Learning the Windows 8 operating system has reminded me of some of my as-yet-unredeemed character traits. When things don’t work the way I expect them to–or don’t work at all–I can get my grumble on. It’s easy to assume that if something isn’t doing what it’s supposed to, it’s a Windows 8 glitch (of which there are many). I spent days irritated at the lack of sound on my laptop’s video application before Matt discovered that the volume default was set to mute.
Similarly, back in 2006, my spiritual ear was set on mute with regard to global missions. Matt went a gentle nine rounds with my “no” when the Lord spoke to him about the two of us serving in Guatemala that summer. Who would take care of our kids for 10 days? How would it feel to leave them for so long? Where would the funds come from? Would we need shots? It was all just too messy to pursue. Grumble. Exasperated with the direction I couldn’t hear, I eventually went to the source and huffed out a “Lord!” His still, small voice asked me, “Do you want My way or your way?” My heart squinched up it’s little face, balled it’s fists, and proclaimed, “I want MY way!” Then, knowing where that rebellion would lead in the end, my self-righteousness deflated. I repented. That moment I became close friends with a prayer that has changed my life over the years since, and will surely serve me well the rest of my days: “Lord, help me to want what You want. Help me to want Your way.”
We signed on for the trip and I emotionally muscled my way through the first meeting. Over nachos with the leaders after the second gathering, I enjoyed a revelation with my queso: this was going to be a lot of fun. So I put my shoulder to the yoke, and we got busy. Letters written, Psalm 91 prayed, skirts scored via Goodwill, vaccinations updated, culture-adjustment book read, and a lot of laughter shared. The Lord overwhelmed us with encouragement and provision–enough to pay all of our expenses and another team member’s as well. As we lingered over goodbyes at their grandparents’ house, our children were eager to begin the special time with people they loved. Our then 4-year old daughter gently took my hand and interrupted the conversation with a loving, “I want you to go now.” All cleared for takeoff.
We set off on the trip that opened our lives to serve beyond the box of our language, culture, and comfort. Many lessons were learned: how to brush your teeth with bottled water, how to pace yourself during days filled with activity, how to tailor four formal dresses with a few needles and a lot of God-inspired creativity, how to look around for the hot water knob in the shower <shiver>, how to be content with your assignment and not covet your husband’s, how to NEVER AGAIN drink a large shake before a 3-hour restroom-less drive up the mountain.
We could see the impact of our love and effort. Four young ladies were celebrated at a beautiful coming of age quinceañera (fifteenth birthday fiesta). A developmentally delayed baby girl made so much progress than Matt had to credit the Lord’s goodness rather than his own physical therapy skills. The local women were treated to an afternoon tea complete with spa treatments, gifts, and a time of worship where the Lord spoke to them about uniting in spirit despite their different congregations. The courtyard wall shared with the town’s prosperous witch doctor was fortified with prayer.
And perhaps most important of all, my heart grew. It occurred to me for the first time that English might not be God’s favorite language. I fell in love with the brilliant colors and stoic expressions of people who lived in a simplicity I had never considered before, with the beauty of mountains and cultures that I had yet to ascend.
Vegetables for sale on tarps during Market Day.
A family resting on the curb.
The team walking through the village streets to enjoy some bartering.
This party was worth it’s weight in crepe paper streamers.
With a needle and a prayer, I altered 4 formal gowns for the celebration.
Four special young ladies coming of age.
How can you resist this young man’s grin?
A sweet young lady Matt worked with.
These sweet children are probably a lot older than you would guess. Most of them were at least 4 years old.
Matt working with a little miracle.
Sisters of the Heart.
The colors of Market Day.