January 29, 2013

guat's up | part six

(not caught up? read part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5

oh hey it's my crazy amazing team. hi! 

So I won’t go into details because sickness is no fun. Laying on your bed, not able to find a comfortable position is no fun. Running to the bathroom every 30 minutes is... you’re right! No. Fun.  

That weekend I was supposed to work. (I would love if you go back and read part five, if you need a refresher in what happened) I was supposed to spend Saturday and Sunday with the kids and get to know them, and help get their meals together, and put them to bed, and be so utterly exhausted and worn out but satisfied. I was supposed to be doing mission work that weekend. And Monday. And Tuesday. But for all of those days, I was in bed with the worst stomach flu I have ever had. WHAT HAPPENED TO EVERYTHING THAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DOING. Now, as you’ve probably gathered, I had a lot of plans for my trip to Guatemala. And I was going to accomplish everything I had set out to do. 

Now, let’s go off on a tangent here. From the moment I knew I was going to Guatemala, I prayed constantly, “Jesus, do great things. Take this summer and run with it, please.” I gave it to Him. I told Jesus that He could have Guatemala, He could have my relationships, He could have my summer. But there is a difference between praying that, and then actually believing that it will happen. So when I got to Guatemala, I was like, “YES JESUS. You have it all.” And then I got sick and said, “Um, Jesus what is going on here.” I was willing to surrender my summer as long as my plans happened. Haha. HAHA. I literally laugh out loud when I think about that. But I am so grateful that my God is so much bigger than my itty bitty plans and that He always has good plans for me. 

So back to being sick in bed... I was miserable. My teammates would come in and out of the room sharing story after story and I WAS MISSING IT. But, then I read this verse, Colossians 3:1-3, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Set your minds on things that are above. What a great phrase. So I again surrendered my weekend to Jesus and asked Him to give me power to make that happen. And He did. I got better and I came out thinking differently about Jesus.

Now I’m going to stop again, I hope you aren’t getting seasick from all of these breaks in the main story. You might be reading this and be thinking, “WOW. This is like a spiritual journey. There is SO MUCH Jesus all the time.” Yes, you’re exactly right. And that, quite honestly, is how it should be. My trip to Guatemala was fun. Amazingly fun. I had the best team and worked with the best people at the orphanage. So there are parts of my story that aren’t necessarily “about Jesus.” But the majority of this story is about Jesus. Because He brought me to Guatemala, He strengthened me, He gave me every good gift, and He brought me safely home. From beginning to end, He was there. And if you have a problem reading about Him so much, then I would actually encourage you to keep reading. Because He is pretty awesome, and I pray you come to see that. 

So after I got better, I spent the next few days working in the toddler house. Working with 2-6 year olds... it’s like being around the most joyful people ever. Yes, they throw tantrums every once in a while (don’t worry I have plenty of stories) but they have smiles on their faces constantly. They want to show you their favorite toy, or push them on the swing. It’s constant joy. 

There were 14 toddlers. The older ten went to school from 7:30-12 every day so we walked them down to the school (on campus) and after we had hugged and kissed them, walked back. I loved that. I loved that they were starting to trust me. The younger four went to preschool for two hours, three days a week, but on the off days, we played outside in the cancha all morning long. After lunch, it would be nap time. And the two hours of break we got was SWEET. I would come back to our room and just collapse. Then at 4, back to the house for more playing, dinner, and baths and bed time at 7. 

And that’s how it was. For the rest of the summer. I hate to sound boring, but every day we did the same thing. And to be perfectly honest, it was a wonderful “boring.” Those children made each day so special. 

So Week 2 is about to come to a close. Our team meets in the comedor (eating area) with Darby, the teams coordinator at the orphanage. We all sit around the big tables and Darby goes over our trip to Antigua. I could hardly contain my excitement. It was going to be amazing. 

“Alright, so there are a couple of activities that you can do in Antigua! There’s a cooking class,” some people raised their hands. “Or you could go salsa dancing,” Tori leaned over to me, “Let’s do that.” I nodded my head. Darby continued, “And then we could do a volcano hike.” Excuse me. Hike a volcano. “Is it active? How cool!” Everyone began to get excited about the hike and almost everyone raised their hand for that activity. I was picturing a huge mountain with a hole at the top and we were going to be right at the edge of that hole and we might fall in. Everyone was doing it, I just wanted to say no. I wanted in that moment to not climb the volcano because it sounded extremely dangerous. But I raised my hand. I was in Guatemala for heavens sake! I gotta live a little. “Awesome! We are going to bring marshmallows and you can roast them over the heat coming from the magma underneath the rock.” WHAT IS GOING ON I AM GOING TO BE HIKING A VOLCANO WITH MAGMA RUNNING UNDERNEATH IT. One of the boys joked, “What if it starts erupting and we have to run for it?” Ha. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I was excited though. I had never done anything like this before, all of my friends were doing it. It would be a bonding experience... right? Darby started laying out the logistics of the trip. “We will be leaving here for Antigua at 6am tomorrow.” Groans. “I know it’s early but we want to get there in time to do everything fun! So, after hearing about safety and getting maps and figuring out where we were going to eat, we all stumbled into bed. And the next thing I remember is that alarm going off at 5:30am. I had no idea what was going to happen that day, one of the most awe-inspiring, beautiful, scary experiences of my life. 


Catherine Grace said...

I love this, I love the story and I love you !

Kristyn said...

awe, ellie. this story is SO beautiful. can't wait to hear what happens next!

Jianine said...

this is just lovely. it's awful being sick, and i'm glad you got better. reading your little story to us is such a joy, thank you for sharing :) x

Elisha said...

I got sick on my missions trip too! I can SO relate.. But God is faithful!

Unknown said...

This is awesome! :D Super excited for Antigua post! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D


Anonymous said...

YAY! I can't wait to see the volcano post!


Kcfilzenphotos said...

i LOVE your stories!!!!

marcia said...

AHH! I can't wait to read the next one. I've been loving this series, it helps us have a bigger picture into your heart and you. It's amazing!

Abbie said...

this story makes me so happy. :)

Emma said...

Ellie, I just have to tell you, even though I didn't read each of the "guat's up" posts as they came out, I read them all later, they have been such a blessing. I loved reading them, as I'm going to Guatemala in October 2013. I have nowhere near the funds I need (even though I have the whole summer), and I've been praying that I would be able to find a job...and being a girl who loves to be at home, staying in a strange country with basically-strangers (people from my online school, some of whom I've never met). We're staying in locals houses, not an orphanage or anything like that, two or three of us in a house. I'm a little freaked out about that, but I just wanted to tell you that after reading about all that happened to you prior and during your visit to Guatemala, I'm a little more at peace about the whole thing. I was reminded that He takes care of his children. :) So thank you for this. It's a huge blessing and reminder. :)