• Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala

    Lessons on Faith from Guatemala

    We’ve been back from Guatemala for almost two months now. Tim and I are still so grateful to Lemonade International for welcoming us in to such a special place. We continue to process what God had for us there, but these lessons on faith keep rising like sediment in my thoughts. The Lord used my ignorance. This was Tita’s response to how she first came to this violent place. The Lord led her in to find a gang member who had been at the hospital where she volunteered. She didn’t realize it was ‘The’ La Limonada – an infamous Guatemalan slum synonymous with danger and fear. This has filled my…

  • Faith,  Guatemala

    For Those Not Standing

    Tomorrow we celebrate Mother’s Day. Many of us, filled with gratitude, honor the love, sacrifices and prayers of our moms. For many others this day brings grief, longing and inescapable reminder of what they do not have. I think about my friends who have lost their moms far too early, others who have faced miscarriages if they were able to get pregnant at all and those who have painful memories of a mom who was not there for them. We rejoice with those who rejoice. And we mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15) For those whose hearts rip as their newsfeeds fill with pictures of Mother’s Day bouquets and…

  • Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala

    What does Lemonade Child Sponsorship do?

    This week I witnessed an incredibly unique sponsorship program in a uniquely challenging and beautiful place. Focused on a single (but large!) slum in Guatemala City, Lemonade International is a small, intentional and relational organization which allows them to go deep rather than wide in their impact. Mobilized by God, local Guatemalans walk into this dangerous neighborhood with very specific goals for the children who live there. There is no presence of another development organization, government aid or even the police in these neighborhoods. One Guatemalan recently said, “I never stopped to think there are families with children living there. I just thought they were all thieves and gang members.…

  • Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala

    Day 3: Following Upward

    After going to bed with a heavy heart the night before thinking of the horrors the children I had just played with are facing, I woke up with the renewed excitement to be apart of standing against such evilness. Another day of enjoying an incredible team of people, the opportunity to attempt Spanish, to engage with the work that makes my heart & God’s come alive, to learn more about Guatemala and to know God more. To my surprise, God had a hope-filled schedule for us to stand in contrast to yesterday. Including an opportunity to visit our sponsored child Cristian once more in his classroom where we built puzzles…

  • Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala

    Day 2: Denied. Precious. Joyful.

    The slum of La Limonada began as a squatter community in a large ravine between two zones in Guatemala City. In a 1 mile long and 1/2 mile wide, somewhere between 60,000 and 100,00 people live in 10 different barrios. An address in La Limonada conveys you are zone-less, unidentified on most city maps. Everyone is afraid of you, assuming you are a thief, criminal or gang member. This was the theme of our day 2 in Guatemala. Stories of women trying to get a loan from the bank and being denied based on their address. Men searching for honest work but not hired based on their address. Women and…

  • Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Fun Times,  Guatemala

    Day 1: Violence & the Aroma of Christ

    This is not the way it’s supposed to be. Today we walked around in a dangerous, gang-filled barrio. We saw the blood still on the street from yesterday’s shooting and listened to stories of heartbreak. And then we returned to internet and heard about more heartbreak from Boston. What causes people to act out in violence against other people? How can we respond? After 19 years of working with gang members, Tita pictures these fierce youth as scared children who were never given definitions for love unmingled with abuse, home separated from insecure and neighborhood un-dominated by tension. She believes in the power of love to break down these walls…

  • Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala

    Guatemala Preparation

    In heart preparation for our upcoming trip to Guatemala, I have been re-reading Compassion by Henri Nouwen. This book delves into this beautiful attribute of God which led him to act on our behalf by becoming “God-with-us”. “He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7-8) On a trip like this, we will see much that will move us with compassion. Children living in extreme poverty, with constant abuse or neglect and without hope for any kind of future. How will we act on behalf of…

  • Faith,  Fun Times,  Guatemala

    A True Love Twitter Story

    Once upon a time, there was a boy and there was a girl. They lived far apart and for the better part of three decades, they had never met. One spring day the boy decided to do a series of blogs about social justice. He also decided to tweet about them. The girl stumbled upon said boy’s blog while searching #socialjustice tweets. Through mutual interests, mutual friends and a dazzling dose of providential intervention the boy and the girl began to tweet, email, text and talk on the phone to each other. By Fall, the boy and the girl finally met each other in person and with a little help…

  • Extensions,  Faith

    Dignity or Dichotomy this Holiday Season?

    The season has begun! And for those with big hearts, questions arise about who can be helped this Christmas. How can we give generously to those in need? What a cause for celebration, when Christians live counter-culturally. But as our thoughts go toward the poor, I think we often create an unhelpful dichotomy between us who have and them who need. This dichotomy seems to grow as our mailboxes are flooded with gift catalogs and opportunities to donate in the name of our loved ones. Some of us respond hoping to replace season greed with generosity or as a gentle reminder to our children to be grateful for the number…