Old dog… new tricks?

Life is full of lessons… even for us “old dogs”, God can teach us many new tricks.  We have been here in Guatemala for only 5 days…. feels like 5 weeks.  So much has happened and we have learned so much already.  There is a certain arrogance that surrounds our culture.  We think we are going to come into a country as missionaries and teach them better ways.  Funny thing happens instead… they teach us VERY quickly what is wrong with our ‘better’ ways.  Pretty much just about everything.  We come in with plans… Our plans suck, for lack of a better word.  Us arrogant Canadiense’s are brought to our knees within moments of being here.  We truly don’t mean to be arrogant… we come here with the best of intentions…. but we get knocked down instantly, to their level… which quite frankly is above ours in so many ways.

If Guatemala had a better system of equality and Government they would be coming to Canada as missionaries to help us.  Of that I have no doubt.  They would teach us patience… they would teach us to trust in God and not in ourselves… They would teach us lessons that our brains need to learn.  It has taken less than 5 days for us to be humbled beyond measure.   God wanted to make sure we were in complete surrender before He made things the way He wanted them to be and not the way we had envisioned.

All the struggles of the past few days, of which I won’t go into detail but trust me they were bad… were necessary.  Necessary to teach us a lesson that we honestly could not have learned any other way.  We had that Canadian arrogance knocked right out of us and now we are truly ready to do what we came here to do… God’s way, not ours.   We are so rushed in our lives.  And I admit I am one of the most chaotic people around.  Here, there is no such thing… everything moves at a relaxed, snails pace…. it’s so tough to get used to… especially when you are in need of something… like a place to live.  We expect everything to be done NOW…. Not going to happen… no sense getting your blood pressure up.   I swear people here don’t die much of stress induced illness… simply doesn’t exist.  They don’t get stressed.  Even the ones dying of malnutrition simply wait patiently for God to help them… Sure they do everything in their power to make things happen and at the same time they joyfully trust…. completely.  They totally understand that they need Him… and His will be done.

We have a home that will be ready for us to move in on Tuesday.  The location couldn’t be more perfect… less than a 1 minute walk to the hospital.  More than we could have ever hoped for.  We have some furnishings already… We have the basic necessities of life now… and we have each other.  That is all we need.  I will be learning to cook with wood, the Guatemalan way.. I will be learning to do laundry by hand, the Guatemalan way… I will be learning to shower with cold water, the Guatemalan way…  And I will be teaching them some of our ways.   Fernando’s family has given me the honour of preparing Christmas dinner… they want a traditional Canadian turkey dinner cooked in an oven that they have no idea how to use.  They want to learn our way…. and in return they will teach me their way.  What a wonderful exchange of lives taking place.

We have already experienced so much of the culture here… Beginning with the day we got here.  Dec 7th… El Dia del Diablo.  The day of the Devil.  Its El diablo’s birthday and at 6:00 pm fires are lit everywhere to burn pinata images of the bad guy.  They roast him and celebrate a new beginning to life in the ashes… they burn the bad guy and all he brings… he has no power here…. They won’t let him have any power over them.  Out of such simple lives come such wisdom!  What a beautiful symbolic ritual that has been carried on for centuries.

And so we carry on… with lessons learned… valuable ones that we will take home and carry with us the rest of our lives.  Only 5 days in and already we are changed people.  Makes me wonder in awe of what the next 5 months will bring….

About ritadoppenberg

I am a wife, mom, missionary.... generally a human being who along with God, my family, friends and Commission to Every Nation (CTEN) Canada, seek to "Be The Change"...

Posted on December 11, 2011, in Guatemala Missionary, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. “God wanted to make sure we were in complete surrender before He made things the way He wanted them to be and not the way we had envisioned.”

    This really resonated with me. Thank you.

    What a fantastic statement. It could not be more true for anyone who has faced challenges and struggles.

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