Saturday, July 20, 2019

Camp Reforma 2019

           Hey guys! Sorry it's been so long.... in the last month we have been very busy. I got braces, made more friends, and went to camp. My church had a camp two weeks ago. It lasted 3 days and we had countless adventures. I can't go into very much detail because it was so exciting and detailed. Instead of that I can do a quick overview.
           When I first heard about the camp I didn't really want to go. I decided to pray about going because I didn't want to miss out on what God had planned. After praying about it, I needed to go.
          On Friday, a few weeks later, I found myself rushing around with last minute packing. Which of course for me, included a whole lotta stressing and worrying. #queenofoverreactions ;) When we arrived at the church we hung out with some of the gringos from the youth group. We had fun watching the team of gringos arrive and pile out of the van. Trust me, that's not the weirdest thing I've done, and after being gringo-starved, we have the right to be creepy with gringos. Right?
         We began the process of getting everything loaded onto the bus. With a group of 40+ people this took a considerate amount of time. While that was happening, we went inside to play an icebreaker. It was like an advanced round of rock-paper-scissors-shoot, and not to brag... but I won three times ;)
          Anyway, we got onto the bus and took off for what was supposed to be a three hour drive. Key word: “supposed”.  We got stuck in traffic for an hour and then we had to wait for an hour on the side of the road (I think someone got sick). For the first half of the drive I sat with Jordyn and her new friend Angie, hoping someone would talk to me. I almost fell asleep, but Selvin, one of the leaders, asked me if I was tired!
The bus was three to a seat. I ended up sitting on a speaker system in the back for the necessary space bubble...

         We made a restroom stop and when we got back to the bus Jordyn and Angie kicked me out of the seat so I moved to the back. I was able to meet a bunch of the guys who ended up being in my group. I even had a conversation with one of them where I was only speaking Spanish and he was only speaking English. I'm crazy proud about that ;)
        The second day we had a Mega Match in the pool. It included races and tug of war. The Lobos were formed out of the purple team and the yellow team, while Team Cap was the blue and red teams. The Lobos won most of the Mega Match. We also had a treasure hunt which was a lot of fun and it was challenging... my team, despite starting last, won second place. :)
        That night we had a special dinner. Everyone wore face paint and a headband\crown. We all sat at our assigned seats and received letters from our family which was really awesome:)
Hiding out in the air conditioned cabins before being tortured by the hundred degree heat and a campfire

        We had a campfire at 9:30. We couldn't get very close to it without melting from the heat and humidity. I really enjoyed the worship time we had there though. Even after the fire had died out we hung out and sung and talked for a long time.
       The next day, we had to get up early to take a group photo with the gringos before they left.
Because my cabin was still sleeping, I snuck out of the cabin for the photo. By the time I returned my whole cabin was empty. I assumed they would be back, and they assumed I had gone with my dad... which I had not.
        After breakfast, the Super Match began. I'm not sure what was more fun - watching people dance around in emoji "balls" or running the obstacle course. I was planning to do the emoji run, but in a practice round, I fell from running too fast (of course I was the one who fell LOL). I was able to do the obstacle course. Nataly and I were the last Lobos to run (no pressure, right?). We won the obstacle course, which added to our points as the final and ultimate topper, to win. The Lobos won for camp and we'll come back strong next year!
         The bus ride home was about three hours, and we came home to fireworks and confetti. :D
The next Sunday, we all grouped up and talked about camp. The same thing happened at Youth Group the following Saturday.
         Sorry for such a long post. Honestly this is a very abbreviated form of the whole of camp. I filled eleven pages in my journal, and used up about three hours on it. I praise God for blessing me (and Jordyn) with this amazing chance to know people at church. It has been a truly encouraging experience for me. Anyway, all of this happened about three weeks ago so rest assured, you will receive an exciting post about the last three weeks soon. It includes everything from eating bugs to getting cool hair wraps! God loves you.

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Peace transcending
By: Hannah Jane Saleeby
                I have a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and walnuts.  If I ever ate a peanut or walnut, I would go into anaphylactic shock.
            When I was 4 months old, my mom began to feed me a wider variety of foods.  She gave me something with milk in it and my face broke out in hives!  She took me to my pediatrician and had me checked.  When the doctors tested my blood, it reacted to peanuts, treenuts, and milk.
This is me right after I got my blood drawn
on our last trip to the States:)
         At the age of 11, I got my blood tested again.  After 11 years, I outgrew my milk allergy. Now, 3 years later, I still don’t drink it straight up.  I eat pretty much anything with milk in it.  I just feel weird drinking it (Can you blame me? 11 years of thinking it will kill me, and then suddenly it won’t). I also outgrew my almond and a few other nut allergies.  Although I still don’t eat them, it has made navigating my food options much easier.
            I have many fears as well.  I’m terrified of fire, snakes, spiders, needles, and blood (it’s more like multiple phobias, but the words are surprisingly long and complicated, therefore they are impossible to remember;).  It’s surprising that anaphylactic reactions aren’t at the top of that list.  I kind of see it as second nature to check my food and carry my auto-injector, just like how you know that you would never jump in front of a moving car, so you’re not afraid of the possibility.
            I believe that fear exists because of our lack of trust in God.  I began to pray for trust in Him. He has been putting things in my life causing me to trust Him. Recently He’s shown me Philippians 4:6-7 which says, 
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind, in Christ Jesus.”
The more I think about this, the smaller my fears are.  As I work on trust and He works on me, I have had peace transcending.  I am now 14 and I have had allergies for 14  years ... that's a total of about 5,110 days.  In the bigger picture, that's 15,330 meals, and countless snacks.  I have never had an anaphylactic reaction in that entire time.  You may consider me lucky or overly cautious, but I believe that it’s God.  He knows how scared I am of needles and how gross I feel in hospitals.  He knows the plan He has for my life.  Every time I think about my allergy or hear of a fatal reaction, I get nervous and anxious.  But then, I remember that my God is good, and my God is strong.  He holds it all. He has never once said, “Oops, didn’t mean to let that one slip,” so there is no need to worry.  I mean, seriously, why carry tomorrow’s burden with today’s strength?  It encourages me that I am still here (I live in Guatemala and it is super hard to explain my allergy to people.  If you say "nut", they think "seed? Dry fruit? Gluten? Nut?"... and the list goes on).
 I think that because I know that life is so short, I want every second to count and to glorify God.  I realize that every second counts.  Maybe it's not me who has a shorter lifespan and if I pass up the opportunity God gives me, that may have been that person’s last chance.  I don’t know about you but I’m not willing to risk that.
 The only reason you and I are still here is because God has a purpose for us.  When our time here is so short, do we really care more about stuff than people and the everlasting eternal things?  Maybe you feel like a nobody who not even God could care for or maybe you feel popular and loved.  What’s the difference?  God made us all in His image.  He sees the bigger picture.  He sees no difference.
 When Jesus chose His disciples, He didn’t choose the teachers and prophets, He chose fishermen and tax collectors.  In His eyes we are a small (important)  part of His bigger plan.  So, no matter who you are, just know, God loves you, even if it feels like the whole world hates you.  Jesus stood in your shoes.  He experienced fear just like you and I, and pain and hunger and all the feelings we have experienced.  He has power and peace that is so huge, it’s impossible to wrap your head around. 

            I choose to lean into His open arms. I’m going to soak up His all-consuming love today. What about you?

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Evidence Not Seen

           I wonder if you’ve ever heard of Darlene Deibler Rose?  She was a missionary to New Guinea for many years.  However, after only five years on the mission field, war broke out and Japan invaded New Guinea.  Deibler’s husband was taken along with many other missionary men as a prisoner of war. Deibler herself was imprisoned in the missionary station with the other missionary women for two years until she was accused of being involved in espionage.
          Deibler was moved to the dreaded prison camp Kampili.  She endured weeks of torture and interrogation until the interrogator eventually concluded that she was indeed involved in espionage.  She was condemned to be beheaded as an American spy.
          One day, from her cell window, she watched a prisoner in the courtyard sneak up to the wall.  A hand suddenly shot through the wall and handed the woman a bunch of bananas.  The woman hid them in her dress. Deibler, who was skin and bones by then, began to crave bananas.  She asked God for just one, but then she doubted and began to believe it was impossible.  The next day, after a visit from a Japanese friend, the guard walked in and dropped a whole bunch of bananas. She counted and found that there were ninety-two!
          Deibler had never felt so ashamed before the Lord.  She apologized immediately and God replied in her heart, “That’s what I delight to do, the exceeding abundant above anything you ask or think.”  

Deibler later commented, “I knew in those moments that nothing is impossible with my God.”
        You may be wondering why I'm telling this story.  Personally, it is a reminder of a miraculous God who does the impossible.  Some of you may be wondering why you've never experienced anything like that, but it doesn't have to be something so big. 
       Recently, when we switched churches, I felt like I didn't know ANYONE. I began to pray daily for just one friend at church and one in the neighborhood.  Following a few weeks of prayer and a few tears, God provided us with multiple friends in both places!  Last Friday, we met some kids in the neighborhood. We even had the opportunity to play outside with them every day this week.  I'm honestly not sure how I managed to finish school early enough each day.  Our church has a relatively new youth group which had a meeting last Saturday.  We went and met three gringo MKs and a few Guatemalans.  I had been praying for one friend in both places and I got at least TWENTY! During the wait, God placed the Bible verse Psalm 27:14 and the phrase "that's what I delight to do...." on my mind. God is good:) He taught me a lesson about patience... and His supreme timing, and answered my prayers:)
Left to Right: Me, Jordyn, Alexa, Saul, and Diego
We're enjoying Jordyn's homemade popsicles!

From left to right: Tonito, Saul, Ana Sofia, Alexa, Me:), and Jordyn
Bottom: Diego, Daniel

          My friends Emily and Ann Retty have a blog about their full time RV life and adventures. They've seen everything from broken feet to beautiful views and even a flash flood! If you want to check it out, Google Retty2Roam. 

Luke 18:27
“He replied, ‘what is impossible with man is possible with God.’”

Psalm 27:14

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Wait for the Lord."

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Clay in the Hands of the Potter

By: Hannah Jane Saleeby

                “We’re moving to Guatemala.” These four words changed my life. Until then, everything was normal. I was just a regular 11 year old, living an uneventful life, until April three years ago. My parents, two sisters and I went to El Salvador and Guatemala on a trip. The day we got back, my parents told us the news. My whole world just crumbled around me. My parents explained to us that this had been on my dad’s heart for years.
            It took me some persuasion, but eventually the idea grew on me. After about a year, we started to pack. It was a slow process and it required a few yard sales, a LOT less stuff, and a few tears. Once we had peeled away a few layers of our stuff, we were able to sell our house. It was on the market for a short time. I felt like we vacuumed and swept a million times a week. Once it sold, it was official, we didn’t belong there anymore.

            We belonged to a strange land, with a strange language, and a strange culture. It took me three years to finally realize that I don’t belong here on earth. My citizenship is in heaven. I’m a stranger here. It doesn’t matter where I am, it’s simple, I don’t belong. I’ve been sent here by my Father in heaven. He has me where He wants me. Right now, that’s Guatemala,country most people probably have never heard of.
            Well, we finally moved on August 13th, 2017. I have been so blessed. I've rested in the hands of  God and He leads me safely through every trial.
Philippians 4:13
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
Ephesians 2:19
“So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with saints, and members of God’s household,”