I am leaving tomorrow to go to Guatemala. It is a trip that I had not planned to go on, a trip that I just kept thinking about (thanks Denise), and finally decided to go on only three weeks out.
I am excited to see a new country, meet Guatemalans, and try new food. I am hopeful that I can help change the lives of the people in the village we will go to.
I am hopeful that we can bring them a well that provides water- clean, pure, drinkable water, and teach them how to use proper hygiene skills. Mostly, I am hopeful that we can love them, serve them, and learn from them.
I am terrified of contracting malaria, getting nasty diarrhea, or being assaulted by gangs (thank you dad for pointing out that Guatemala is home to the most violent gang on earth!).
I am afraid that I am not strong enough to endure a week without air conditioning, seeing poverty to an extreme I have never been exposed to, and, finally, I am afraid of my heart breaking when I go to the orphanage we will visit to take supplies to.
I really had to think about going on this trip because it is, in fact, a mission trip. These people that I am going to be travelling with are going in the name of Christ, to serve as His body and do His work. I had to ask myself if it would be okay for me to go, since I don't know much about faith anymore. When I filled out the application, I looked at the box with "name of your church" for several minutes before leaving it blank. I don't have a church.
When I came to the blank asking me for my covenant statement, I didn't know what to write. What do I believe? What is my testimony? What can I honestly say about my beliefs? I wrote something to the effect of, "I want to follow the example of Jesus Christ in serving and loving other people." I figured that, regardless of the reality of Jesus Christ, His is still an amazing example to follow. I figured that would be enough.
What I have noticed these last few weeks though, is that it is not enough. I have realized that, deep down and climbing further to the surface each day, is a belief that if I go with an open heart and do His work, that God will talk to me once more. That if I serve Him, and share His love, then I will feel His love again. That if I give enough of myself to others, that He will restore to me the part of Him I once held in my heart. This is what I pray for- that in bringing God to others, they will bring God back to me.
I fear it is a wasteful hope. I fear that I will feel only emptiness and an even deeper loss, but I hope. I hope that I am still worth the gift of His love.
Does this make me selfish? Probably.
But here's hoping anyway.