Blago de Jaime/Santiago
Well I am not really sure how to begin, so much has happened since I came here and there is so much that I wish to remember and to share with all of you. I am not good with words and I don’t have eloquent thoughts, I just know what I have seen needs to be shared and it is something that will remain with me forever, no matter what path God has placed before me. ‘
Much has happened since I began and I feel like a lot has changed, both in my surroundings as well as within myself. I have seen things that I have only heard about; and I have seen much that I have never even imagined to be true. I have seen what I can only describe as some surreal movie or dream. Walking through jungle-type foliage, and wondering through poverty-stricken towns I feel like I will wake up at any moment and see that this was all a dream, but I know that will never happen. This is real; this sadness, sickness and garbage-filled life is the reality for many Guatemalans. This past week I have found myself stepping back and trying to take everything in. I know that for most of us this is a once in a lifetime experience, and keeping that in mind is sometimes a struggle. It would be so easy to just distract ourselves from what is actually happening and from the people that we are meeting. We can fall in to the trap that many of us fall in to in our everyday lives. Back in the States we drive around our hometowns and pass homeless people almost daily. We had this discussion last night about how many times we pass people in need and what we are going to do about that. Many of us realized that it is not okay for us to just turn away and pretend that they are not there. It is not right for us to make excuses as to why we don’t help them. But that is a reality for many of us. It is not something that we may want to accept but that is what happens so often. We cannot go back and change the past; we cannot do things over again. The only thing that we can control at this point is what we decide to do with out future encounters with the poor and needy. Life throws us many different situations and we must do our best to live in the now.
This trip has been a shock for many, myself included, but we can’t get down on ourselves for our failure to act in the past. That will not DO anything. We all make mistakes and they must be dealt with each individually. But now is a time for us to DO. Now is not the time for despair and self-torment over our faults. We can’t dwell on the past any longer. Look at Peter in the Gospels; he lacked the courage and faith to follow Christ when he desperately needed him. He made a mistake, he denied The Savior three times yet in the end, he knew he made a mistake and he DID something about it. He did not dwell on the past, he admitted his fault and took action. He regained courage in the Lord and became an instrument of Christ. I believe that we all have a similar calling, and that is to be an instrument for Christ. We all have different God-given talents and we have an obligation to use them for the betterment of those suffering. It should be hard for us to go to sleep at night knowing we pasted up the poor on the street corner, it should bother us that it took a trip down to Guatemala in order for our eyes to be opened to the destitute at home. We shouldn’t have to take a trip to a different country in order for us to see that every time we pass up the poor we are passing up Christ. He is in every single person, every human being and when it comes down to it the only thing that matters is how we loved those whom we came in contact with. It is through loving God’s creations that He reveals Himself to us. It is through love that we will find Him and how we can become close to Him. If we can’t connect with the Lord then all our relationships with those around us will be lacking. If we can’t love we can’t have a relationship with Him. Our relationship with Christ is and should be the center of our lives. Everything else stems from our closeness with Him. If we can’t find Him in those on the street corners and in the “bad” parts of town then how do we expect to find Him when He comes again. We all have things in our life we need to change and what better time is there to change then the present.
This trip to Guatemala has been amazing; it has been filled with amazing people and memories that I will never forget. I have laughed and been put in check by what I see. I have thought more about life and what God’s vocation for me is here and I think that is one reason I am here. I also want to share my experience with those of you who can’t see what I have. Much needs to be done for these people and it starts with telling their story. I don’t think I have seen this much love and willingness to serve ever and it is truly beautiful. I am thankful for this opportunity to be here and I hope that I can share even a little of what I have learned.
Peace to all and thanks for all the prayers and support,
Sincerely in Christ,
Dearest son, I read everything you wrote. As John Paul ll said to the youth of the world, ” Be not afraid. Be not afraid; be not afraid!” Choose the apostle Paul as your guide. Recognize your weaknesses, give them to God; then take courage and rise up and step out in faith. This is what you are doing now in Guatamala. May Jesus be praised now and forever. Amen Your loving mother, Suzanne
James – Contrary to your statement about not being good with words and not having eloquent thoughts, it is obvious that your post was written from the heart. You are wrestling with tough issues and definitely issues that you are being led to confront. I encourage you to be open to the things you are seeing and to pray through the process of sorting everything out. Be encouraged and know that you are right where you need to be!