Tuesday, July 31, 2012

guatemala: "Welcome home"

Crying. Pleading.
Desperation. Wailing.
Praying. Hoping.

November 2010 is a time our family will never forget. Kelly Loveland Gourley, my beautiful cousin, was waging a futile battle against the cancer that was ravaging her body. With each passing day, more hopeless news was delivered. Our family began to transfer our mindset from the process of treatment and remission to trusting and praying for a miracle. We placed Kelly in the Lord's hands and believed He still may heal her at the very end.

Gathered in Kelly's front yard on the night of November 1st, more than 300 friends and family lit candles, sang and prayed together for Kelly's miracle. I believe God heard our cries that night. He heard the pain. He heard the pleas. He hears it all.Kelly went home to be with the Lord on November 10, 2010. We know Kelly did not lose her fight against cancer. Cancer lost it's grip on Kelly. God heard our pleas.

During the dedication of the special needs center in memory of Kelly this past Friday, July 27, 2012, I couldn't help but remember our candlelit gathering. There was crying at this event, too. Sprinkled throughout speeches from Vernon Brewer, the President of World Help, Carlos Vargas of Hope of Life, the Minister of Health of Guatemala and David Loveland, Kelly's father...   there was crying. But these cries were different. These cries were coming from the children. The children. God hears their cries.

Pain. Abandonment.
Hopelessness. Hunger.
Waiting. Needing.

The cries emerging from the row of strollers was the sweetest sound a person could hear. These cries were about to be answered. At the moment the ribbon was cut, the Lord wrapped His arms around these children and said, "Welcome home".

We believe God did the same for our cries. The moment Kelly took her last breath, He was there, too, and said the same to Kelly.
"Welcome home".

See more from the dedication here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcxsnzrij_I

Monday, July 30, 2012

guatemala: Lifting The Fog

Returning home from Guatemala, I am experiencing a phenomenon called re-entry.

The trip lasted 72 hours, but in all honestly, it felt like we were there for a lifetime.

Thursday morning, I left my posh, comfortable surroundings in Palm Beach, FL headed for Hope of Life in Zacapa, Guatemala. Within 7 hours I was holding orphaned children, some who had been left to die on the street and in landfills. The emotions were simply overwhelming. As a mother, my instict is to provide for and protect my children. First thought: What must these mothers be facing in order to reach the point of abandoning their own children? I would soon find out in the coming days.

Now I am back home....
Surrounded by my four healthy children.
Clean running water.
....And I am in a fog.

How can all of this be real?

As I sit here processing our trip and all that we experienced, I am continually reminded that the God I serve is big. And He is real.

He wants His children cared for. The least of these. The orphans that have nothing to give back. Sometimes, not even a smile. And God is good because He has placed decent & caring people in this world that are doing just that - Helping, caring and loving without any glory at all.

I found Jesus down in Guatemala. I found Him in the face of a 12 year old girl - abused and raped by her step-father, left pregnant and nowhere to go. Until Carlos Vargas reached out his helping hand and showed her the love of Jesus, she would have been short on options and in a desperate position.

I went to Guatemala, hoping to make a difference or change for the people.

In the end, Guatemala changed me.