Monday, January 13, 2014

By Kyla Bender


This past week we moved from our “home” in Antigua to Lake Atitlan. We worked with a church the whole week and stayed in the house of the pastor.


And in the name of being honest and transparent, I had a pretty bad attitude about it at the beginnings.


It was hard leaving Antigua. There we were all adjusted well; we had made friends and were seeing God do great things through those friendships. People at the Lake don’t speak Spanish and we have greatly been enjoying being able to use our Spanish. All in all, I wasn’t that excited. I had basically already made up my mind that I ‘didn’t like it” before we got there.


That’s a pretty pitiful and embarrassing paragraph, I know. But I promise, it got better from there. 


How many of y’all know that God still likes talking to us when we have bad attitudes?


It takes around 2.5 hours to get to the lake. We rented a shuttle and took off on Friday afternoon. I had my headphones in and my music on shuffle. I really felt like God had something he wanted to teach me through the music I was listening to. So the very first song that comes on was one that, surpise, I didn’t really like. Most often when that song comes on I skip it. But God said “No, listen to it.” It was a song in Spanish that I had never taken the time to really “hear”. As I listened and understood, I started to really enjoy it. The lyrics had a deep meaning. I didn’t want to skip it.


And then God said “This is how this week can be. Don’t make up your mind about it already. Take time to really pay attention to what is going on.”


So I did.


And you know what? God is good.


This week showed us so many things. It was a week where we grew even closer together as a team. It was a week of answers and new dreams being born. It was a week of new experiences that made us grow in the best way possible.


The only place we had to really hang out all together as a team was on the roof. So many nights we would gather up there and debrief our days and/or play games. We learned new things about each other, worked through our feelings, and laughed. And laughed. And laughed. It is those nights that I will look back upon and remember with joy. The nights where it is so clear how God brought us all here together. On a roof, in the middle of a mountain range, laughing together as if we’ve known each other forever. Serving our Lord together. Growing through the hard times and new experiences.


And boy, was there a lot of new experiences this week. Pastor Antonio has a radio show that he does twice a week. He invited us to participate in both of them and sing songs on the air. So we did. We sang songs in English, Spanish, and Norwegian; stepping way outside of our comfort zone. And as God does, he blessed that. People called into the radio station and asked for the same songs to be sang over again, even though they could not understand them. We’re believing that God did some awesome things through that.


It was also a new experience for some of us speaking-wise. The last two people that who had not spoken in front of a church were Britta and myself. Both of us felt like The Lord gave us a word for a specific night. We were both nervous. Nervous about messing up, about the translation, and about doing something embarrassing of course. J But once again, The Lord guided us and we would both say that it was an experience that made us grow so much and we’re so thankful for the opportunity. This trip has taught us how great it is to be able to rely on the strength of The Lord. Our strength only goes so far, and what a blessing it is to be able to rely on the One who never grows weary.


God also answered some questions about our future this week. For me personally, I didn’t even want to think about the next step after this. Like I said earlier, the people of the lake don’t generally speak Spanish. They speak their native language. The pastor is fluent in both the native language and Spanish. But not English. J However, many people on our team came to Guatemala with a prior knowledge of Spanish. I always knew I liked Spanish, but I never knew I loved it this much. When we would go on home visits, the people would talk to the pastor in the native language, he would translate it to me in Spanish, and then I would translate the Spanish into English. When someone from our team wanted to talk, we would double translate it again going the other way. And I loved it! I was talking to some of my teammates about it and I clearly felt The Lord giving me direction for my next step. I’m excited to continue on learning Spanish in the autumn! Two other couples from our team have also felt The Lord calling them very clearly in a certain direction and received a bunch of confirmation this week! The Lord is good and alive and working!!


What all would we have missed had we dismissed the week at the very beginning?


It’s almost scary to think about! I thank Jesus for opening my eyes (or ears, I guess) at the beginning of the week to what he had in store.


We are now back in Antigua for five days and then we will travel to the beach for debrief before heading home. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!