Last year around this time, I was a hot mess. Straight up. It was the first time not with my family in the States for Christmas. I obviously was happy to be spending it with my fiancé, the kids with us, and my Guatemalan family. But I felt like something was missing, or just not right. It was a huge change to not be with my family from PA, our traditions, the fact that it wasn’t cold, no snow, not working 12 hours, driving 3 hours across the state to be with family, feed and milk the cows, head back to work, etc. I tried to “normalize” Christmas, while being surrounded by new traditions. And failed miserably. Couldn’t find my cookie press, didn’t have time to make other cookies, no snow, not cold, no cows to feed or milk, no working crazy hours. It just didn’t feel “right” or “normal.” To me, it was just a lot of changes all at once.
But now, here we are a year later. Many more changes have occurred from the past year. This past year has had its share of ups and downs. Marriage, moving into a new house with my husband and making it a home, adjusting to a new life, becoming more comfortable with my new home country, financial struggles, challenges and triumphs with kids, transitions with some kids, moving 3 kids with us in our new home, spending time as a family, giving up the mission house in hopes of bigger plans in the future, 1700+ patients treated, hosting teams, 8 kids fully supported in school and over 35 others assisted in some way or another with their schooling, forming a soccer team, starting free English classes, youth and kids’ club activities and seeing amazing growth from them, spending one on one time with many youth, volcano relief after a devastating eruption, making new friends who have become family, continuing to fight a spiritual battle and show the love of Jesus to those we come into contact with. And another thing that has changed is the fact that I feel like I’m in my earthly home for Christmas this year and can’t wait to spend it with my HUSBAND and kids.
Thinking back over the last year, it amazes me how much God has blessed us, in big ways and small ways, has shown his faithfulness to walk with us through the trials and triumphs, and to see how many people were blessed because God tugged at your hearts to partner with us in one way or another. Words can’t express our gratitude, thankfulness, and how humbled we are to have you all a part of our lives and the lives of everyone here. So for this Christmas season, I pray you all can feel the blessing in return that you have given us and so many others here. And that you can realize the impact that you are making, how you are helping to save lives, and giving so many people a chance and a hope to break the poverty cycle, receive healthcare, and learn about how through Jesus we can receive the greatest gift of all: eternal life. So until we all get to our heavenly home, I pray you all make wherever you are your home for Christmas this year and can enjoy it. Enjoy the little and big blessings God has given you this year. And if you are feeling stress, grieving the loss of a child or another loved one, or dealing with pain or depression, I pray that God can give you comfort, peace, and the most amazing hug during this difficult time that can easily consume you to the point that you can’t function, just crippling. Christmas season can be amazing and it can be the most dreaded time of the year depending on what you have been through. I pray that no matter what you have been through that God can give you the comfort that can only come from him, giving you grace, mercy, rest, and help you through this season, in hopes that one day you can breathe and live again. Meanwhile, we have the hope of eternal life to be reunited with our loved ones who have gone before us, that they are healed and made whole, and that we will be with them and our Heavenly Father. No more pain. No more sorrow. No more suffering. No more trials. Just pure bliss...and finally HOME.