As of writing this we have been in Guatemala for six weeks. In some ways it seems like it’s gone by really fast and in others it seems like, how has it only been six weeks? In that time we have had many ups and downs. We arrived here and after having a few days of rest got started learning Spanish. We both thank the Lord that we took some Spanish in high school and college because we can’t imagine what it would be like if we had started with nothing. We definitely would not have been able to figure out how to buy a bed, a stove, and other appliances and then tell the delivery people how to get to our apartment. Thank the Lord that by that time about two weeks ago (4 weeks into learning the language) we were able to do that. As we right to you today, it is our first day in our new apartment that is closer to our ministry site, only a few minutes by car. Until now we have been living in Antigua, which is where our school is located.
It’s not easy getting settled in a new country. However, even though we’re in Spanish school right now and not “in the ministry,” God has shown up in some amazing and unexpected ways. To recount all of them would take a book’s worth of reading, but we would like to each share a story about God’s faithfulness and what he’s teaching us in this transition time.
Frustration and a Fletero – Aaron
Pretty much since we got here, I’ve been looking for a vehicle. Many hours spent after class or during breaks in class looking at the classifieds on Facebook, trying to find the right car. It seems like every week since we’ve been here we’ve looked at a car, only for it to not work out. This has happened so many times that we’ve just gotten used to it. But it’s still so frustrating. In the beginning, it wasn’t a huge deal, but then once we signed papers on our apartment where we’ll live more permanently, it was like a clock started ticking because we have to drive about twenty minutes from where we live to Spanish school every day. Not only that, but we were starting to furnish our new apartment and couldn’t really well take a refrigerator in an Uber. Then God gave us Nelson.
We had signed the papers to our apartment and needed to get started on getting some stuff in there. Our first priority was a bed. If we moved in and had nothing else, at least we’d be able to sleep on something. We went to the store, found one, but in very bad Spanish explained that we didn’t have a car and needed it delivered. Along came Nelson, a fletero or in other words, a guy who hangs out at the appliance stores and delivers things for a fee. He had a 1980’s Toyota pickup, and we hired him to drive our bed to our new home. In the middle of trying to figure all of this out, we got lost in communication and he called his son who speaks English and we got it sorted out. While talking to his son, he said, “If you ever need anything, just let us know.” Well, for the rest of our appliances, who did we call? Nelson. During those trips I got to talk to him about his family, about God being in control, and all in Spanish! God is good.
You should believe people when they say God works in mysterious ways.
When we bought our bed, all three of us cramped into Nelson’s truck. Cramped. So cramped he never used 2nd gear the entire trip because he couldn’t physically move the stick that far down. On our next trip, I rode with Nelson and Brianna followed in an Uber. When we arrived to our apartment, to our surprise, the Uber driver got out, and with Nelson carried our stove into our apartment and into our kitchen! On our next trip, we had our stacked combo washer/dryer. By this point, thank the Lord we were able to borrow a car. So Brianna and I were following behind Nelson. All of the sudden, he gets out of his truck in the middle of the road and knocks on the car in front of him. This must be some culture thing going on we don’t know about. Well, no, it was God working in another mysterious way. The car in front of him turned out to be Nelson’s son, who then followed us to help get the washer/dryer in. Thank God he put him in our path because it took all three of us to get it in the house.
God has done many things like that since we’ve been here. Not every day has worked out so awesome and amazing like those days did. Most days have been brutally exhausting. But it’s in moments like those that God reminds me that he’s in control. If he had given us a vehicle, we would have never met our sweet fletero.
The takeaway that I’ve learned during this time so far is to wait on God. Keep waiting. Right now I have no choice but to wait. We’re still waiting for a vehicle. We have something lined up right now, but God could have other plans. But whatever lies ahead, wait on him.
“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Pink and Yellow Flowers – Brianna
“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.” God takes care of the flowers and the birds, of course He’ll take care of you and me. I learned the lesson of Luke 12:22-33 from some pink and yellow flowers in Guatemala.
From the start of this entire process, Aaron and I have often been clueless. How will we fundraise enough money? Where will we live? How will we learn Spanish? How do we get this bed up the hill to our new apartment? There is so much to toil and spin over! Admittedly, I have felt anxiety about our lives and have worried about how everything will turn out. But God has always had a plan and He shows us His goodness in the sweetest ways.
We moved into an airbnb at the end of September with only a few suitcases to our names, not knowing what God had in store for us. From our very first day in our little apartment, our landlords were incredibly kind and helpful. Being in their early 30’s, we learned that we actually had a lot in common with our landlords. They even speak English! The couple and their two little white dogs have become some of our best friends here in Guatemala. They took us to an awesome place called Hobbitenango (look it up… it’s so cool!) and invited us to celebrate the wive’s birthday with them. The couple even took me to the doctor when I thought that I had appendicitis, which turned out to be a swollen colon from something that I ate. After some time, they told us that they had been praying for their first guests in their Airbnb, which happened to be me and Aaron. They explained how they had been praying for the apartment to be filled with God’s peace for whoever would live there, even if just for a little time.
A few weeks after Aaron and I moved to Antigua, we started looking for a home closer to the ministry site. There was a specific community that we wanted to live in, but we weren’t sure if there were any available units. Thanks be to God, an apartment opened up some of our fellow missionary friends was able to secure it for us and get us started in the process. The day came for us to go see the apartment and meet the landlord, who ended up being a Christian who speaks English! He told us that he had been praying for the people who would move into the apartment and said that he prayed that God’s peace would fill the space for the people who moved in. Sound familiar? Both of our landlords said the exact same words!
As we walked outside onto the back patio of the apartment, I noticed a beautiful pink flower blooming from a tree. Our new landlord told us that he planned to cut down the tree because no flowers had bloomed in over five years, but he felt that God wanted him to leave the tree and wait. He continued to say that about a week before we met him, a pink flower started to bloom.
I was so excited to tell our Antigua landlords about our experience with our new apartment. As I finished telling them the story about the flower, the wife said, “You’re not going to believe this, and I was debating even telling you, but something similar happened here.” Our Antigua landlords had a little tree that was supposed to bloom yellow flowers. She told us that she had planned on throwing the tree away because it wasn’t blooming, but her husband told her to wait and give it a little bit more time. Amazingly, she said that during our stay at their Airbnb, the yellow flowers started to bloom.
I’m not saying that Aaron and I have some magical flower powers, but I am saying that God can use something as quaint as a flower to show us His faithfulness. Sometimes we feel like we have to wait a lifetime to experience God’s promises, but God is with us through it all and all of His promises are “yes and amen!” God knew that when those trees were planted years ago that they would be part of our story. God knew the homes that we were going to be in long before we even had the call to come to Guatemala. He placed kind and gracious landlords in our lives to help us along our journey. He takes care of us and He always knows what we need. He is faithful, why should we be anxious?
These are just two of the many amazing stories that have happened to us so far. None of it would be possible without your prayers and support. Thank you so much for joining us in this calling. Please pray that God would help us to get into the right vehicle that will be reliable. Also, we learned today that as of January, due to new difficulties in the ministry, we will be about $200 under funded. Would you please pray that God would provide that so that we can keep witnessing what God is doing in Guatemala. Thank you so much for your continued support. We pray God blesses you!