God and so amazed by the ways in which he provides grace. I’ve also realized that my struggles are incredibly small in light of what others go through, and this has been a humbling and eye-opening experience (and a very necessary one!). I’ve come to realize that we are all like the corn; we all go through struggles and dry spells, and we all need that sweet, rejuvenating, life-giving grace that God provides. Right now my host mom Juana Herlinda is facing intense struggles with her health (ovarian cists, stomach and back pain, hemorraghes, etc…), and although it is not serious enough for an immediate surgery, it is still a struggle for everyone in the family and is worrisome to not know exactly what is going on in her body. However, throughout all of this she is holding fast to the Lord, and is confident that He will heal her (whether through prayers, a miracle, medicine or a surgery). There are so many other stories of people’s struggles, as well as their faith, and through it all it is amazing to see God’s fingerprints of grace upon their- and all of our- lives.
For this, I love the rain. It is a tangible reminder of the grace that we all need, and no matter what happens we can never, ever get enough.

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3 thoughts on “Grace Like Rain

  1. Steve Aeschbacher says:

    Wow! and Amen!

  2. Alice says:

    This is so beautiful. Thank you Annie.

  3. Alice Aeschbacher says:

    This is probably the third time I’ve read this. So evocative and powerful. Thank you for this, dear Annie.

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