With all do respect...indescribable emotions
25 minutes. 9 hours. 3 days. Just how much time does it take for God to penetrate the heart of a teen? We might never know. But what I do know is that it will not matter what our plan for the teen program was. In 25 minutes today Jeanneane shared her heart - and for the first time in a large group - a deep part of her soul. In 9 hours we were blessed with an opportunity to minister to a group of teens who may otherwise not ever hear about the love of Christ. 3 days - can they make a difference? Can our silliness, laughter, tears, hugs, and honesty shared reach 70 young souls?
Matthew 19:26 says "With man this is impossible, but with God all
things are possible." In the core of my being I believe that God went before us and prepared the hearts and minds of these teens to receive information about Him - to receive hope, forgiveness, love - knowledge of their true identity, purpose, and path. It would be impossible to explain in words how I felt when a group of young men pulled us aside this afternoon as we said our goodbyes to tell us how much it meant to them that we came to spend time with them, that they learned a lot from us and hope to see us soon. To receive a giant hug from a beautiful young woman and be told (if I understood her Spanish correctly) "God bless you and thank you for being here with us."
As Heather and Paula explained to us - we were invited into the school (a public, non-Christian school) to teach teens about some important topics and also to share some of our other thoughts with them. We weren't sure if we would never be invited back or if it would be a big hit. I believe God was working on the hearts of the teachers and principal as well. The principal expressed his gratitude to our team and we receive applause from the kids. Can you imagine? I admit I have bitterness in my heart toward American public schools where teachers are being persecuted and kids told to not hand out Christmas cards because it might be "offensive". Not in Guatemala. Not when God has a plan. We can tell you more about the awesome time with the teens at a later date - but in the meantime, please pray for the teens to feel God's prompt to accept the free gift of grace and salvation.
Take a moment, right now, and think of the possession you own that is your most valuable, most prizes, most important physical possession. Perhaps it's something you're really proud of. Perhaps it's something that has been passed down to you as a family heirloom. Do you have that image in your mind? Now picture yourself giving it away to a group of strangers you met last week. Hard to imagine, right?
I wish you could be inside my head to maybe better understand how I'm feeling right now about a special gentleman named Jose. Jose was very shy the first day I met him - the helper on the construction site I was assigned to. The son-in-law of the couple we were building for. A young man, about 25 years old, with a wife and 2 year old son. A young man with a big smile, a tender heart, and tennis shoes so broken his feet were coming out the ends. By day 2 on the construction site he began joking around with us more and telling us more about his family. By day 3 he was showing us the ropes and felt comfortable enough with our (ahem...horrible) construction skills to take a step back and watch us pour some of the cement floor. Fast forward to today. Today he explained to us that he was finally able to complete his middle school education last year because he didn't have the money to attend school. But during school, he had the opportunity to do some art-type classes and painted something he was very proud of and that hung in his home. And then he gave it away. A gorgeous painting you see in the picture below.
He gave us what was probably the most valuable thing his family owned, something very dear to his heart. But in his words..."there are no words to express how I'm feeling. How much I appreciate you being here and what you've done for my family. You will always be in my heart." After crying what felt like the last tear in my head - I accepted this amazing gift along with Cindy on behalf of High Pointe Church and our Mission team. I'm overwhelmed and was reminded today what true love is. That sacrificial, heart-wrenching, entirely humble, and completely selfless love that compels you to throw the entirety of who you are into your emotions and the way you relate to others. I wonder if maybe I finally get just a small portion of how God loves us?
Indescribable emotions. Tears of joy. Goodbyes too difficult to say so exchanged for "Hasta Luego" instead. It's easier to say "I'll see you later" than to say goodbye. Want to know the best part? It's true. Whether I see Jose, the families, the teens, the children, or others who have grabbed at my heart since last week again in this life - I know I will see many of them in heaven.
God is mighty, and huge, and all-knowing. He divinely placed our group here with these people and used us for His will. For those who know me...you'll know that rendering me speechless is a pretty difficult task. So with a broken yet overflowing with joy heart I will leave you with this....you may never know why you are where you are or who you're with - but God knows. And that person, that situation, that moment, is exactly what He planned for you. Lean in. No...jump in. Head first, heart first, with all of your being. And never look back.