Monday, July 13, 2015

{Guatemala} Building a foundation & threading love

I cried at dinner after our first day of work in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. A mixture of emotions collided in my head. I was missing Ben, overwhelmed by the poverty I had already seen up close, feeling useless after spending the day at the site for a house build. The guys did all the hard work hand mixing concrete and pouring it as the foundation of a house we’d build the next day while Cate and I struggled to communicate with the family. Plus I was in a third-world country with my 8-year-old daughter who was trying to process emotions of her own.

Our team leader Kim gave me a pep talk when we stepped away from the table as everyone else was ordering their dinner. She reminded me God called us to this country, on this trip, and this time. Perhaps my broken Spanish, smiles, coloring books and pieces of gum really did help that momma and her two kids feel loved while the guys poured concrete. Maybe I just needed to be a mom and help my girl try to grasp this new perspective in front of us.

Two Guatemalan kids – 11-year-old Angelica and 12-year-old Sergio – had the best smiles that day. Our broken Spanish made them laugh as they kept an eye on the concrete that would become the foundation of their house. And I stood there that evening in their homeland crying.

As our team processed the day during our nightly devotional, we talked about foundations – the literal ones we were building and the spiritual one on which we build our faith. This family was going from having a dirt floor beneath their adobe house to a metal house built upon a concrete slab. Talk about security and improvement.

But sometimes security in Christ comes when we step out of our comfort zone. {Tweet that.}

That’s what I had to do in Guatemala. I eventually dried my tears and decided to let God use me – even if that didn’t look like I expected, even when that made my heart race, even when I wasn’t sure what He would do with the seeds we were planting with our service, prayers, and hugs.

With Jesus as the foundation, we can have hope and assurance there’s goodness to come. {Tweet that.}

We saw Angelica and Sergio the next afternoon when we went to build their house. And two days later Angelica was at another home we were building just down the dirt road among the cornfields from her new house.

When we walked up to build that second home, Angelica looked at me and said “Hola!” like we were friends. There was still a language barrier but we had bonded anyway. And now we had a chance to serve Maria and her four kids, including 9-year-old Brenda. I gave Angelica, Maria and Brenda a bag of embroidery thread. Cate joined them to make friendship bracelets – joining in with much more ease than that first day.

These Guatemalans made Cate, teammate Cheryl, and me beautiful bracelets far superior to our braided ones. And then Maria turned the hacky sack she was crocheting into a pouch for Cate. Yes, it was beautiful and created in love. But it was also a sacrifice because she could have sold the hacky sack at the local market for money for her family. Yet she chose to give it to my girl.

I carried supplies, used a drill, helped hold a wall, and assembled bunk beds that day. I watched a team of people come together and build a house – and relationships with each other. But my favorite moment of the day came when women and girls used thread to make gifts and tie together sweet memories.

This is the first in my reflections from our mission trip to Guatemala last week. More stories are coming, but until then you can see all my pictures here

I'm linking up with the Soli Deo Gloria Gathering and Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory.

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  1. Beautiful and filled with emotion and love. God is using you and Cate in ways you cannot even imagine. I hold you in prayer and thank you for being there in Guatemala.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  2. KristinHillTaylor7/13/2015 8:14 PM

    Thank you, Linda. I really appreciate your prayers and encouragement.

  3. Very lovely photos friend. I am glad your family yielded to God's call.
    Waiting for more travel stories
    Precious Blessings to you

  4. Amazing testimony to the faithfulness of God. Thank you for sharing the ways in which He is teaching and using you!

  5. KristinHillTaylor7/14/2015 6:55 AM

    Thank you, Michele! I appreciate you stopping by with your kind words.

  6. KristinHillTaylor7/14/2015 6:56 AM

    Thanks, Ifeoma! More stories to come. :)

  7. I can't wait to hear more about how your trip unfolded and how, I'm sure, you unfolded in a way, too. The part about the sacrifice of that hacky sack really impacted me. Oh what we take for granted here and how meaningful gifts really can be.

  8. KristinHillTaylor7/14/2015 11:40 AM

    Oh, yes, unfolded indeed. The hacky sack sacrifice really struck me too. I'm looking forward to sharing more. Another post is coming Thursday. :)

  9. Sounds like you had an amazing experience - can't wait to read more. What an incredible trip for Cate to take at such a young age - it is sure to be transforming. Thanks for giving us a little taste of all you saw - of all He did. Hugs!

  10. Thank you for sharing this incredible story with us. What an amazing opportunity God has blessed you with. Praying that He will bless this journey and that He will continue to fill your cup to overflowing!

  11. KristinHillTaylor7/14/2015 3:21 PM

    Thanks for being here, Heather!

  12. I have so been thinking of you and love the pictures you have shared. I need to go through the complete album you created and really take them in. But mostly I really look forward to reading upcoming posts as you continue to process your time in Guatemala. Would really like to do that over a cup of coffee but will take what I can get. I'm just so very happy God called you to Guatemala!!!!! Love you, sweet friend. xoxo

  13. KristinHillTaylor7/14/2015 5:13 PM

    We've got to find a way to get together this fall. Seriously. Until then, I'm so grateful for the ways technology connects. Love you dearly, friend. xoxo

  14. What a blessing. :) I love where yous say: "But my favorite moment of the day came when women and girls used thread to make gifts and tie together sweet memories." ~ Isn't it just like God to take you clear around the world to remind you of how much alike we all really are. :) Sounds like a sweet trip. Thanks for sharing. ((blessings))

  15. What a beautiful story, Kristin. I know how hard it is to help your kids process culture shock and poverty shock. Been through it myself. I smiled to hear about the women giving you the bracelets and the hacky sack. Brings back so many memories. Of crinkled Salvadoran village women pressing a crumpled dollar into my hand as an offering when I've gone with my husband to speak at their churches. They want to give offerings too, and hard as it is, we can't refuse them. I look forward to reading more!