There’s something amazing that happens when I’m at home: I am able to shelter from the infuences. While I’m home I don’t have to see people that might
distract me from walk with God, I don’t have to answer my celphone because there’s nobody that’ll call me. While I’m away from school there’s no Hulu to watch during my free-time, there’s no need to spend much time on trivial and banal websites. When I have nothing to distract me, I can spend more time talking with the ones I love -my family-, reading, writing, crafting, and praying. Although I’ve seen how my home country has been slowly americanized, life is still simpler and not as distracting and endulging as the american life style. While I’m away from disturbances I’m able so hear better and see clearer. I’ve already mentioned that I’ve been working with women for the last couple of days. Well, while working with them I’ve heard some repeating things. The first day I was with them I met one of the people that helped them organized their small business. She asked me where I was from and where I went to school, and things of that sort. Later she asked me what I thought about doing after I was done with college. She wanted to know what I would do with an Art degree, I told her I wasn’t sure, but that I was certain that God has something in store for me. I told her I knew I liked working with people and sharing my passion for art with others, but that I had no idea what I would do after I graduated college. She looked around at the work we were doing and with a smile said, “maybe you’ll work with other women just like you are doing now.” I remained silent and simply nodded. Her words struck me because the same thought had been in my head the day before; I thought maybe that’s part of God’s calling for my life. Working with women is an idea that was accidentally instilled by my mom. I have been a witness of her work with women since I was a kid. When she was still practicing law, she volunteered at a center who needed a lawyer to take cases of women who suffered domestic violence. When she stopped practicing law and took up cooking, she worked with churches to teach women how to bake and help with their families’s finances. Then I was given the opportunity to work in a similar way and share the talents God has given me. That was a thought that had been roaming my mind for a while, but nobody had ever thrown that idea back at me.

Another interesting thing that keeps happening is this verse I keep hearing. Yesterday was my third day working with the women and one of them decided to turn on the radio. First there were some songs playing and then I heard someone start preaching a message. I was focused on my embossing but I could still hear bits and chunks of the message. I knew the man was talking about Elijah and once I was done with my task I payed more attention to the radio. the central verse/passage the preacher used was 1 Kings 19; the same passage I’ve kept hearing throughout this summer! I’m not sure what’s going on with all those things that keep repeating in my life lately, but I’m sure my Father does. 


Rushing Days

Yesterday was a hectic day. After my dad came home in the afternoon I realized that I have about two weeks left at home! When I came home in May I felt like I would be here for a very long time -almost forever. However, my time in Nica is almost over. Today was my second day working with the women at Iglesia Verbo and by the end of my time there I felt exhausted, but it was so worth it. Yesterday felt odd because I didn’t really know any of them, so all we did was work. However, today I got the chance to talk to them more and get to know them; I was overjoyed! The more I get to share with these women, the more I feel this is what I was ultimately called to do this summer. One of the most amazing things about today was seeing the progress that they made. When we began embossing, they were a bit confused about the steps and about which side of the alumninium they needed to work on next. They got their project done yesterday and their final product was good, but it was not as crip as it could be. Today did another project and worked on wood. Their work with the metal was fantastic! It did not look like they had only learned yesterday. While we worked, we were able to talk about our families and I was able to hear how they all worked together to make the products and bring some income into their families. I am sad that it will time to leave my family again, but the sadness and worry went away when I started working with these women. Their spirit has been a great encouragement and example to my life these days.

Children, Women, and Whispers

Working with children for the past five weeks was probably the greatest challenged I’ve had to face this year. When I said ‘yes’ to the task I thought it would be easier. Once I was asked for lesson plans I knew it would be harder thatn I thought. Then kids started crying and not listening. They threw up their food, were unable to go potty by themselves, and were uncapable of putting on their own swimsuits. Then I knew that it was gonna be a challenge. As the weeks passed I became discouraged.

A few months before school got out I began praying for a summer job. I didn’t want to work with mission teams anymore because I didn’t want to invest any more time into something  I was not going to do after college. I asked God to put me to something that would prepare for whatever He had in store for my future. I never wanted to be a teacher, and I still don’t, but I took the teaching job. When I became discouraged with teaching I began questioning God and getting mad for being in the place where I was. But God knows better and he sent a subtle answer. Every morning before class, the staff met to have devotions. One morning Tim mentioned a verse that had been showing up in my life recently: “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” I noticed that the verse had to be important since I had been hearing it a few times -and it isn’t one of those popular verses; however, I am dumb and couldn’t make sense of it. While I worked with children some opportunites came up and I was asked to work with a group of young women from a church. I was supposed to teach these women how to make jewelry, but they were a bit irresponsible with schedules and assignments and I once again became discouraged.

The day I finished working at the school, I got some news from my mom. Earlier that day she had visited this project at a local church, and she had met some women that also worked with jewelry so being a stellar mother, she told them about who I was and what I do. Well, these women were interesting in learning metal embossing which I happen to know, so my mom told them that she would talk with me, but that she was sure that I would be more than willing to teach them. When I got home that day, all I wanted to do was sleep for the rest of my summer, but when I spoke to my mom I knew that wouldn’t happen. I was still discouraged by the attitude of the previous group of women, but I accepted to meet them and ask them what they wanted to learn.

I visited the place today and almost cried when I realized how enthusiastic they were about learning! I will be going back tomorrow and couldn’t be more excited to work with them. After meeting them, I got back in the car to go to my mom’s work. While bearing with traffic, the bible verse came to my mind. Today I realized that I had been looking in the wrong places. God is always with me, but the answer I sought from Him was not at the school. I saw the work with children as my sole job, as what God wanted me to do, but I was wrong. I was not hearing His gentle whisper as I worked with the women.

Teaching at the school built my patience and tamed my tongue -words must be watched when one is near children, they’re like little sponges that absorb all they hear and see. Having gone through the challenge of loving little ones prepared me for loving grown ups. I may not become a teacher in the distant future, but I know that I will be working with people. Perhaps I will keep being blessed with the chance to work with such precious women 🙂

Roads, Sunrises and Sunsets

Today has been a little bit of an overwhelming day, but it has also been a reminder, a good reminder.

The one day I didn’t have to go to work, I still got woken up early because we were heading out on a small trip. My parents and I go out often, but only to places that are close to the main city. My parents love greenerie, but they’re not real fans of the outdoors. On the other hand, I really enjoy spending some time outside -when it’s not too hot. I like the beach, I love the forests and mountains. Today we drove almost three hours south to go visit one of my uncles, and go to the beach. On the way there I finished reading a book that I had been wanting to finish for a day or two.

After seeing my uncle and his family we headed out to spend some time at a quiet beach. When we got there everything was very serene. There were less than twenty people on that large stretch of sand and salty water. We parked at one end of the beach and I took of my sandals to walk to the other end and back. It had been a long time since I had last felt the wet beach sand under my toes. My parents didn’t follow me to where I walked, so my only company became the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks at the other end of the beach stretch; it helped me think about what I had just finished reading.

While walking I realized that it had been years since I had had peace at a place like that. I remember one morning six years ago, I was at a youth group retreat and woke up early one morning. It must have been around 5 a.m., since the sky was starting to show its blues without displaying any sun rays. I got out of our cabin and walked to the small dock that led the way to the lagoon, and I just sat there waiting for the sun to rise. I remember having watched the sunset the day before. On the same dock I watched night fall and storm approaching. There had been some people swimming when it was all dark, and I would wait for the light of the thunders to shine on their faces; it was the only way I could distinguish who was still in the water. This were just some of the many times I’ve sat contemplating my natural surroundings, gazing a creation. Today was a reminder that I need to go back to sunsets and sunrises, for these have been moments that bring tears to my eyes. They remind me of how small I am, and of how mortal. They remind me of God’s precission and His incredibly attention to detail. They remind that I need to be in such silence, and in company of His creation, to be able to hear His whisper. The thoughts that raced through my mind today cannot be written in one blogpost, and they certainly cannot be digested in one three-hour ride back. However, there was one passage in the book that I identified with as I got through the day:

God is an artist, I think to myself. I have known this for a long time, seeing His brushwork in the sunrise and sunset, and His sculpting in the mountains and the rivers. But the night sky is His greatest work. And I would have never known it if I had stayed in Houston. I would have bought a little condo and filled it with Ikea trinkets and dated some girl just because she was hot and would have read self-help books, end to end, one after another, trying to fix the gaping hole in the bottom of my soul, the hole that, right now, seems plugged with Orion, allowing my soul to collect that feeling of belonging and love you only get when you stop long enough to engage the obvious.”

-Don Miller, Through Painted Deserts

Thank you, Father, for making sunrises and sunsets.