Emotions and memories have been flooding over me recently as I have been working on a mission research project on Paradise Bound Ministries, the organization I went to Guatemala with this past spring.
I remember the intimidating language barrier that turned out to be natural flowing and the source of good laughter.
I remember the long treacherous van rides that explored Guatemala's beaten streets that to us seemed unbearable yet to them was all they knew.
I remember the sight of little girls eating rice and beans with their hands because that is all they have known.
I remember Ricardo, the young boy who completely changed my view on Christ's sacrifice for my life.
I remember the guilt that came with the piercing voices of little children screaming out for 'dulce' (sweets) as we drove by each and every day in our big white commercialized vans, about to return for a large dinner, with America written all over us. They only wanted candy....
I remember the stories that would bring one another to tears at the beauty of a country so broken yet so humble.
I remember the older women of the village seemingly silenced by the daily mundane routine of taking care of wild kids, cooking, and cleaning the little they had, going largely unnoticed by anyone for their efforts. I remember hurting for the young teenage girls knowing this is in their near future.
I remember the chitter chatter of all the kids talking up a storm and there was Henri off to the side, four years old and had never heard or talked.
I remember the brokenness of my heart asking God "what am I supposed to do with all of these conflicting thoughts and ways of life?"
I remember the feeling of missing relationships back home yet wanting to live in the present moment with the relationships I was establishing there.
I remember the majesty portrayed in God's creation.
I remember the young men who helped us with whatever they could while building the houses. They desired and deserved ownership and pride in the work that was being done.
I remember the iniquity I felt as we went back to the missionary base every night to shower and sleep in a clean and comfortable beds.
I remember the dirt stained clothing that would quickly wash off our clothes in a washing machine but would always remain on the Guatemalan's clothing, almost as a permanent reminder of the poverty struck situation.
I remember the little boy who hung around me an entire day and cut up leaves for fun as a game yet never said a word. The simplicity of their life.
I remember the teenage boy who was so overjoyed that I could paint Mickey and Minnie on their wall.
I remember the moments of true grace that the Lord blessed me with in times of doubt and confusion.
I remember the massive amounts of hugs that happened at the end of each work day. How truly genuine they were.
I remember the silly questions the kids would ask about why I didn't have hair and the joy they had in painting my head.
I remember the orphanage so abounding in color, life, and richness of the Lord's goodness and providence.
I remember the conversations back home. The struggle to verbalize my feelings and experiences and have people understand just how much this impacted me.
I remember the beautiful imprint this experience had and always will have on my life.