“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth,so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55: 8-9
He has shown you, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you; to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
This past Sunday, March 17th, was the 4-year marker of my time living here in Guatemala. As I reflect on my first four years of time here, I am certain of God’s calling, faithfulness, and presence as I serve Him by loving on the precious children. There have been many amazing impacts and accomplishments for God’s glory that I and Abogar have been able to be a part of. Here’s a short list of just a few of the accomplishments and victories that we’ve experienced here over the last four years:
- Gospel shared with over 1,500 children
- Visited and ministered in more than 10 children’s homes.
- Visited and ministered in over 30 villages.
- Provided 30 scholarships for education to 30 children.
- Taught English to 135 students.
- Served as youth pastor for two years to children from children’s home.
- Partnered with local churches, businesses, and individuals to reach the children
- Paid salaries for 3 teachers to ensure godly and high-quality education to children.
- Started and maintaining Vidas Nuevas ministry program to a Red Zone neighborhood for 3 years now.
- Saved a newly widowed woman and her three fatherless children from also losing their home.
4 years ago, as I was moving here, the idea and plan was to stay for a year, raise up a team of local Guatemalans who would minister to the precious children here, and then I would move on to the next location, wherever God would direct me and Abogar. It was my plan. It was how I thought that things would, and should, work out. But God’s ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are much higher than mine. Some in the world might say that it is a failure to not reach or make my plan, in my timing, but I am certain that I and Abogar are moving in the center of God’s will, work, and timing for us. The way God works is very different than our own goals and plans, and to be obedient to God’s plans and way of working is always a success to Him.
Though I have suffered slander, scorpion stings, insect infestation, parasites, viruses, diarrhea and other health issues, opposition, accidents, and even death threats… I still continue forward. Some have said that they see God’s presence and plan in the obedience I am trying to live out daily. Though I am far from perfect, I won’t give up, in this fight for children to truly have forever homes and forever families, and am trying to raise up a leadership team here in Guatemala that also won’t give up. Whether God calls me to be here another 4 years, or 4 months, or any other amount of time, the challenges and struggles, pain and frustration, tears and turmoil, all fade in comparison to knowing that we are pursuing God’s heart and calling for us, seeing precious children’s lives changed.
As I think about how God works, though most of the time it is of great mystery, Micah 6:8 points us to the very core of what it means to be about the work of God. Not only is it His call for us, but we see that His love drove Him to come, in the form of Jesus, and to live among and suffer with those whom He loves, to redeem, rescue, and love them. He suffered in many ways; leaving heavenly glory to be in the flesh and pain of humanity, being slandered and falsely accused, encountering opposition and threats, exposed to health issues and the brokenness of fallen humanity, If God is willing to suffer such things to reach out to those He loves, if that is how He works, should we not also be willing to suffer and surrender ourselves to wherever and however God would call us? YES! I believe so!
The way God works is of greater value and importance than however we would suggest that God should work. I don’t have all the answers, and am learning more and more every day just how little I actually know. But this one thing that I do know, that is of incredible value… obedience to where and how God calls and works is the greatest posture and place we can ever be in. Serving God is always worth it! Serving God is NOT always nor often easy, and definitely not about pursuing your own desires and goals. It is about obedience despite outcome. Pursuing justice and doing justly, loving and living out mercy, and walking in humility and gentleness as we serve God is where and how God calls us, and it is how God works!