Guatemala 2013 – The learning begins

Our trip began early yesterday morning with our neighbor, Dean Swanson, providing us with a ride to the airport. Thanks, Dean, for your contribution to this ministry! We left Rochester at 2 am and were treated to a wonderful display of the power and beauty of God’s creation in the form of an incredible lightning display on the way to the airport. Security and bag drop off went smoothly and we were at the gate before 4 am. But the storm was continuing, with lots more lightning. Our 5:25 flight left sometime between 7 and 7:30. As we only had an hour between flights, we missed our connecting flight to Guatemala City and assumed we had missed the flight an hour later as well. We followed the instructions Delta gave us and spent an hour and 45 minutes in lines, on the phone trying to figure what the plans needed to be. We found out we had been automatically booked onto a 7 pm flight. We had troubles getting boarding passes printed and were eventually told to go to the gate and get them printed there. We took some time doing so and got there in time to see the second flight sitting at the gate with the door already shut but being held up while the took our luggage off the plane. The gate agent said if we had arrived a few minutes earlier we would have been on the plane as there were empty seats. I haf interacted with three different people, none of whom gave me an inkling that there was a plane still on the ground. Let’s just cut to the chase and say this was very frustrating and that my opinion of Delta’s processes wasn’t very high. I wish I had taken the time to stop and pray about it. We spent the rest of the day in Atlanta, trying unsuccessfully to sleep. I worked on a couple songs for the album. I want to thank heather Nielsen and Wayne Wiley for their advice and assistance throughout the day. This included what I later realized was a 6 am phone call to Heather made from the airplane as I tried to make sure that our driver and hotel would be notified of the delays. Sorry, Heather! Thanks to Wayne for booking a hotel and ensuring a safe night in Guatemala City. We are safe and sound, Jan and John are still sleeping and I am reminded that I don’t turn to God often enough when life’s difficulties are happening. The most important thing I have to do this morning is to thank God for getting us here safely and for giving us this opportunity. I am realizing that communications such as these can spread the word about this ministry as well as keep those who are interested in us aware of what is happening. I will try to send them faithfully and often. We thank you and thank God for your prayers and support.

I have a few other people I would like to thank as well before I wrap up. I have four wonderful and dedicated mentors who interact with me on a regular basis on this spiritual journey on mine. They are Aileen Williams, Pastor Amanda Larsen, Ken Bauman and Lynn Behnke.
I had an opportunity to spend time with each of them this past week and as always, they provided support, sage advice, direction and amazing doses of God’s love as we spoke. I have experienced so much spiritual growth as a result of these amazing relationships built on our individual experiences with God. To the 4 of you, simply, I love you and I thank you for your time, your wisdom and for all you have given me!
Lynn, thanks for Carla’s rocks and your gentle reminders that people remember what I say especially when they’re wrong…please write the story of the rocks down soon in a form I can publish.
Aileen, thanks for your hugs, your stories that inspire me to do more, your smiles and your wisdom.
Ken, thanks for your leadership and your friendship on our walk together. Where is God in this? Everywhere.
Amanda, thanks for all you have taught me, especially about the importance of sharing our the stories of our experiences with God.

As we spoke to Amanda early in the week, she asked if we had been commissioned in church before this trip. We had not. We all agreed that was too bad. On Friday morning, I called her and asked if she could make time on Friday night for her to commission us. In spite of the late notice and having other plans while her sister Eve is in town, she took the time to have supper with us. We all went back to our house. Dean, our neighbor who provided our ride, was out and agreed to join us. Amanda then proceeded to provide a short and simple but extraordinarily beautiful commissioning in our backyard.
It choked us up and in a word, was perfect! She made us aware that God is and always will be present, there, here and anywhere we are. She reminded that we serve God as we go and that our stories of this journey serve God. She told us to be to be open to God, to the things he would have us see and hear. She recognized that this is a time of discernment but also that all the answers won’t come at once.
It was perfect!
Thanks, Amanda!
Thank you, God, for all those you place in our paths!


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