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If I had to describe my first year as a long term missionary in one word it would be relationship. So many relationships have been made or strengthened in our first year in Chichicastenango, with staff, our family(I could write a whole blog on the joy of being in a two room apartment with Trish and the girls minus the odor from the bathroom we all share next to our bedroom), community, short term teams and a Spanish teacher(Gracias Jose). Most recently we’ve been invited to mourn with a couple friends who have lost loved ones, they are part of The Pray America family. To be invited to mourn with a family but then be served a meal in a very intimate setting and included as family in their culture was extremely humbling. As I read my Bible it shouldn’t be surprising that this happened, through out The Bible God uses so many circumstances to create an avenue for relationship. Ultimately through other people we’re given an opportunity to either begin a relationship with Jesus Christ or strengthen our relationship with Him, in Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus commands us to do this, make disciples of all nations. Yes we build homes, feed children, install stoves and restore houses but what God is doing in and through us is creating relationship to Him. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey and new relationships.
So sorry everyone! Our family is in a transition again here in Guatemala learning a new position. As many of you know, the Gardner’s are being called back to the states. We will be taking over their position as ministry coordinators as of October 22, 2013. This is a very exciting time for our family but also a bit out of our comfort zone too! God is always stretching us! We’re ready and willing to do whatever God is asking of us! Please pray for the transition of this ministry with us, the new dental clinic and new group coordinators with Lance and Lauren Patterson in January!! We are blessed!
forgive me for being very blunt and transparent on here. God is working on me today and I am actually really caught off guard by it. I woke up, had a cup of coffee, and started to browse through my facebook this morning. My cousin in Ecuador posted a photo of my mom and I when I was pretty young while were in Ecuador. My forst reaction was wow look at her outfit from the 70’s. hilarious. As I sit there looking at it more, sipping my coffee, God starts speaking to me. He is telling me “tomorrow is mothers day”. He is telling me to “forgive her”. He is telling me that “the picture shows a time when your mother really loved you and protected you”. “You were the love of her life”. He said “she was once your age, doing what youre doing now”. Maybe she wasnt a missionary, but she gave up everything to move to another country much different than her own, with her baby in tow. I look at the picture and see her wearing a bandana on her head much like I do here in Guatemala. I see me holding her hand always in other pics that were posted. She was my momma. She was my life, my protector, who I went to. In one photo I see my dad. We appeared to be a normal family.
So, what happened? For years I have been mad at my mom. I have been mad at my dad. I was forgotten alot from my memories. I didnt speak to my dad again from 7 years old until I turned 33. My mom was always working, angry, bitter, resentful and just a mess after that “happy family pic”. I was told stories that were awful from her about my dad. My dad in turn told me bad stories about her once she passed away. My memories are all of that. My mom died about 4 years ago. Accidental overdose. In my gut I feel it wasnt really accidental, but Ill never know for sure. Since then I have been so angry with her. She knew better. She was a nurse! She just left me and my girls who loved her deeply. She wasted so many years of her life numbing her pain with prescription drugs. She talked about God but yet had this addiction she hid for a long time. I was mad. Stayed mad for a long time. It took me a few years to move on. I felt alot I didnt even miss her. I was that mad. I have actually felt this way up until now. I “gave it up to God at church one Sunday as well”. I was over it. Ignored every mothers day. Ignored her birthdays, not thinking of her at all. Took down photos of her at my house and was fine with it. Pretty much erased her from my memory. Also at church I gave up the fact my father wasnt in my life either. I dont even really know him. I accepted God as my father and I have been healed by that. truly. It is my two word story.
lets fast forward to our time here in Guatemala. Im still not thinking of her at all. Until today. I very very rarely talk to my cousins in Ecuador. I havent seen them in many many years. I dont know them very well either at this point. I wish I did. Out of no where my cousin posts these pictures. The day before Mothers day. The day I avoid like the plague. I dont even acknowledge I am a mom on this day. no mom, no holiday. easy enough. before I know it im sitting here crying about my mom. Memories are flooding back of good times. I find myself really missing her. I am sad she isnt watching her beautiful granddaughters flourish here and grow up to be amazing young ladies of God. She isnt seeing my marriage be the best it ever has been. I dont have a mom to call and talk to about life. No matter how much I mess up, I dont have her unconditional love to fall on. where did this feeling come from??? why now? why today? I have been prefectly fine in life ignoring all of this. Honestly I dont like this feeling. This sucks. Then God tells me ” you see alot of unforgiveness here in Guatemala in the people. You do not understand it. You ask why. You pray to me for the Mayan people to see me and forgive each other. So why cant you do the same?”…….ouch. *hit by the divine 2x4*……so I cry. I realize I didnt really deal with my moms death. I didnt really forgive her. I just set it on a shelf. Then I remember a letter a man named John, from House of Prayer Church, Rons church, gave me when they left here in February. I read it not really understanding what he was talking about. I saved it. Thought it was nice and placed it under the glass on my dresser. Im going to write out what his letter was and it was God told him to tell me:
'Oh' my daughter Trish,
I have put so many things in you, you have no idea how many gifts you carry within. I have planned this for generations, you are a very finely polished stone, a jewel in my hand, you were built to carry many heavy loads. You are very strong and you keep moving forward, but you are carrying some loads that you need to give to me. They were not meant for you. Satan has tried to plant seeds early in your life even in generations before you, but as you see them, give them to me. For I am your healer, the remedy for the curse and I can purify all things. When we touch, when we connect you will be set free.
So you see…God has been working this on me for a while. I was not listening or paying attention. Until today. I get the letter now. I see it clearly now. Amazing how God uses people I barely know to reach my broken heart. I’m in awe. I am special to God. Why? My problems aren’t anywhere as bad as the others I see here in this country. I’m just in shock right now. God hit me hard today. Out of left field. He knows me so well though. I have to be hit hard before I get it.
This will be the first Mothers day that I truly miss my mom. I truly forgive her today. Im giving that load to God today for real this time. Please keep me accountable to this. Pray for me please. Thank you God for releasing the hurt and resentment for her. Thank you for bringing back some good memories I had long forgotten. Thank you for working through my cousing Sylvia Rossana and John.
Thank you to whoever reads this and doesnt judge me for expressing myself publicly but God has called me to share this. I needed this.
also, please forgive any mispells, my computer isnt letting me go back to correct for some reason. I do know how to spell ;)
As I read the headlines from back home in the United States and see our nation going through tragedy and becoming more and more divided or as I walk daily by hungry and homeless people here in Guatemala. Or in both places I see a spiritual darkness and I wonder where do we find hope? Sometimes when I look around I can get a sense of hopelessness and wonder can any of this be overcome? Romans 5:1-11 says we should glory in our sufferings because it produces perseverance, character and hope. Ultimately an understanding that it’s faith in Jesus Christ that God has poured love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. We see this act of love in John 3:16. John Piper describes love as “As overflow of joy in God that gladly meets the needs of others”. Romans 15:4 says that through endurance taught in scriptures we will be encouraged and might have hope. Knowing what The Bible has taught through history, the only hope throughout has pointed to Jesus Christ. It’s my faith and joy in God that gives me the love from The Holy Spirit to share with others about Him and give the ultimate hope. Jesus will meet their needs, Jesus is our hope!Craig Bindus
Hi all! Well we cannot believe it has been 3 months already that we have been here. We had to renew our visas for our first time on Tuesday. Sitting in immigration for 2.5 hours I guess is good here. Good people watching experience. Also saw a poor guy pass out and hit the floor so hard because he had not eaten all day he said.
In these three months my family has seen and experienced things and emotions I never thought I would ever. We have had alot of “I have never seen that before” moments so often I cant list them all here. I have seen intense poverty, sadness, drunkeness, and sorrow, emaciated dogs, bad medical facilities, fend for yourself situations and so much more. I have also seen intense joy despite the poverty, beautiful smiles, beautiful music and pure generosity, mayans loving God, little tiny hands praying in the feeding programs and beautiful generous souls from many teams that visit us here. Generous people from teams, who have blessed us with some money to enjoy Guatemala on our off times. Thank you so much! You know who you are! We have visited Antigua and Lake Atitlan for days of rest and to just revel on Gods awewsomely beautiful creation. We have been able to pet a baby deer that lived in a restaurant of all places, see a squirell run on a wheel, a parrot ride on the back window of a truck in the rain. We have purchased fruit and vegetables from the local market. We have been able to build relationships with Guatemalans we work with and in the market. We are blessed to be doing life and friendship with The Gardners and Ron.
I just finished reading a book called “Kisses from Katie”. Alot of how she describes her feelings and life really resemble ours other than she is in Africa and were here in Guatemala. Poverty seems to all look alike no matter where you are. I recall a section where she says "I live in a world that tells me if I sell what I have and give it to the poor, if I leave my rich American life to live in a cockroach infested, cement house in a Third World country, I am doing a wonderful and radical thing. The truth is, I am only doing what I love doing, and what God who gave His life for me asks me to do." I could not have said it better myself. I love being here. I love my life. I love my God for bringing us here. I love seeing God at work here.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed at what I see. I feel inadequate here and useless at times. I feel like there is so much to do and fix that we cannot possibly fix it all. That is because we cannot. God can. Hard lesson to take in sometimes. I am a fixer, a nurterer, a nurse. I tend to look so far ahead that I miss the little victories God has made here. Again, God teaches me patience…not my strong suit. As Phillipians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strentgh.” No wonder its the Minitries verse here. As Katie says in her book “Jesus who wrecked my life enables me to do so much more than I ever thought possible.” I love that sentence.
As our journey continues, I continue to pray for God to break my heart for what breaks his. “Being a Christ follower means being acquainted with sorrow” as Katie describes. I also rejoice in the sorrow and hard times though because God is stretching me further and further and teaching me more and more to see like he does and think like he does. For that I am open, willing and able to be at his feet serving. I love my life.
As I had coffee this morning with my friend Bill from the second story of a local coffee shop, I was reminded of a Dave Matthews Band song, Ants Marching as I watched the people interact and walk during market day. Some of the lyrics are;
Driving in on this highway
All these cars and upon the sidewalk
People in every direction
No words exchanged
No time to exchange
And all the little ants are marching
Red and black antennas waving
They all do it the same
They all do it the same way
It reminded me of how life was complaisant and not much depth or fullness to it before knowing Christ, yes I had fun but something was missing. Since becoming a follower of Jesus about seven years ago, life has been anything but like an ant marching, as I look back on the last seven years, God has put me on an incredible journey that has had a richness, texture and fullness that keeps building and unfolding. My life isn’t about doing it the same way or following a certain pattern, it’s about listening to God, obeying and serving Him. I don’t get it right everyday, far from it, I probably mess it up more times than not, but that’s the great thing it’s about Him and not me and because of His generous grace, He molds and refines me(Psalm 66:10). Ant’s Marching concludes with the sad lyrics;
Take these chances
Place them in a box until a quieter time
Lights down, you up and die
Sometimes we wait until it’s to late to take that chance and escape from the mold of what the world has for us. I thank God for my eternal salvation and the fullness he has for my life. Lights down, you up and die.
A new term has been coined here in Guatemala, Godinsidence. It refers to Romans 8:28-30 which basically says God foreknew us and placed us at a certain place and time for His purpose. Dave who is a good friend of mine, sent me an email this morning about a guy who he never met before named Dan who he works with at GM in Lansing who came into the break room and spoke about his trip to Guatemala with his family and church House of Prayer(Lansing area) last week and how they built homes for widows, installed stoves and water filters and participated in feeding programs for children. Dave inquired about the trip more and came to find out Dan and his family were in Chichicastenango working with Pray America and The Bindus family. Dave and his wife Mary are good friends of ours and have been in Life Groups with us at our home church in Hartland MI, The River. Dave and Mary have also been on a mission trip with The River working with Pray America, they will be back in August as apprentice leaders. The cool thing about Dave and Dan’s conversation is that it was in front of some non-followers of Christ in the break room at work (A mission field can be anywhere, but that’s a blog for another day) Some would call what happened with Dave and Dan a coincidence, I’ll stick to The Word and go with Godinsidence. Bindy
We’ve made it a month in Chichicastenango and are really feeling settled in. Our surroundings are feeling like home, people at Pray America are like family and we really enjoy our position as group coordinators. While we still miss home and doubt our abilities at times, I was reminded on a rather choppy boat ride today of who we need to turn to in our times of trials and also how we can grow during tough times. Trish and I were calming Abbey during the boat ride, Trish brought up Matthew 8:23-27, in which Jesus is sleeping as His disciples are in a panic during a bad storm. Obviously relying on Jesus during a hard time is what we should do, but as my friend Bill says, Jesus was on the boat and let the storm happen. The point being we need to be stretched so we can grow in our faith. I’m sure Abbey didn’t want to go through the choppy water to get to the other side, but as we prayed with her and encouraged her she grew a bit today. Trish and I have realized in our month here how little we needed to rely on Jesus back home in Michigan, life was complacent, we were blessed with a really good life and we relied many times on our own abilities in many areas. Since we’ve been in Guatemala there have been several storms where we needed to be stretched and had to rely on Jesus to grow. I can truly say our faith is much stronger after one month in Guatemala.
Our family has been in Chichicastenango for almost three weeks and here are my thoughts so far. Our journey started the morning we left Feb 1st with our River Community Church family praying us out at our dear friends The Bush’s house at 5am, a morning filled with many tears, hugs and prayers. Since we’ve been in Chichi, we have been made to feel so welcome by everyone at Pray America, we are not only making new friends, but also family. We’ve been treated to pizza and movie night, bonfire’s, many laugh’s and wonderful hospitality. Our first group has come and gone, Salem Bible Church was here from February 8th-15th and was an outstanding first group for us to serve with, as our family felt our way through our first week, Salem was there to help us laugh, learn and praise God with. We miss Salem, it’s been quiet around The Mission House without them and look forward to visiting our new family when we’re back in Michigan. On Monday the 18th I was able to spend a day with Emily Gobright and her team as I learned how to restore widow homes, again I thank God for the grace of the team and our hard working Pray America men, Fausto, Eddie, Manuel and Pedro as I learned the process that day. What a blessing that day was, after we completed painting Josephina’s home we prayed with her and even with the language barrier and translation from English to Spanish to Quiche and back, we were in the presence of one God as she was praying and weeping and we all prayed to Jesus. A moment like that I understand what we’re doing here, it’s not about my abillity but about Jesus and the people we’re serving. So far some other highlights; Bill and Kristen Gardner being there with friendship, food, wisdom and prayer to help transition us. Tony taking me on a run and showing me an amazing sunrise. I’ve driven twice from Chichi to Guatemala City and back thanks to some wonderful instruction of Bill Gardner and Emily Wortley. Trish has done a great job with homeschooling the girls, Lori Coeman put together a wonderful lesson plan to follow, and the girls have adapted well to it. Trish and I are very proud of how Maddie and Abbey have acclimated here, they jumped right in with the first team and served with them helping build a few houses and making new friendships, Leah and Jenna Gardner have taken the girls under their wings and been wonderful friends and great examples of being a young missionary. The amazing women of Manos de Jesus, their food, laughter and music. Things to pray for our family; health, we’ve each experienced some form of a bug. Language barrier, we really want to communicate better with everyone here. Homesickness, we miss family, friends and The River very much. So far…the time we’ve been here and distance from home.
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