Monday, August 6, 2012

GUATEMALA 2012: (32) We Are On Mission

Surveying the countryside on our final day of work.
We stood from the heavy wooden table in the dining room at Mimi's House. The rain was pouring down in heavy waves on the other side of the glass wall. The sky was dark, but sporadic lightening would illuminate the volcano Pacaya with each flash. We had to nearly shout above the pound of the rain and the rumble of thunder. Although we were dry and safe inside, we all had smiles on our damp faces.

Fontaine shook my hand, pulled me close, and said words that I will never forget, "Welcome to C.R.I."

I understood instantly that a changed had fallen over me. I was no longer a convergent missionary. I had just become a missionary. I was not preparing to travel home... I was traveling back to the home of my parents, the city that was once my home. Kellie and I knew that our desire was to remain in Guatemala, but out of necessity we had to return to Ohio. 

We are missionaries in Guatemala and we are in the United States for 10 months to complete necessary tasks... and then will will return to our new home, San Cristobal Guatemala. What was once permanent has now become temporary. We have travelled through a process, and we have come through as changed people. 

This past 10 day period was like a final examination at the end of a two year soul-searching and truth vetting journey. We had never had our family in the country for any period of time, and over the past few days we were able to get just a small taste. I have no disillusions... I understand that 10 days does not give us a sense of what it will be like when we set our suitcases down and spend that first night in a strange place. But... we have done what we could, and we have done our best to take our time and prepare.

Our hearts are strengthened and we are eager to take that flight. The past year has been incredible for us with: an adoption completed after 6 years of waiting, a house leased after steps of faith, missions training completed, ordination process begun, selling and giving away the bulk of our possessions, 3 trips to Guatemala (the last one including even the 19 month old baby), and allowing God to change our vision, equip us to tell the stories of the children of Guatemala, and watching God provide when we have no means.

Today was my first day back to work after arriving home at 4:00 AM this morning. I was greeted with a phone call from the Human Resource Manager. He asked me to email him a picture of myself and to type a short bio of my career at Kroger. Today Human Resources would announce to the corporation my job change status as I begin to relinquish my role and responsibilities. My exit from the Kroger company officially started today.
The picture I submitted to Human Resources for my press release
I have learned to take every opportunity to tell my story, and so I seized this moment to again tell people about Guatemala. I typed up our story and sent it to H.R. At 5:30 PM this evening, the announcement hit the email box of all our employees. While parts of my faith and testimony had been edited out... enough remained that the message shined through. Here is the second page of my release:

Since this hit the company web this afternoon, my email and phone have been alive with an outpouring of shared faith and support. God continues to provide opportunities for folks to walk with us on this mission. 

As we made our way through airports yesterday I received a message from a close pastor of mine who shared with me that he felt compelled to share part of our story from the pulpit on earlier that day... and at the end of the service, a man approached him asking how he could be a financial supporter of our mission. God is our provision. He is working for us at all times.

And so... I simply want you all to know... Guatemala is now our calling, it is our passion, it is our home. This doesn't take anything away from the deep love we have for our family and friends. This doesn't reduce our tight-grasped memories of all that has brought us to this point. 

I sat at the red-light coming off the highway this evening after the gym and I felt a cool breeze blowing through my open windows. It carried on it a memory of my childhood... cool summer evenings in the backyard that I loved. I suddenly remembered the smell of the trees and the endless days of imagination. I realized that these types of memories will strengthen me on many days to come.

And yet... God has captured our minds, our souls, and our forever. Like Saul on the road to Damascus... we have stood up with our lives different from our encounter. 

So... if you ask us when we are coming home... don't be surprised when I tell you that we leave for home in about 300 days. We are on mission now, spending time in the states to complete necessary tasks. We extend to you the invitation to join us as we prepare our return.

The call of God is unmistakable. We strive to faithfully take steps, and to live our life as proof of His love.

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