Guatemala 2016 | Preparing My Heart for Guatemala

As I prepare to head to Guatemala in three weeks, I keep wondering if I have read enough, studied enough, and prayed enough. I keep looking for a common thread in my reading as are many others in my cohort. One fellow classmate says that courage is reoccurring in her reading. I think I have to take it back a step from that. For me I think the thread is trust. Trust that God will give me the courage I need to look beyond the physical sites we will see in Guatemala. While reading the book, Geography of Grace: Doing Theology From Below, by Kris Rocke and Joel Van Dyke, it became clear what I would be viewing when we visit the dump where people scavenge for treasures for a living, and the forensic lab where pieces of bone are meticulously collected from a mass grave and painstakingly put together to form a skeleton that can be DNA tested for identification. No amount of academic preparation will be enough to understand what I will experience.

I have come to realize that God is asking me to search my heart. He is asking me to find the light in all of the darkness. Through my heart rather than my head, I need to find His presence in all the pain and suffering that I witness. It’s not about judging, or about fixing, it’s about looking for love in the lives of these people who struggle every day to simply survive. It’s about finding God in their strength and their despair. It’s not about right or wrong, or finding solutions, it’s about finding God in the midst of the chaos.

Today’s gospel at Mass was the story from Luke of Jesus sending seventy-two others out ahead of Him to all the places He intended to visit. He asked them not to take anything with them and to bring peace to each household that will receive it. This was a fitting message as I prepare for Guatemala. I just need to trust that God will provide what I need as I venture into this unknown territory, and that He will entrust me with the power I need to do his work. Being Fourth of July weekend, Mass ended with Battle Hymn of the Republic and the words, “His Truth is marching on.” For me, that is what my purpose in Guatemala is about, to be God’s Truth to all I encounter. I will continue to trust that God will use me in Guatemala to help others embrace His Truth.

Janet is a Spiritual Director that studied Ignatian Spirituality and uses it to help others find God in all things.  She facilitates a contemplative prayer group at her church and is constantly amazed how God continually invites all of us to a deeper union with Him.   She has been married for 32 years, is the mother of four grown children who are all amazing, and grandmother to a grandson who brings her never ending joy.