Monday, September 14, 2015

After Guatemala, Reflections...

As this summer draws to a close, I am somehow in a reflective mood because, in one way or another, this end-of-summer feels strangely different than previous ones.

My last guest post on here was about summer pilgrimages and I shared that we were headed to Guatemala this year.

Central Market, Guatemala City.
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala Highlands.
Mixco Viejo, Chimaltenango.
Trekking up to the crater of Pacaya Volcano.
Solving his Rubik's cube at the crater of Pacaya Volcano.
Antigua, Guatemala.
This end-of-summer feels strangely different because my heart seems heavy as this summer draws to a close.

It's been an eventful summer... both in our family's life and in world news.

In Guatemala, we came face-to-face with our Compassion daughter, Esperanza whose story unfolded not quite the way we expected. See photos from our visit and read my account of that day at this link. My daughter Alyssa's reflections can be found at this link.

In Guatemala, we came face-to-face with young girls who have been forced into child labour or experienced physical and/or sexual abuse whose lives are being restored at Oasis Girls' Home.

In Guatemala, we stood stunned, speechless, frozen... gazing at the scene in front of us, with a multitude of vultures circling above our heads. A scene so surreal it was as if it was playing on a TV screen. Right in front of us is a massive pit known as the Guatemala City Dump with many, many, many people, including children, working and scavenging and l-i-v-i-n-g in it.

One month after returning home, the scene still haunts me today. The only thing that is a balm to my heart is knowing that God is at work in that place through the ministry of CompassionIf you have read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, you will definitely want to click on this link to read about its beautiful connection to this garbage dump.

Our world is broken, very broken.

We return home to atrocious news of leaked videos about body organs from babies being sold, to shocking news of leaked data from an infidelity site, its main office located right here in our city, that proves Christians not being immune to it.

We receive news of childhood friends dying, both mine and hubby's... gone to soon, way too young.

Cerro de la Cruz, Antigua.
Main Square, Guatemala City
Our world is broken, very broken.

We are inundated with election news and with trivial social media posts on one's political stance when in other news, there's this report of ISIS enshrining a theology of rape, a news article that had me in an ugly cry before I even finished reading the first paragraph.

We were inundated with social media posts of people up in arms about a dead lion when in recent news, there's a dead baby who has washed ashore in Turkey because the world has ignored the worst refugee crisis we've seen since World War II. We knew the name of the lion faster than we found out what that sweet little boy's name is. His name is Aylan Kurdi

No wonder my heart seems heavy as this summer draws to a close.

It just wants to scream, "Lord Jesus, have mercy! Lord Jesus, heal our land."
... if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14.
It just wants to pray this prayer of confession...

But amidst the heaviness of heart, hope rises...
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. ~ Lamentations 3:21-23.
Ciudad Vieja, Sacatepéquez.
Hope rises because we serve a faithful God whose love is unending and whose mercies are new every day. 

He compels us to love big, to reflect His image, to be bold and courageous.

... love will run on.
And we could be like a river of that living water.
We could widen and deepen, we could course our way through hard things and plow fresh new ways.
And our perspective could reflect a Kingdom, our lives could be a refuge and our choices could be a courage that goes against the current.
You can feel it in the air these days:
Something beautiful is rising.
~ from this must-read blog post by Ann Voskamp.
Friends, can I encourage you to let love run on? Can I encourage you to click on one of the links below and do even just. one. thing. so that something beautiful can arise? 
:: Learn about how you can respond to the Syrian refugee crisis, the worst since WWII.
:: Sponsor a child with Compassion and release a child from poverty.
:: Pray alongside Micah Challenge... to change the world. 

About Aimee Esparaz... Aimee is mother to two teens and is passionate about living out Micah 6:8 with her family. She is a sponsor and advocate through Compassion Canada and works in global marketing. She loves to read and garden, and blogs at A Mom On A Mission.
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