Tag Archives: missions trip

My Favorite Small Moment in Guatemala

“Am I not enough?”

I carried that message – that question – close to my heart for those 5 days in Guatemala as the Lord and I continued an ongoing conversation.

And on the last day of ministry, as we arrived at the abuelo’s (grandpa’s) home for those of an older generation that needed care, but had mostly been abandoned by their families, while I still didn’t necessarily “feel” much different, I had a deep appreciation for the peace that came with simply knowing … that He was God, that I was there because He invited me to join Him there, and that He was enough.

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After painting the nails of some of the women at the home, I sat down with one of my teammates, Sara, who had struck up a conversation with two adorable ladies … one of whom was 96 and blind. She made sure to tell us that several times. Her name was Nina. And she was precious.

Even with the language barrier, we managed to have a decent conversation that was filled with our limited Spanish vocabulary, the help of Google translate, many smiles and so. much. laughter. I think those ladies were quite amused by the way we pronounced our limited Spanish with southern accents!

After more-or-less exhausting our conversation abilities, Sara moved across the outdoor hallway that surrounded a beautiful courtyard to visit with another gentleman and I moved from my spot on the floor to the empty chair right beside Nina.

I hadn’t been there longer than about a minute when she reached for my hands and pulled them both closer to her, so she could rub my hands and arms.

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It was such a simple gesture on her part, but in a way I can’t quite explain was such a huge blessing for me.

And that seemed so backwards.

Because wasn’t I supposed to be there to bless and to serve her? Not the other way around?

I couldn’t help but think this must of have been a small taste of how the disciples felt that night at the last supper when Jesus washed their feet.

As if it wasn’t supposed to be that way.

But it was supposed to be that way, and it was right.

And so was this small moment with Nina.

She expressed to one of our leaders how grateful she was that we were there … that we were taking the time to just sit with her, to just be with her.

And in that moment, I knew with even more certainty that this trip back to Guatemala, one that was full of questions on my heart and full of moments that were tempting to view as small and insignificant (but somehow weren’t at all), wasn’t about me.

It was about the Lord moving in and through me to do the work and have the encounters that He had prepared in advance.

All He needed from me was obedience and trust.

And this obedience, this walking out the Gospel in the small interactions that I have with those who cross my everyday path … some who I’ll almost definitely see again and others who I almost certainly will not?

This is what this life is all about.

Seeking Christ, following Him where He leads, and being fully present in each moment with each individual He places before us.

And yes, sitting with Nina as she rubbed my hands was an incredibly small moment, but it was entering into her world, being present with her there, and loving her well.

And that really wasn’t small at all.

This is how we’re called to live. To enter into the mess and uncertainty of relationship. To do life with others. To sit with them where they are.

So I held hands with a 96-year-old Abuela in Guatemala. And I know that we were both sitting in the presence of Jesus the whole time.

Guatemala :: Because He Was and Is Enough

I have so much to share with you about my time in Guatemala … and the more I process, the more I want to share!

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I wanted so badly to express some of what the Lord did in and through this trip last week, but I ended up sick promptly upon my return home and just didn’t have it in me to do much more than work and then plant myself on the couch before crashing for the night and pushing through the next day. Forming coherent thoughts that captured the trip or the Lord’s hand at work with any sort of justice seemed near impossible.

My energy level has been slow to return, and I’m still processing, but I couldn’t let another day pass without entering into this space to say thank you. For praying, for encouraging, for supporting … both me and the team I was privileged to serve alongside.

But really, how do you begin to express or explain something that you can’t quite even label or name yet? I know the Lord did something, and is still DOING something, in and through this trip and this heart He’s given me for Guatemala. But putting that something into words?

Well, it’s challenging … almost as if it’s still partially veiled. As if I’m not even supposed to be able to put it into words just yet. As if there’s something still being formed.

And while my eyes have been opened to it and I’ve been given a front row seat to it, I’m still watching the first act. There’s still some ground to cover before the characters fully develop or the plot begins to make some sense.

But oh, I saw the Lord move on this trip. I never expected not to, but I also want to intentionally stop and take the time to say it, to praise Him for it, to acknowledge that those prayers I prayed, those requests that had been on my heart for weeks, if not months – that I asked you to pray along with me – He answered! Not necessarily how I would have expected. But He answered.

God is so faithful.

And He so graciously honored the step I took in obedience and faith to go.

Because that’s this God we serve!

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Before I left, I knew I needed to let go of the expectations I was bringing along, which in and of itself was hard since the last trip in February had been so powerful.

And this trip was certain to be different.

But I also knew that the door had been so obviously and creatively opened for me to go back that this trip needed to be all His.

For whatever reason, He wanted me there. And even though that reason was unknown to me, there was freedom in knowing that I could follow Him back to Guatemala, be fully present in each moment, and trust Him to do the rest.

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But honestly? That is still not my default. And that was not easy.

I didn’t want this trip to be about me, but at so many points, I found myself desperately seeking and searching for a reason, for an emotional connection, for an obvious and out-loud purpose for being back in this country that I have come to love so dearly.

As a result, the Lord and I had an ongoing conversation – a sort of internal wrestling and crying out on my part and truth-filled, yet gentle and loving replies on His – for the majority of this trip. I wanted a reason. I wanted to understand my place and my purpose. And I wanted to not react so negatively to the uncertainty around and within me.

I felt emotionally disconnected. The culture shock was gone this time, and as I walked around Antigua on the first day, everything seemed so familiar. Even the smell at the Guatemala City dump the next day didn’t overwhelm all of my senses in the same way as before.

guate4While part of that was okay, I didn’t expect to feel quite so detached. I watched as my team reacted to all of it as I had before, as I would have expected to react again. I watched the tears and the brokenness and the feelings of helplessness come over them, and I couldn’t help but think something was terribly wrong with me. How could I not react with the same level of emotion? How could I not feel more?

I didn’t want to come across as uncaring or lacking in compassion … because that’s not what was going on, either … but nothing was coming out in the way of obvious emotion or reaction and it could not be forced.

So I found myself getting quiet and still before the Lord. I found myself hanging around the edges of the group at times to process the lack of emotion and to continue this conversation with the only One who knew my heart and thoughts even better than I did. The only One who could really see and speak truth into what was going on inside of me.

And as we continued this conversation that literally lasted for days, as I talked and as I listened, I sensed the Lord saying,

“Am I not enough?”

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Even in the way I heard it, in the negative form, had to be Him. Because only He would know that’s what would best get my attention in that moment.

Because I wasn’t acting like He was enough. I was so focused on figuring out why I was there that I was missing the part about just being obedient in following and being with Him, in His presence, in Guatemala.

That’s all He ever asked. He never promised an obvious reason or that I would know another specific purpose … or that there would even BE another specific purpose.

And no matter what story (or straight up lies!) my emotions tried to tell, I could rest in that. Knowing that following Him to the place where He leads is always the right place.

Jesus was already in Guatemala.

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He didn’t need me this time any more than He needed me the first time, but He invited me to join Him there again. To join Him in doing the work, to be His hands and feet, to partner with ministries who had established and long-term relationships in their respective communities, to humbly enter into the lives of others – if only for a brief moment – to love and serve them well and to be fully present in each opportunity.

And in that place, I saw Jesus move in blue paint, in blowing bubbles, in big brown eyes that held your gaze, in smiles and much laughter, and in holding hands. I saw Jesus in small moments that somehow weren’t small at all.

Because He was and is enough.

And those are the stories I will be sharing with you here over the next few weeks.

Because those stories matter. Entering into the lives of others, even for the briefest of moments, makes a difference … to you AND to them. And the small moments that make up our everyday realities are never wasted when they are fully surrendered to Jesus.

I’m Headed Back to Guatemala … in Less Than 12 Hours!

That’s right. I’m headed back to Guatemala … and my flight leaves crazy early tomorrow morning.

I’m so looking forward to seeing and hugging some friends from the last trip in February, reconnecting with some ministry contacts on the ground, and meeting and serving with this whole new team that the Lord has brought together (seriously, we have prayed HARD at several different points in the process for this specific team that the Lord has gathered!).

But really, I’m mostly looking forward to just being in the Lord’s presence in Guatemala again and to joining Him where He’s already at work there.

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A few weeks ago, I began to feel incredibly uncertain about this trip. I could not for the life of me think of one good reason why I was going. I have no doubt it was the enemy attempting to get in the way.

But the Lord has been so faithful to remind me in small and subtle ways … through His word, through prayer and communion with Him, through His people … of exactly why I’m going. As if I should ever expect anything less.

When I left Guatemala in February, I knew I was leaving a piece of my heart and a piece of myself there. I fell in love with that place, and more importantly, with its people. I had no idea if I would ever have the opportunity to go back. But the impression on my heart the whole way home was that if God opened a door for me to go back, I needed to walk through it. I just had no idea that door would be flung so wide open so soon!

So, I still don’t know the specifics of why I’m going to Guatemala for the next five days. But who needs that anyways? I know without a doubt this trip is a step taken in both obedience and faith. And that’s a pretty sweet and freeing place to be.

I’m expecting God to work in big ways … in HIS ways … even if they aren’t big by my standards. And I’m expecting to serve Him according to HIS plans … even if they aren’t at all like my own.

This trip is His, and I can’t wait to see how He furthers His kingdom in and through it.

Would you join me in praying for this trip?

that this team the Lord has gathered would serve as one,
that the Lord would go before us and walk beside us the whole way,
that we would have eyes to see where the Lord is working and willing hearts to join Him there,
that we would love and serve those around us with Christ’s perfect love and servant heart,
that in the moments when we fear our own inadequacy and weakness we would immediately lay our fears at the feet of Jesus and press on in His strength and power,
that lives would be changed, that souls would be redeemed,
and that the name of Jesus would be boldly proclaimed in all that we say and do!

Thank you so much for partnering with us in this way. Prayer is so powerful and it truly means more than I can adequately express to know there are so many people lifting up this trip who are equipped with that sort of power!

I am not planning to blog while in Guatemala, and internet access will definitely be limited, but if I’m able, I will post updates on twitter (@emily_gallimore) and/or instagram (@egallimore), and I will look forward to sharing more in this space once we return home.

I’m Going Back to Guatemala! Want to Come?

At the beginning of February, I traveled to Guatemala with an amazing team of strangers-turned-friends under the leadership of author Jeff Goins on a vision trip based on his book, Wrecked, that could only have been planned and orchestrated by God.

Those few short days in Guatemala left me emptied of myself and forever changed.

I came away with a deeper understanding of what it means to be a small part of God’s bigger story by simply being available and humbly learning from and loving on His people.

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Two months later, I’m still processing and learning what it means to live fully and love well in each moment while being confronted with a sort of uncomfortable tension that won’t let me sit complacently doing my own thing, fulfilling my own selfish desires, because more than anything my heart longs to live for the Lord and to serve where and how He leads.

But even all of that seems rather unimportant. Because none of this is about me at all.

It’s about Christ. It’s about His love for His people. It’s about His beautiful and glorious redemption.

When I left Guatemala, I didn’t know if I would ever have the opportunity to go back. But not long after we returned, one of my new friends-who-feels-more-like-family, Alene, began to share that God was speaking to her about taking a team back to Guatemala.

Specifically back to Guatemala City to serve with Potter’s House and in the community of Treasures surrounding the dump.

So, I’m going back to Guatemala with her team October 9-13th, 2013!!

And you’re invited, too!

Watch this video to get a glimpse of our trip in February…

Is God speaking to your heart to go and serve with us in Guatemala City?

Find out more details and information HERE and HERE.

Heading to Guatemala

Two days from now (on Saturday), I will be heading to Guatemala on a short mission/vision trip with a team of about 20 strangers-soon-to-be-friends through Adventures in Missions and co-led by author/blogger, Jeff Goins, as a sort of extension of his book “Wrecked” that was published last year.

Heading to Guatemala

We’ll be serving in various settings as we walk in the midst of poverty for a few days (from February 2-6) with the anticipation of our hearts being wrecked, or broken, for the sake of the Kingdom/Gospel.

I’m slightly terrified and so crazy excited all at the same time.

Afraid of being changed, but more afraid of not being changed (yeah, even I know that’s hard to make sense of…), the fears are mostly irrational and not worth the time, so I’m humbly choosing to allow them to be swallowed up by the excitement of it all.

I’ve been on several mission trips and I’ve been on a couple of international trips, but this trip is new. It’s both. It’s different.

I truthfully don’t know exactly what to expect from this trip. Except to hope that I would better know, see, and feel the heart of God. And that my heart would align with His.

I would so appreciate your prayers, friends…

that we would serve as a unified team,
that the center and focus of all that we do would be Christ and His Kingdom,
that God would move greatly in our midst,
that God’s love for His people would be evident,
that God would move me out of myself and out of the way,
that I would be fully present in each moment and opportunity,
that my eyes and heart would be open (and selfishly hoping for a photographic eye to boot…),
that I would be keenly aware that none of this is about me … because it’s just not,
and mostly that Christ’s name would be proclaimed and exalted!

Thank you to those who have already prayed for, with, and over me in preparation for this trip. You have each been such a blessing!

I’m not expecting to have much (if any) internet access while in Guatemala, but I look forward to sharing how we see the Lord work during our time there as I’m able and certainly upon my return.

Grace & Peace!

God is Good: The Haiti Report

After the dust had settled from their mission trip to Haiti, I asked Bethany and Esther (the two lovelies from this photo of the week!) this question:

“If you could tell someone only ONE thing from the trip, what would it be?”

They both (separately and unaware of their counterpart’s answer) said the exact same thing:

“God is Good.”

After initially (and might I add immediately) stating that God is good, Bethany said it this way:

“I mean, I could go over day by day all that we did and saw, and God was in all of it, but really, it’s a miracle in and of itself that we even got there.”

And then she shared their travel story – the aforementioned miracle – that is absolutely worth re-telling here, so in her own words…

“It could have been ugly, especially considering there weren’t any available flights until the first team was supposed to go home. But let me start at the beginning.

So we got to the airport, loaded all our stuff, and got on a puddle jumper plane bound for Miami. And then we flew and flew and flew (in circles) and it was the worst. flight. ever.

There was terrible turbulence. At one point we even dropped the length of 3 drop zones {those who have been to Carowinds may be familiar with this reference…} and the lady across the aisle in front of me wasn’t paying attention, so she came flying up out of her chair and practically did the wave. I’m pretty sure her whole body left the seat! It was so funny! Especially because I was laughing so hard while everyone else was scared for their life!

But since we had been flying around in circles for over an hour, we didn’t have enough fuel to make it to Miami, so we landed in West Palm Beach where we proceeded to sit and sit and sit in the airplane on the middle of the tarmac. They gave us more drinks, but then somebody flushed paper towels down the toilet so we couldn’t even potty anymore. True story.

So then they said they were gonna give us some fuel, so the fuel man pulled up to the airplane, but then he said “nope, can’t give you any gas.” At this point (three and half hours later), they finally pulled up to a gate so we could hurry off the plane for ten minutes and use the working potty while they fueled the plane. It was all so bad that the pilot kept saying over and over that if we didn’t want to fly with them anymore, we didn’t have to.

But after we got our fuel (four hours later, now), we were finally up in the air again. Headed to Miami. However, our flight from Miami to Port-au-Prince had already left 45 minutes earlier and it was, of course, the last flight of the day.

So we get over to the Red Roof Inn to stay at the “distressed passenger” rate, head up to our room where we think we’ll have two queen beds and a couch for all 5 of us girls who were traveling together, open the door, and find one, very small, king size bed. Ha! Yeah, we laughed. And then headed back downstairs to get a second room, which happened to be the last room available in the whole hotel.

The next morning, we got up at 4am, called the cab company and told them we needed a mini-van, and then proceeded to wait in the lobby for an hour waiting for the mini-van cab that never showed. At 5am, we just took the hotel shuttle back to the airport in hopes of maybe making it on the first flight out at 6:50am.

When we got there, we found out we were numbers 7-11 on the standby list, and the first flight was already overbooked. So, we waited around until the first flight, but as expected, no one got on. We got some breakfast, came back to the gate, waited a little, paid $8 to use the internet (yep, we did), then decided to talk to the gate attendant about empty seats.

She said, “Well, there’s nothing today, uh, nothing Tuesday…let me check Wednesday…no, nothing…the next available flight is July 29th.” No available flights for SEVEN days?!? We didn’t know what else to do, so we literally laughed out loud!

Feeling a little dismayed, we went and sat back down to wait and just planned on being there for several days. But then, they started calling standby names for the 10:50am flight – we figured we wouldn’t get on, but we thought maybe enough people would that we could get on the next one. Hope! And then they called the first person from our group, the second person, the third person…all the way to the fifth person. We might have gone just a little crazy in the airport! We’re talking hopping and jumping and singing!

But after all that, we finally arrived in Haiti, just one day behind schedule, ready to hit the ground running, and more excited than ever to just be there!”

And Esther summarized her experience this way

“God is good.

Even in the midst of extreme poverty and brokenness, God is SO good.

Throughout the entire trip, God constantly reminded and showed me how great He is. This trip was entirely about serving HIM. It was not about me.

I saw God as we interacted with the Haitian people, as we played with the local children who came to visit, as we worked with the Haitian staff, as we sat around the kitchen and chatted with Mr. Bobby and Mrs. Wanda, as we packed pills, and as we reflected on the day’s work. I found myself constantly saying, “God is good. God is good.” And I still say it.

It’s the best way I can really describe my experience in Haiti.

God is good.”

And those flip-flops from the pile in the middle of our living room floor?

They found their way to some precious little Haitian feet.

Yes, I couldn’t agree more …

God is good.

Amen?

**all photos courtesy of Bethany**

Sharing the Fragrance of Christ in Canada

I have some pretty amazing friends who love the Lord something fierce and desire to serve Him…both in their everyday lives and serving in missions…and I love that! It’s an honor and privilege to be able to share some of their stories with you in this space. And while I love sharing their hearts and expectations as they leave for short term missions trips, I’m just as anxious as you are to hear the specifics of how the Lord chooses to move in their midst and how He works in and through them for His glory.

So, as we’re still praying for Bethany and Rachel as they begin week two in Haiti with a new team, let’s also lift up another dear friend, Kimberly, who is leaving today for a week long missions trip to Canada with a group of 10 other people from the college/young professional group at her home church.

Where are you going in Canada and what will you be doing?

We’re going to be smack dab in the middle of Toronto … a beautiful city with so many different nationalities represented. We’ll be teaming up with a church planter doing prayer walking, working on university campuses, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those we encounter. A large part of our task is also to survey the area to see what the needs are there. And then pretty much doing anything else we can to assist our church planter partners.

Why is Canada so significant to you?

The Lord laid this country on my heart around 2008, and I have had a desire to go serve this country and these people ever since. I’m looking forward to interacting with and being amongst the people … working and sharing the Gospel and seeing if this may be where the Lord is leading for a season.

How are you expecting the Lord to work?

I’m expecting the Lord to lead me out of my comfort zone and stretch me in striking up conversations with people we meet, and I’m hoping to see Him change lives. I’m also praying for unity within our team as we come together as one body serving one Lord to share the fragrance of and life in Christ.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing … Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s’ word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (ESV)