Blessings and Close Calls

Hello from Guatemala, friends! Today is my fifth full day here, and I am enjoying it! Coping with the language difference is definitely a challenge, but the two years of high school Spanish that I took are coming back more each day.

Thank you to all who have prayed and are praying for me! I could sense the Lord’s help the past few days as I’ve packed, traveled, and begun to adjust to this new lifestyle.

I have some fun stories to tell and pictures to show already, so here goes for update number one!

Last Saturday night we went out as a family to Cracker Barrel to have some good quality family time before I left.  We enjoyed having Charles’s good friend, Brian, from college, with us as well.

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It was also Mary’s twelfth birthday!! She got a special free dessert and was sung to by several waitresses. 🙂
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A very competitive game of checkers was in order….

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God answered a prayer of mine that night! Below is my subsequent Google+ post written later that night after returning home:

 

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Monday was my big packing day, and I had a sweet little helper!! It was so fun to spend time with Ella, and she was very helpful. 🙂
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Cutie pie. 🙂

IMG_7046I had a paper to write for my online class…..so I was occupied the entire six hours of plane time!
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I had two flights with a 45-minute layover in Dallas, but when I walked into the airport, my flight appeared to be delayed 20 minutes. I was quite nervous about the possibility of missing my flight and being stranded in Dallas, increasingly so as the estimated delay lengthened from 20 to 30 to 35 minutes. Praying helped to calm me down some, though, as did knowing that God was still in control. Since I had ten minutes or less between landing in Dallas and boarding my next plane, which took off from a different terminal, I cut in line to grab my gate-checked suitcase before literally running through the airport. I ran up and down the long escalators and stepped into the right shuttle ten seconds before the doors closed. This two minute ride gave me some time to calm down a bit, and thankfully I went the right direction after getting out…I did actually turn the wrong way at first but somehow realized my mistake before taking ten steps. 🙂 I made it to my gate and began pulling out my passport, less than sixty seconds before the guy called over speakerphone, “This is the last boarding call for Flight 1034 to Guatemala City…”

As soon as I found my seat on the plane, I realized how very shaky I was, from the panic of the moment and possibly from low blood sugar, since mealtimes were kinda quirky that day. I thanked the Lord for His miraculous provision and help! Just think about it…I could have easily missed my plane by missing the shuttle, running the wrong direction, or forgetting to get my gate-checked valet bag! I am not typically clear-headed when I’m in a panic, so I am very thankful that God gave me clarity of mind in a new place, and I know your prayers helped!!

Mikah and the Schaper family picked me up in Guatemala City, where we stayed the night before doing some shopping and heading to Jalapa the next day.

In case you didn’t know, this is the best way to transfer food from a shopping cart to a cooler on top of the car…

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Beautiful Guatemalan flowers // Ashlyn Schaper and I
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I drove the moto for the first time this week! Actually, I’ve never even ridden a motorcycle before this week. 🙂 Apparently, the motorcycle’s speed is controlled by twisting the right handlebar. I found that out a few minutes before I drove it, so I had just a wee bit of trouble trying to turn. The first time I got on, I was going the opposite way that the photo below shows, and while trying to turn almost 90 degrees to avoid the grassy curb, I accidentally gassed it up and flew right OVER the curb, almost running into a soccer goal and landing the motorcycle on its side, with my leg pinned underneath and both wheels still spinning. The only battle scar I have is a 8-inch scrape on my leg…but it didn’t even bleed.

So this week I rode a motorcycle for the first time, drove a motorcycle for the first time, wrecked a motorcycle for the first time, and I even rode side-saddle for the first time today on the way to church. 🙂
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Thursday was my first day helping out at the school here in Jalapa, and Mikah and I taught first grade all day. This is the biggest class, with fourteen children, and I enjoyed spending time with them. They’re a lot of fun! Of course communication was difficult, though, because I know very little Spanish and they know very little English.

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On Friday, I helped out a bit in first grade and kindergarten, then moved to third grade, which has six students, where I’ll probably be stationed for most of my time here. The teacher in third grade hardly knows any English, however, so that’ll be interesting. The kids can translate a little bit, and they are a fun class, so that will help.

On Saturday evening, we had several of the older school kids over for pizza, a movie, and games.

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MIkah made imitation apple-cider for everyone, but our nice little “Hannah and the cider” picture was photobombed!! Hence this face…

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Your prayers for both Mikah and I are coveted this next week! Thanks for your continual support, and I will keep you updated!

 

Guatemala bound!

Hey friends! It’s been SOOO long since I’ve blogged last, but I’ve got some news for y’all now!  On February 9th, Lord willing, I will be flying down to Guatemala and staying until the middle of April! I will be joining my good friend Mikah, who is currently teaching at a Christian school, while the long-term missionaries are away at language school. While I’m down there, I will also be teaching at the school, which will be a new yet surely enjoyable experience. 🙂

I am currently working part-time as I finish up the rest of my high school work. These things, along with many preparations for my trip, are keeping me very busy and feeling kind of overwhelmed at times. This morning during our church service, however, I was blessed by one line of the song “My Savior’s Love” that says, “He took my sins AND MY SORROWS, and made them His very own!” That reminded me of 1 Peter 5:7, where Peter encourages us to cast all our cares upon the Lord, for He cares for us. Remembering this important truth and giving my little worries and stresses to Jesus for Him to solve really blessed me today. I am still to give my all and do the best that I can, but “He’ll take care of the rest” (Keith Green quote there)!

It’s been a couple of years since my last mission trip (more on Jamaica HERE and HERE), and even then, the longest I was gone was two weeks. The nine weeks I’ll be spending in Guatemala will definitely feel like a long time compared to a couple of weeks. I know it’s where the Lord wants me, though, and I also know that He’ll be with me as I step out of my comfort zone a bit and follow His lead. I covet your prayers! If you are interested in praying for me, here some ideas:

  • Pray that preparations would go well as I finish my last high school work before I leave, as I pack, and all the little things that go along with leaving one’s home and family for nine weeks.
  • Pray that I can adjust to the new culture easily.
  • Pray for the Lord’s help with my homesickness…I know it will be coming at some point.
  • Pray for the work that is going on in Guatemala, at the school and otherwise, and that it will not be in vain.
  • Pray that the Lord will stretch me and teach me a lot
  • Pray for safety, both while I travel and while I am down there.
  • Pray that I will keep my focus on the Lord, not on my difficulties or distractions.
  • Pray for the family, as I’m sure it’s hard for them to get along without their favorite sister…………………………………………..(Oops, did I say that out loud? ….okay, just kidding. 😉 ) Pray for them anyway, since we have a big construction project going on at our house…more on that later. 🙂

I am SOOO excited about this trip!!! I am really looking forward to a new experience and the opportunity to spend time with Mikah! Yes, I do want to keep you all posted on what’s going on in the “land of eternal spring” via this blog! So feel free to subscribe by email if you want to, via the little box to the right. 🙂 Thanks for caring and reading this post, and I’m looking forward to seeing you around here some more!

Photo credit: Mikah Litchfield

What Freedom Means To Me // guest post

Written by Joy McIntosh, 13, for the 2015-2016 VFW contest, Patriot’s Pen. For this contest, middle school students write and submit essays to the VFW and are awarded monetary prizes if they win. Joy did not place in this contest, but we are all very proud of her essay regardless of what the judges thought. She did a wonderful job and wrote about her passion, even though it probably did not appeal to the judges. Good job, Joy! Let her know what you think in the comments below. 🙂


          To Patrick Henry, freedom means life.  The declaration of independence is of the same opinion.  But freedom also means justice.  America without justice would be chaos!  So freedom means life and justice; but it has a cost.

            Freedom means life.  For Patrick Henry, life could not possibly come without freedom!  His statement, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”  conveys this.  The Declaration of Independence states, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Yet America has fallen short of these standards.  Since 1973, almost 58,000,000 precious American children have been brutally, legally murdered before they are born!  Did those Americans have freedom?  I say not. 

            Freedom means justice.  Without justice, we wouldn’t truly be free because we would have to live in fear of those around us.   I’m extremely thankful for America’s government system.  We have a judicial branch to make the laws, a legislative branch to interpret laws, and an executive branch to enforce these laws.  Each of these has a check on the other two.  But not all Americans are treated equally anymore.  Those 58,000,000 children didn’t get justice.  It is our responsibility as Americans to defend our nation against these evils which have snuck in unseen. 

            Freedom has a cost.  A. Philip Randolph said that, “Freedom is never given; it is won.”  America’s freedom was not cheap.  Thousands of Americans gave their lives so that we, the future generations, could have “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The cost that they had to pay was their lives.  But the price allotted to us is to strike down abortion.  We have to give up our right to choose, so that the baby can have the right to life.  Since 1973, only 2 out of 3 Americans have survived the American abortion holocaust. 

            Freedom is life, freedom is justice, and freedom has a cost.  All men are created equal and no one can rightfully take this freedom away from them.  Freedom’s cost is this:  Abortion must be stopped; no matter what.  We can pray, raise money, campaign for the right President, and give speeches at school or at church.  So think about it.  How can you help? Does freedom mean enough to you to do something about this?

Photo Credit: <politicspa.com>