Week one in Guatemala, done. And even though I never have enough time to reflect and to write and even though I have not felt ready to go “public” with my blog, I am committing now to at least a weekly update while we’re here.
You all deserve it.
So our mission school students left for Guatemala just after the first of the year, and Derek and Heather were tasked to settle them all into rhythms before heading home to have a baby. They are home now, with just a few weeks to go until baby is due, and Ryan and I and our girls are here with the 11 staff and students that make up the first ever Bridge Street Mission School (BSMS).
Our role is one of support; we’re here to hold up the 11 who are here to serve, in a variety of ways. Our team is spending two days a week in La Limonada, the largest urban slum in Central America, teaching art and music lessons. They are spending one day a week in Antigua, supporting a couple starting a café not dissimilar to the Pavilion coffee shop we run back home and providing a weekly ministry to the children stuck in the markets all day where their parents work. They are spending another day helping at a children’s home. They are also helping lead worship and participating in a Bible study at a local church. Their “down” time is spent planning and preparing lessons, cooking all their own meals from scratch (with frequent trips to the fruit and vegetable market and tortilla stand), studying the Bible together, washing dishes, doing laundry, and stuck in traffic. On weekends they’ve been able to get out and enjoy some of the gifts of the area – our first full day here we were privileged to join them on a hike up an active volcano and this weekend we spent one relaxed day in Antigua.
We are joining in with as much ministry as our girls’ schedules allow, and Ryan is still working from here and keeping in touch with our team at home. I have been helping as much as I can in the kitchen, getting meals started in crock pots and baking birthday cakes (we’ve had two birthdays here already since we arrived last Friday). Our pace has been slower, mostly. The sense that Ryan and I both had before we came was that this trip would be somewhat of a sabbatical for us, we’ll still be doing a lot of work – all the essentials of supporting the team here, running a ministry back home, and caring for the girls – but out of our usual rhythms and while sun shines in the windows and where we can have big adventures on the weekends we don’t have other responsibilities.
The house where we are staying is quite nice, in a developing world sort of way. (like we have all the amenities of bathrooms and laundry and kitchen, but nothing works perfectly and if you look too closely at anything, you realize its flaws.) But seriously, we are very comfortable here. Everything is surrounded by walls and barbed wire, but further off in the distances we can see mountains and volcanoes.
I have been asking questions for a while about what it means to be in ministry together as a family, a stay-at-home-mom and the wife of a ministry leader, but an integral part of ministry as well. I think this time away from the daily grind, and this extended opportunity to join the BSMS team, will help offer a breath of fresh air and some perspective. I am having more and more opportunities to trust God with my husband and my girls. He is cultivating peace in my heart and I am grateful.