June Update 2021 – Winds of Change

Greetings to Friends far and near!

I realize I haven’t been keeping you updated on the last few months of my life. I am still alive. 😉 Life just doesn’t slow down and wait for a person.

Youth group picture

In March we had a youth outing on the 13th. That was a very good day with the youth, playing ball, swimming, and grilling lunch. The following day I went with Fred and Diane and Katrina to Tenosique, Mexico. We needed to leave the country to get our visas renewed. God was faithful and everything went super smoothly for us! It was fun to go to Mexico again.

A few pictures from sightseeing in Mexico.

April was a month for celebrating birthdays. Ben J. had his 13th birthday the 3rd. Lisa’s was the 23rd. And another one of my friend’s had her birthday on the 15th and I was invited to a surprise party for her. Always a blessing to celebrate another year of life! The last weekend I went with Benj and Holly to the river land, and to El Mango for the weekend. That was my first time to visit El Mango so that was fun.

At the river land

May was a busy month although I don’t recall all the activities. The 8th we youth had a Mother’s Day supper for our moms so that week was busy with preparations for that. It was a lot of work, but what a special event! We were all blessed.

Mother’s Day Celebration

And here we are in June already!! And life isn’t slowing down!

My life is about to open a new chapter…God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. In April I got asked to return to Colorado to teach school. My first thought was NO. But I said I would think and pray about it. Time went on and I didn’t feel I had any clear direction. Then, seeking counsel of others, I began to think maybe this is what I was supposed to do. Well, God continued to work, and in the end, I told the Colorado school board no, but I told the Illinois school board YES. (I had been asked several times before to teach in Illinois.)

People have asked me if it was a hard decision. The direction of God felt clear and in that way it wasn’t hard. At the same time, YES! My roots have grown fast here in Guatemala and it is super hard for me to uproot. My friends and family in the states are super excited for me to come home after being gone for 4 years, but my heart is sad to leave Guatemala and my friends here and I feel bad not to be excited to head back to the states. But I know God is faithful and has a plan for me and for all those around me.

I think one of the things that makes it harder is the reality we’ve faced in this last year of how uncertain life is. So quickly things can change and travel can be shut down or highly complicated. It makes going so much harder because of the uncertainty of being able to return. At this point, I am hoping to be able to return to Guatemala. I’m not looking at this as moving, but rather as a time away from home. A sabbatical of sorts. We will see how the Lord leads.

I would definitely appreciate your prayers as I try to mentally change gears. It’s hard because I want to live my last couple months here to the full, but it’s hard not to pull back as I mentally prepare myself for leaving. One of the things that looks very big to me right now is what am I going to do for a vehicle in the States? I’m trying to trust, because I know that this is of God, so He will provide. But those of you that know me know I have a tendency toward anxiety in these matters. I think God wants to take me to new levels of trust. I remember when I made the decision to quit teaching school in Colorado I felt like I was taking a jump off a cliff without being able to see the next landing place. (Read here about that.) I didn’t know what the Lord had next for my life. I felt like a crazy person when people asked what I was planning to do and I said I didn’t know. That’s kinda how I feel now. That to people looking on, my leaving Guatemala to go teach school in the states makes no sense. But you know, that’s ok. God said the world won’t understand us. Sometimes even other Christians won’t understand us. We will look like crazy people when we follow God. And that’s okay. What’s important is that we do what God asks of us.

I haven’t bought my ticket yet, so don’t have an exact leaving date, but it feels like time is very quickly winding down. My current visa runs out next week so I need to do something about that. I would appreciate your prayers that I could get that taken care of without a hassle. Also you can pray that I would be able to find a good ticket. I don’t enjoy trying to ticket shop under pressure. ☹

Another prayer request would be that God would provide Holly with the help that she needs. We know that God’s hand is in this and He is able to provide, but it feels like there are a lot of pieces that need to come together.

Mostly, pray that I would have the strength to continue trusting God and sharing His love wherever He leads me! Pray that I could be filled with His joy and peace in this turbulent time of change.

Thanks to each of you for your support in my journey! I am blessed to have each one of you in my life!

May God bless!

-Rachel V. Martin