I had someone call me on the phone yesterday and ask me if I was supposed to be here, maybe I was supposed to go back, etc. This was a very difficult conversation for me to have because there are very few things which I am sure about in this world, but to where I have been called is one of them. So, for this person to insinuate that I shouldn't be here--or to even question MY calling--was pretty offensive to me. God made my calling to Guatemala very clear to me, and every step of the way, He has led me very clearly and very surely. He knows my tendency to get side-tracked and stray from the goal and has therefore made things very, very clear to me. He has put things in my heart and taken things out. He has put people in my life and taken people out. It has come to the point where I wonder if I have free will or not, but then I realize that I don't mind.
I have been blessed by so many people in my life. On Facebook, I tend to list the people who I am thankful for on a semi-random basis; however, I am so overwhelmed by how blessed I have been that I felt the need to share about some of these people in a more public place: here.
First, I am thankful to Heidi A. It is because of her (with God's divine direction) that I moved from the Hogar in Mixco to Antigua. It is because of her that I no longer live alone and therefore have a safer environment.
Second, I am thankful to Carmen and Daryl. They are the owners of Hotel Casa Rustica where I lived for 3 weeks. They not only helped me in those early days when I didn't have 2 pennies to rub together, but have continued to help me through hiring me to teach English, gifting me a guard dog, and many other reasons which I won't all list here. They know what they've done for me, and I just wanted to say "Thanks."
Third, I am thankful to Shawn Smith. Through his work in Guatemala, he helped me obtain a job in the school where I still work to this day.
Fourth, I am thankful to Nury who has helped me from time to time to make a little extra money through massage or translation.
Fifth, I am thankful to Annette who, although I've never taken her up on the offer, has said that I'm always welcome at her table should I find myself in need.
Sixth, I am thankful for Juana who was my next-door neighbor in my first few months of living in San Antonio. She made sure I never went hungry...or at least not any hungrier than herself. She, her daughter, and her daughter's four children have brightened my life immeasurably.
Seventh, I am thankful for Saul, another one of my neighbors and really the first person I knew in San Antonio. After Juana moved out, he made sure that I still didn't go hungry and had something besides bread to eat every day.
Eighth, I am thankful for Saul's sisters: Livny and Merly. Livny entrusted me with teaching her daughter English who, we found out, does not like to learn alone. Oops? Livny and Merly have walked the streets with me and racked their brains helping me find a new place to live. They are also available just for chatting from time to time.
Ninth, I am thankful for Klemente whose friendship has been invaluable. We have shared everything from Bible study to revival concerts to money. When in need, ask a friend.
Tenth, I am thankful to Antonio and Sonja S. They are my spiritual and moral support around here. If there's anything going on, I can call them.
Eleventh, I am thankful for all my co-workers at the school, especially Conny. They've always been there for me whether it was sitting and talking with me on the bus so that I didn't look like the crazy gringa who no one wants to be around or looking for houses for me, sharing food with me, inviting me to festivals, or paying my bus fare.
Twelfth, I am thankful for my Guatemalan "brother of the heart" Jorge and his family. They have invited me on family vacations, taught me how to drive a motorcycle, been there when I needed someone, invited me to family parties, and scared off more than one Guatemalan suitor for me.
Thirteenth, I am thankful for the Tuy-Bixcul family (and Carlitos who, for all practical purposes, I lump with them even though he is not related). They "don't see" skin color. When I first met them, I paid the same price as any Guatemalan. Now that I know them, I typically pay less (the family price). I've helped name one of their family members. I help in their stores, often working the cash box by myself. It's a confidence that I have no desire to break ever. And while, at times, I fight a bit with one of their members, as a family, I feel very much a part.
Fourteenth, I am thankful for my vet. So are my animals...I think.
Fifteenth, I am thankful for the couple from whom I buy my bread. They are amazing and sometimes give me a little extra when money is tight for me. They also helped me find the house that I'll likely be moving into in a week and a half.
I'm sure there are more here in Guatemala, and I haven't even touched on those of you in the United States for whom I am thankful. Maybe in my next post. This post took a lot longer to write than I had planned (because of unplanned interruptions), and I am tired...with so much still to do before tomorrow.