Wednesday, April 28

Well, This Was a First

Building houses is something that our teams do here. A lot. There's always a huge need for decent shelter for families, since many of them live in conditions that Americans would call slums.

Two weeks ago, a team from Georgia was here and built a home for a family of 4 living together in one room. And not a very big room at that. Our people constructed a much bigger, more sanitary structure that would keep out the rodents and insects and keep the family safe from the elements. The family was so touched by all that was done for them that they decided to make a special gesture of gratitude.

Now, this is not abnormal. Typically, a family who is receiving a home does not have much to give monetarily, but they will do things like buy drinks for the team or maybe share some treats. But this time was different.

The young woman of the family announced to our team that, to show her gratitude, she was going to change her son's middle name.
To Steve.
As in OUR Steve.

When Steve heard this, he was a little bit in shock, but he quickly recovered and posed for a picture with his new namesake.

Good thing "Little Steve" didn't seem to mind much either.

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Wednesday, April 14

Two Years

Two years ago today, we landed in Guatemala....two very tired adults, three extremely excited children, and 27 suitcases containing all of our wordly belongings.

Much of that day is a blur to me, but I do remember lunch at McDonald's (and wondering at the fact that a Happy Meal could cost $20-some didn't. It was Quetzales). I also remember finally settling down into bed for the night, and being shocked when said bed began to move across the floor. And then the walls moved. And everything else. When I realized, Floridian that I am, that this MUST be an earthquake, I decided that we'd probably made a mistake and should head back to the States.

The last two years have been full of incredible highs....and incredible lows as well. I think the best way to describe the adventure we've been on is to compare it to marriage and parenting. Some days you love it and can't imagine anything better. And some days, you ask yourself, "What was I THINKING?!" You know there's a bigger picture and you hold onto that even when the daily minutiae seem like they will overwhelm you.

Last night at dinner, each person in the family shared their bests and worsts of the past two years in Guate. Some were funny, some were poignant. But the bottom line was this: we all feel great peace and great fulfillment in living our lives for a purpose and trying to live in a way that reaches beyond our own needs and wants to help other people. That's not meant to sound arrogant in any way. It's just that, on those difficult days, we find comfort in knowing that we're doing exactly what we're supposed to be doing right now.

Lest I make us sound TOO spiritual.....when it was Jackson's turn to share his "worst," it didn't take him long to announce that it was this: "missing shopping at Target." Have to say, I'm right there with you buddy.

Saturday, April 3

I Can't Say it Better Than This

CS Lewis:
There is a stage in a child's life at which it cannot separate the religious from the merely festal character of Christmas or Easter. I have been told of a very small and very devout boy who was heard murmuring to himself on Easter morning a poem of his own composition which began 'Chocolate eggs and Jesus risen.' This seems to me, for his age, both admirable poetry and admirable piety. But of course the time will soon come when such a child can no longer effortlessly and spontaneously enjoy that unity. He will become able to distinguish the spiritual from the ritual and festal aspect of Easter; chocolate eggs will no longer seem sacramental. And once he has distinguished he must put one or the other first. If he puts the spiritual first he can still taste something of Easter in the chocolate eggs; if he puts the eggs first they will soon be no more than any other sweetmeat. They will have taken on an independent, and therefore a soon withering, life.