As we start winding up the end of language school and start preparing for the future, I’ve noticed an odd emotion creeping up: fear. We’ve been having more frequent meetings about next month and what is going to happen: moving into our new place, organizing projects for the team that is coming to work serve with us, starting our involvement in the church we will be working closely with…all things that we have been excited about for over 2 years is finally going to happen! So what’s my problem? I’m starting to remember that feeling I had when Missy and I went skydiving years ago.
I had no qualms about anything. In fact, I had been wanting to jump out of a plane since I had joined the Marine Corps and I was finally getting to do it! We did dry runs, we had safety briefings, we watched others do it, we talked with our instructors, we suited up and walked to the plane. Even the ride up was calm and serene. I kept trying to imagine what it would be like, what I would experience first person (as opposed to countless tales from others and the occasional video). We reached altitude and got the signal to get ready to jump. The door slid open and Missy and her instructor shimmied to the door. The cameraman climbed out to get a shot of Missy exiting the plane and after a quick 1-2-3 she was gone. That’s when it hit me: this is really happening! Adrenaline pumping, doubts flashing through my mind, the rehearsed drills whispering in my memory somewhere, and we are moving closer and closer to the door before I think I am ready to jump. I didn’t even hear the count and next thing I knew there was only air between me and the ground 10,000 feet below. The thing I remember most about that jump was that I could not stop staring at the ground. For those of you who haven’t jumped before, they tell you to “bow” your body in a way that points your belly to the ground. In other words, don’t look down, look up. I couldn’t help myself though. I was so in awe, shock, and amazement at what was happening that everything left my memory and the tiny earth below me was emblazoned into my mind. Luckily, the instructor kept pulling my head back until finally he just held it in place until we were ready to deploy the parachute.
Now I’m faced with a different jump, a leap of faith. We are moving into one of the most dangerous places known in Guatemala yet that isn’t what is giving me pause, it’s the work we have ahead of us. If you attended one of our presentations before we left the States, you might recall us talking about specific programs that Pastor Jorge has asked us to help his church start: Celebrate Recovery for women, children, and men focusing on many hurts, hang-ups, and habits. A refuge program to help women and children caught in and suffering from the affects of abusive relationships and abandonment. A Sunday school class that uses bible lessons to teach children English. Leadership programs to help new believers grow in faith and become pillars of the church. This is aside from managing visiting short-term missions teams, Serving At Risk Families, and just continuing to learn the language and culture.
Then I remember: it’s not about us or what we can do, it’s about what God wants to do through us. We didn’t decide to come here and do all this, God called us to do this. We didn’t devise this huge plan of uniting with churches to establish Christlike communities, rather God gave us the vision and invited us to be a part of what He is doing in Guatemala. It’s not about how well I perform, how intelligently I craft and run a program or even how well I can drive to the airport to pick up a team without getting lost in Guatemala City. It’s about how obedient we are despite our shortcomings, fears, and faults. It’s about jumping out of the plane even if I don’t feel ready (because I never will feel ready enough). It’s about trusting that God put us here because we are ready for what He wants from us because He said so.
It seems silly to be doubting at this point of the journey. It’s crazy that after selling everything we own, leaving our jobs, relying solely on
God through the financial partnership of others for life sustainment, and moving to a foreign country that I’m starting to wonder how all this is going to happen. A dear friend of ours tells a wonderful story of whenever God brings her through times of doubt and worry that she pictures Jesus standing there with arms folded asking, “haven’t you learned to trust me yet?” Suddenly my mind is flooded with “dry runs” from my life:
“Sometimes the struggle is the point.”
“Learn to trust your training.”
“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
“Faith is a journey, not a destination.”