Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Why did God have to make my life and my family this way?"

Rip. my. heart. out.

Speechless, I stared into Rosa's deep brown eyes. In all honestly, It was a good question.

Rosa comes by our house almost every day. She's usually just passing by, bringing flowers, asking for something to fill her aching belly...or just looking for hope in a place where she feels like she matters. Whenever I can, we sit together on the porch as she eats and I listen to her story. She has begun to open up to me, and that I consider a privilege.

I remember one day we sat on the porch, watching her brothers play and eating peanut butter sandwiches. We had just read a bible story about friends, so I asked, "Who is your best friend?" I got tears in my eyes as she pointed at me.

Sometimes I feel incapable when I look at the world around me. Everywhere I look there are broken and hurting people like Rosa, and it doesn't make sense to me.

Why does her life have to be that way?

Why does she have to live in an abusive situation.

Why does she never have anything to eat at home?

Why can't she go to school?

Why do all 12 of her siblings live in one room?

Why can't she be a normal kid?

Not fair doesn't begin to describe it.

 Anything I could come up in response to her question  seemed so cliche.  Its simple to say God is good all the time for someone whose life is all in all pretty good. But what about for someone who has absolutely nothing good in her life. How does that sound to a child with no hope, to someone who is called 'lice' by the community around her.

Her question has left me thinking, and I still don't have an answer. I don't know that I ever will this side of Heaven. All I know is that God's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts... and I know HE doesn't call her 'lice' HE calls her His precious child.

It makes me think of the quote, "Sometimes I would like to ask God why he allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world, when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid He may ask me the same question."

While I may not know why bad things happen, I do know that when we see something wrong, and we have the ability to do something about it, we are responsible to do something about it. (James 4:17) Its not enough just to look into the face of injustice and say "poor you." You must take action.

“... Let us love, not just in word or speech, but in truth and action.”

- I John 3:18

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

You know you're a missionary kid when...

I read a post the other day about how to tell if you're a third culture kid, so I decided to make my own list. :)

You know you're a missionary kid if...

1.You don't know where home is.
2.The question "Where are you from?" does not come with a short answer.
3.Your life story uses the phrase "Then we went to..." five times.
4.You'd rather never say hello than have to say goodbye.
5. You think football is played with a round spotted ball.
6.You realize how small the world is.
7.You go to a church you have never been in before and find your picture on their bulletin board.
8.You had a passport before you had a drivers license.
9.You've missed a Skype call due to confusing the time zones.
10.Your neighbors say, "I met an American once" and then ask if you know them.
11 Sometimes you do..
12.You've spoken at many churches even though you aren't a pastor.
13.Your friends are mostly people that visited for a week.
14.You're surprised when a driving rule is enforced.
15.All black people do not look remotely alike, nor do Hispanics or Asians.
16.You don't know whether to write the date as month/day/year or day/month/year.
17.You know whats its like to be the minority.
18.You're used to people rubbing your skin or touching your hair because they've never seen anything like it.
19.You don't take anything for granted.
20.People all over the world know who you are, but you have no idea who they are.
21.Way to often you have surprised people by saying, "I know what you said" in their language
22.You are used to people staring.
23.You divide your friends based on where they live.
24.You're not afraid to eat food that you can't even pronounce.
25.You have found yourself struggling to read what something says, only to realize that you're trying to read in a different language.
26.Switching languages in mid-sentence seems normal to you.
27.You are not surprised to see people peeing or sleeping on the side of the road.
28.Seeing 16 people in the back of a truck seems normal.
29.There is always room for one more person on the bus- even if that means hanging off the side.
30.You know words in another languague that you don't even know in your national language.
31.You have no clue whats in style.
32. People have asked you what language you think in.
33.You feel surprisingly at home in an airport.
34.You are a giant compared to your friends.
35.You've been to the places most teenagers only read about in their textbooks.
36.You know the value of peanut butter.
37.You have rainy season and dry season, not spring, summer, fall, and winter.
38.You get annoyed when people waste.
39.You understand what all of these mean.

Monday, May 6, 2013

They corrected me when I asked, "Are you pregnant?" instead of "Are you embarrassed?"and they corrected me when I  said, "I have a man" instead of "I am hungry." Through all of my embarrassing Spanish mistakes (some much worse than the ones listed above) no one has been the least bit rude to me. Occasionally they laugh, I don't blame them, it is kind of funny, but they have always corrected me in a loving way, helping me to learn.

In the states, its pretty common to hear someone say, "If you're in our country, you need to speak our language."

That makes me sad.

Don't get me wrong, I love my home country. I truly believe that it is the greatest place to live. We have everything we could ever need right at our fingertips.

We have healthcare so that we don't have to die of AIDS, or lay in bed with no skin because it got burned off and we can't afford a transplant, or be crippled because of polio.

We have good education, so that our kids can learn to read instead of repeating their fourth year of second grade because there are too many students stuffed into a classroom where the teacher just graduated high school and has no book to teach out of, so he just teaches off the top of his head.

We have security, so that people can't just walk around robbing people at gunpoint. (Not saying that this doesn't happen in the states, but it definitely happens a lot less.)

We have food stamps, so that families don't have to go hungry once again.

We have clean water, so that children don't get sick with parasites.

We have freedom.

We are a blessed country, but I think that sometimes, we forget just how blessed we are.
 Since moving to Guatemala, I've realized just how hard it is to learn a language. Its definitely not something that is just going to come to you the moment you step foot over the border. Languages take years to master.

Quite frankly, as people of the United States (I'm not real fond of the word American unless it relates to people from North, South, and Central America, but that's a post for another day) we are ignorant. We fail to realize that these people are trying. It's not easy, especially when everyone keeps knocking them down.

We get angry, saying that anyone with brown skin is an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Let me just share a little bit of knowledge with all of you. Not everyone with brown skin is from Mexico, and not all of them are illegal. Sure, some of them are. I've met the ones who have been deported. Honestly though, I can't blame them. If you saw how they lived, you would understand why they want so badly to go to the land of opportunity.  Not to mention the fact that all of our ancestors were at one point immigrants.

Let me share something else, the United States is one of the only countries where the majority of the people only speak one language.

Yep, that's right, we get angry with others when they don't know our language, but we fail to put forth any effort to learn any other than our own. Most of my friends in Guatemala not only speak Spanish, but they speak a Mayan language too, and its the same thing in many other countries.

We truly live in the greatest country there is, which is why so many people want to go there, but why don't we make it better by trying to help others instead of judging them.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Out of your zone

A few weeks ago, I sat in a small room in the American School in Guatemala City along with eight other teenagers who were taking the ACT. We didn't have anything thing in common except for the fact that we don't fit in.

During one of the test breaks I asked one of the other kids where he was from. He kind of chuckled and shook his head. Then he looked and me and said, "I don't know." He went on the tell me that he had lived in 4 different countries, but he had never stayed in one place long enough for it to feel like home. I think that's what life is like for a lot of missionary kids. We are stuck between different countries and cultures, and we don't belong in any of them.

In some ways, never knowing where I come from or where I belong has been so hard for me. Is home in Guatemala or Texas or Indiana or Illinois or Pennsylvania or one of the many other places I have lived? Is home a place or a feeling? Is home where the family is? Is home where the heart is? To be honest, I don't have an answer. I'm homeless, both in the physical sense (our family seriously owns no house) and sentimentally. But on the other hand, this feeling of not belonging anywhere has made me cling to my savior all the more. While I may not have a home here on earth, I am a citizen of Heaven, and I know that there is a place waiting for me.

I have come to realize that as a Christian, I am not supposed to feel like I fit in or belong, because I don't belong on any place here on this earth.  This place is only temporary. We are not supposed to ever be comfortable, because the moment we start feeling safe is when we start trusting in our security instead of depending on God. When we feel comfortable, we lose our sense of urgency to find those who are lost and to help those who are hurting.

I recently read a quote that said, "The greatest enemy to human potential is your comfort zone" I think its pretty safe to assume that God's potential is way greater than ours could ever be, but in order for Him to work in us, we have go to get out of our comfort zone. I think that the Lord allows us to feel like we don't belong here so that we anxiously wait for the day that we get to be with Him. He allows us to struggle, because it in is these difficult times that our faith is strengthened and we turn to Him.

I know that as a human, comfort is appealing to us. That's why we stay in hotels that are labeled as comfortable. We shoes that are comfortable to walk in and clothes that are comfortable to wear. We eat food that brings us comfortable and we surround ourselves with people that we are comfortable around. That is not how Christ intended for it to be! I don't think Daniel was comfortable when he spent the night with lions.  I'm sure Job wasn't comfortable when God stripped him of everything he had on this earth. I bet Paul wasn't comfortable all those times when he was persecuted, and I can guarantee that Jesus was not comfortable when he hung on that cross, but think of how those stories were used for the glory of God!

Following Jesus is not supposed to be easy, its really hard. It requires dying to yourself in order to live for Christ. It means picking up your cross daily to follow Him. The cross isn't a piece of jewelry that we wear around our neck, it is a weapon of torture! But it will be worth it on the day that we stand face to faith with the Father and he tells us, "Well done my good and faithful servant."

I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. Let God guide your path, one step at a time.