One thing which I have learned over the years is that God will guide me no matter what the situation. Sometimes I misunderstand what He wants from me, and I have to refine the plan and try again.
The day after I submitted the last newsletter article, I received news that the house where I had been planning on living would only be available to me for 4 months (but rent free). A couple days later, I found that the cost of moving would be 2 months-worth of my current rent. So, I weighed and measured the situation, and decided on August 30th to stay where I am living. A few days later, one of the few neighbors who knew I was moving saw me in the street. And on September 8th, the daughter (Mari) of that neighbor showed up at my door. It seems that her brother is quite ill and may die. Her mother has gone to care for her brother (who lives in another town), and Mari's two sons have had to care for themselves during the day. The two boys are aged 2.5 and 6 years. The older one attends school in the morning meaning that the younger one was left alone in the house. The God-part in all of this is the date that the boys started this: August 30th. So, for the past week, I've been a nanny; end date is undetermined and based on whenever their uncle gets better or dies.
When you look at this, it's easy to see the hand of God in it all. He knew that this family would need me, and He knew that I didn't have obligations in Los Encuentros until October. He gave me a reason to not move...and then He showed me why.
So, while the move has been called off and I'm temporarily doing something else, plans to help in Los Encuentros have not been canceled. The new plan is to commute out to Los Encuentros every other week and spend 2-3 days in the community at a time. It will result in a slightly modified plan involving less English classes for the kids, but other than that, it remains the same. I would like to live closer to the community which I am serving, but it seems that for now that's not in God's plans for me. Right now He needs me to serve where I am to a family which is hurting and in need. For now, I'm delegating some work in Los Encuentros seeing about school costs in the area as well as looking at the costs of building a house for Maria and her children Elena and Juan who I wrote about in August.
Additionally, Guatemala dealt with a fairly strong earthquake on September 6th. I already had some houses on my list which were damaged. I need to make sure that those houses are still standing. If they aren't, houses need to be planned for them as well; in fact, if they aren't, the money which was proportioned for a house for Maria and her children may need to be redirected to other families with more urgent needs. I don't like to do that with money that was given for a specific family or purpose, but sometimes it is a necessary reality of the work here.
The care and keeping of a missionary
This month, I'd just like to ask for a lot of prayer. I'd like you to be praying for the families whose homes were in poor repair that the houses keep holding together. I'd like you to be praying for the family of Mari as they deal with the financial and medical needs of her brother and the possibility that they might lose him. (He is 29 years old.) I'd like you to pray for Mari's two sons—Jonotan and Otto—as they deal with spending time with me. I'd also like you to pray for Mari's two daughters who are 2 of the top 6 students in their 7th grade class (in a public school which has more than 200 7th graders) but who may have to drop out of school if their family can't find the money to send them to school. I'd like you to pray for all of the families which I work with in Los Encuentros as they deal with the confusion of me not moving out there like we all had planned on. Finally, I'd like you to pray for some patience in all of this for me. I know God has a plan; sometimes I wish He'd just spell it out a bit clearer for all of us.