Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Guatemala Journals 3

The week with the children is over. We will spend today with the youth then go to Antigua. Yesterday we had a birthday party / "goodbye Americanos" party. A small group of kids sang in heavily accented English "Happy Birthday to Paul" (one of our team mates) then they swarmed him like bugs giving hugs. It was a sweet, sweet moment. (then they smashed cake on his face..pictured here) The kids were so elated to have cake and ice cream. They pounded down their food - green beans and eggs (sounds strange. tastes good), arroz y tortillas, of course, just so they could treasure that sweet birthday pastel.

We repeated the drill for the afternoon students, after the team dined on the same yummy meal...plus fresh-made Guacamole. I mean, a giant VAT of it. mmmm. (Since avocados grow in Guatemala - there's a big tree outside the ministry center - they are not such a pricey acquisition as in the US.)

As usual, the afternoon class wore me thin. A bunch of kids in one room with our mediocre Bible lessons... thank God for Rolando, our translator. He knew the ropes with these kids and led them through some songs that were tremendously more fun and hip than those 70s kids songs I strummed on the guitar in days previous. The kids loved the one about how Jesus is like hot bread and chocolate - once you get it, you can't help but share! There was another one about penguins...not sure about the theology, but the kids dug the dance moves.

So, as I stepped back to the front with a sore throat and tired voice to yell the memory verse 5 times and trudged through reading another lesson, I felt a little...useless? Then I realized again that regardless of what I do, I'm loving these kids...that's the impact. My task-oriented self has been rocked and God has been merciful to let me see His grace and love...in ways I do and do not understand.

I think of a comment Hermana Sara's (the regular Hope 4 Guat. teacher) made to me one of the first days. I stressed about the schedule and when to start and kept asking her if we needed to gather the kids or at what time...meanwhile students were being loved and hugged by our team and all I cared for was getting the "real stuff" started. Ha. Sara leaned to me and in her broken English said with a big smile, "Is okay! Reeelaaxxx". It made my shoulders go limper and the muscles in my face tense into a genuine smile. Ultra-efficient, control-freak American girl leveled by love. Awesome.

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