What Next?

So, maybe most of you know by now what I am planning to do next, but this is for those of you who don’t; or those who would like to know some background.

For those of you who would rather not read a long, wordy post explaining all the details, here is the short version: I am moving to Guatemala.

For most of my life I have had family living in Guatemala. When I was 7 or 8, my parents went there to visit my dad’s brother’s family. Before they went Mom listened to Speedy Spanish tapes and used the Rosetta Stone Spanish program on the computer. I grew up hearing about Guatemala and desiring to learn Spanish.

When I entered high school, I signed up for the Spanish course with the thought in mind of going to Guatemala as a missionary someday. I got my passport in 2010? with hopes of going to visit my cousins in Guatemala, but that didn’t happen right away. But, finally, in 2013, my cousin Connie and I went for a 16 day visit. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with our cousins in Guatemala! We helped Holly around the house, visited the school one day, and spent some time at the clinic. We also got to go swimming, zip lining, and shopping. Benj told us we could move there whenever we were ready. Winking smile

Well, time went on and I wasn’t sure if God was actually calling me to Guatemala. Maybe that was my own plan and not what He had for  me. I decided not to push it. I had found my niche teaching school in Colorado. For the time being that was my mission field.

Then I decided it was time for a break from teaching. I tried, in my head at least, to have a plan laid before I said, “No.” I thought maybe I could stay in Colorado even if I wasn’t teaching.  I wanted to so badly!! Someone wondered why I would rather stay there than live in Virginia. I found it very hard to explain or put into words. Now I might be able to put it more into words. I felt like Colorado was where I truly found myself; where I could just be me and be liked for me. Not judged on how conservative I was or how well I could play sports or by what my family was like. I also love that there aren’t near as many people in the West. I love the wide open country, the beautiful mountains. It’s something I feel inside. I can’t really put it into words. But it is there nonetheless.

As is natural, when people found out I wasn’t teaching, they  wondered, “What are you going to do next?” My reply, “I don’t know yet, I am just waiting for God’s leading.” Sometimes I got tired of saying this. You know, most people have things more in order. They don’t just quit a job with no other job on the horizon.  I felt a little weird, but at the same time I was at peace with my decision. I knew God was leading. As the school year wound down, though, it was hard to still not know what was happening. I wanted to demand an answer from God but knew I could not. I knew He would reveal the plan in His own good time. But it was hard to have patience.

Things just didn’t seem to be working out for me to stay in Colorado, but I kept hoping, not really letting go of my desire. Then I heard of a mission opportunity. It seemed like maybe that was what I was supposed to be doing.  I prayed about it. I talked with people about it. I wasn’t sure about it, but it seemed like maybe God was opening a door. So, finally I checked into it. I kept praying. In the end, that did not work out, but it accomplished something for me. Through that, I was able to give up my desire to stay in Colorado.  So when I got asked to help my cousins in Guatemala I had already processed the thought of leaving Colorado. I still had to pray about it. Think about it. Ask people’s opinions. Find out more information. But in the end, I agreed to go. It felt so good to be able to tell people, “I am moving to Guatemala next.”

But then there came another question that posed a problem, “How long will you be there?” My answer, “Indefinitely.” Now, this does not mean I will be there forever. It just means I don’t know how long God will have a purpose for me there. I plan to be there until God leads me somewhere else.

And, as others have, you may be wondering, “What will you be doing there?” This is somewhat easier to answer. I will be helping my cousin Benj and his wife Holly and their 5 children. In Holly’s words, I will be her “personal assistant.”

People also wonder, “Are you excited about going?” This has been a little harder for me to answer. At first I was just getting out of school and trying to recover from that. Going to Guatemala was a distant happening that I had no strong feelings about. But, as the time draws nearer, Yes, I am excited. Excited and a bit apprehensive. I loved it there when I visited, but I know moving there will be different. I know it will present lots of challenges. Sometimes I wonder if I am up to that. But I know that I need stretched. That it will be good for me to get out of my comfortable little box.

So I have been trying to study some Spanish. Trying to get things in order here so I am ready to head to Guatemala the beginning of September. I feel like things are not coming together as quickly as I would like, but I am trying to not let all the things I want to get done pile up in my mind and weigh me down and stress me out. I am trying to stay calm and hand my problems to God. But if you don’t hear from me much the next while, don’t be surprised. I have a lot of things to get done and a lot of people to spend time with.

Another question I got tired of answering was, “When are you leaving for Guatemala?” I had to keep answering, “I don’t know. Maybe the end of August.” When I got asked to go to Guatemala, I told them that I was willing to go, but wanted a few months at home with my family. Some time to recuperate from the school year. A chance to catch my breath. And they graciously agreed. My summer has been fairly busy, but I have had some relaxing days. Some healing days. For which I am very grateful. I appreciate everyone’s prayers! I would ask for you continued prayer support as I go to Guatemala. I feel I have come to understand more about myself and how to deal with being overwhelmed, but I still covet your prayers! I decided when to go to Guatemala by when my cousins were coming for a short furlough. So once they had their tickets I had a more definite answer. I will be traveling back with them after they are in the States for a few weeks.

If you would like to do more than just pray for me, you can help support me financially while I am in Guatemala. If you are interested, you can email me at tropicslvr1992@gmail.com or my mom at kmsewsalot@gmail.com and we can give you more information about that.

Adios! Buenas noches!

-Raquel

P. S. 1 – I still hold a dream of possibly living in Colorado some day, but only God knows. Smile

P. S. 2 – Did I ever write a blog post about my visit to Guatemala? I’ll have to check. Anyway, here is a picture from my time there.

Guatemala 456

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Honesty, Stress, and Prayer

So, I almost didn’t write this post because I didn’t really want to admit my struggles in such a public way. And then I remembered my last blog post—about honesty. So I decided to be honest.

I am asking for your prayers as I face the next several weeks of school.

My work load at school was finally getting easier and I was excited about finishing out strong. I, being the organized firstborn that I am, had everything coming together very nicely for my class to get done with their work in perfect timing. Then, school ending date got moved up a week, throwing all my nicely laid plans awry. So now we have to do extra lessons and have a very full schedule to get done on time. I know my students can do it. I’m not worried about that. But what makes it hard is that I was finally getting on top of things and now I feel overwhelmed again. On top of teaching lessons and doing checking I have to plan something for ending program.

I had a wonderful Easter vacation, but already this afternoon and this evening I could feel the stress level building up. I try to tell myself to relax and give it over to God and just live one moment at a time rather than letting the stress of 3 weeks come all crashing on me right now; but it sounds much easier than it is.

So I would ask that you would pray for me as I go through each day. That I could just give it all to God and be able to enjoy these last weeks with my students without being taken under by stress. And if anyone is bored, come on to school and I will put you to work! Winking smile

One of these days hopefully I will have time for a more fun, upbeat post with some pictures. Smile

Buenas Noches!

Leap of Faith!

Here is a post from my Instagram a couple weeks ago.

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Let go, Let God

Although I know this is true, it is so hard to do. Pray for me that I could let go and trust God. I want to follow Him, but taking that leap of faith when you can’t see the landing is very scary. It’s hard to let go of the edge for fear of falling.

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For the past month or so I have been struggling with the question of whether I was to teach school again next year or not. Soon after Christmas I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t teach again and I had peace about that. But, that peace only last for a day or so before doubt began to arise. I thought, Well, maybe I’ll say I can teach if I have fewer grades. Because it felt scary to quit my job, which would mean I would have no job, no car, and no money. How could I get another job if I had no vehicle, but how could I pay for a vehicle if I had no job?

I continued to pray and seek God’s will; but I was still hanging on to the edge of the cliff, scared of what would happen if I let go. I thought, If I can just teach for even another year, I could buy a vehicle and pay it off and be set for another job.  And so it went. I felt like before I could quit one job, I had to have planned out what would happen next.

Finally it came to the third weekend in January—the weekend of our church’s deacon ordination. As I sat in church Sunday night I thought, If I could just take a lot and know one way or the other. Then it would be decided and I would just have to accept whichever answer it would be. Then we sang the song “I Surrender All.”

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All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
Refrain:
I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

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And I realized that maybe I hadn’t truly surrendered all to the Lord. I was trying to be in control rather than giving it over to Him. So I sat there and struggled through the service with this heavy on my mind.

The next morning in my devotions I read this statement: “Very often it is not until we let go and commit a situation into the Lord’s hands—perhaps fearing the worst—that God works it all out.” And I posted it to my Instagram and Facebook, asking for your prayers. The struggle was very real that day. The intensity gave me a major headache. But till the end of the day I had my answer. My answer to the school board would be “No.” The peace didn’t come right away. It wasn’t until the next day that I felt the peace of surrender. Thanks to all of y’all who were praying for me! I could feel your prayers strengthening me.

And, it wasn’t half as scary making that leap off the edge as I thought. The whole time I was clinging desperately to the edge of the cliff I didn’t have peace, but now I feel completely at peace. No, I still don’t have a vehicle; I still don’t know how I’m going to survive after my last paycheck. But I do know that God holds the future and I don’t have to see what is next. I’m excited to see what He has for me!

So, I would ask you to pray for me as I seek God’s will for my future.

Also I would ask for prayers for the school here and the need for an upper grade teacher. This is something else I have to give over to God. It is hard to entrust “my” children into someone else’s care. But knowing that God has led me to quit I know He can provide the teacher that they need.

Change of Plans

Right now I am really struggling. What over? A change of plans. I know it sounds absolutely silly. It makes me feel like a kid who cries when he doesn’t get his way.

I would say I’ve had a pretty good week. Although I was not feeling top-notch, things were going pretty smoothly. Today started out pretty well. I woke up feeling decently well and excited for the day. Then, just like that, someone stepped in and totally wrecked my plans.

At first, I wanted to strike back and say, “Don’t you realize other people besides you have plans? You’re being selfish! Don’t you know how hard I’ve worked at making MY plans?!” Then God convicted me. I realized that I needed to pray for that person. I have no idea what they are going through. They may be having a very tough time and need my prayers.

I also have to realize that God knew exactly what was going to happen and He made the choice to LET it happen. Knowing that, I want to submit to His perfect will. I want to allow this experience to help me grow, to help me learn to let go and enjoy where God is taking me.

God has really been working on me to just let go and give everything over to Him. But, I hold back, afraid of what will happen if I let go of what I know. It’s scary to make that leap of faith when you can’t see the landing point. It’s so easy for me to get stressed and depressed over my finances (or lack thereof), my job, lack of vehicle, etc. But, getting stressed over it sure doesn’t make life any easier. I’ve already tried that way and know it doesn’t work. I ended up physically hurting all due to stress; and I was in a dark place that I don’t want to go back to. I’ve been trying to let go and it is freeing, but I still have a long way to go.

I don’t know why today is so tough on me. Perhaps being physically worn down from not feeling well and crazy hormones. But whatever the case, I would just continue to seek your prays. I’m so blessed with many wonderful friends! I accept Hugs and Prayers at any time! Smile  And if you ever need someone to pray for you, please let me know. I would love to do that for you!

This was my inspiration this morning from my devotions about Joseph. “Even if you are in a pit today, God can still raise you up and do great things in you and through you!” –Joyce Meyer

When I realize what other people are going through, it makes me realize how small my problems are. And I ask myself, “Why am I getting upset over a minor change of plans, when some people are facing much more devastating, life-changing circumstances?” I would ask you to pray for my friend Sharla who has just found out that she has Stage 4 colon cancer. It is devastating to her family. Pray that they could have strength through this time, wisdom as they decide what treatment to pursue, and the peace of God as they rest in His will. 

February

Well, here it is already February and I haven’t done any posting. Sad smile Sometimes I debate whether I should even have a blog. Maybe with G+ and Facebook, I don’t need a blog to keep people updated. And I hardly ever email any more. It doesn’t help that I still haven’t recovered my gmail account. Sad smile I guess I need to set up a new one. For now I am using my Martin Photography account.

A big change in January was the passing of my Grandma Martin. We miss her, but are happy that she is now cancer free and living with Jesus. Her life is definitely an inspiration and challenge for me! So a week after being back in Colorado after Christmas break, I headed back to to VA for the funeral. It was fun to see my cousins that I haven’t seen for a long time.

Now I feel like I can catch up on some stuff here, but somehow I always have more than enough projects to do. Now you now why I don’t get around to posting. Between school stuff, sewing, family, youth, and exercising, there just doesn’t seem to be time to fit everything in.

Something exciting to look forward to is that 2 of my cousins are getting married this spring. Derek and his fiancée Angela are getting married May 20 and then Connie and her fiancé Lyle are getting married June 11. I’m especially excited because I get to be Connie’s maid of honor! Smile And Connie, Kendra, Beth, and I will all be together before the wedding!

So here are a few random photos to make the post a bit more interesting: my winter bulletin board, our house and the chicken barn in the snow, my class on wacky day, and a random babysitting pic.

And, if you think I should keep blogging, comment and let me know! Thanks!

End of 2015

Well, here we are to the end of 2015. And, no, I am not caught up with my blog. Sad smile I did not recover my email, so you can still remember that in your prayers. I feel like I almost know my password, but it just won’t quite come to me exactly. :/  But I have some more important prayer request than that. On the 17th of December Twila Wingard died of cancer. (I had written a bit about her in the spring.) She leaves behind a husband and two children age 9 and 6. (They attend our school.) So just remember them in their grief. Also, pray for my Grandma Martin who is dying of cancer. I value the time I am able to spend with her over this Christmas break, because I probably will not see her alive again. She has not been having pain with it, so that is very nice. She just continually grows weaker. We local Martins went in and sang for her on Christmas morning. Granddad wanted some Christmas songs, but she wanted us to sing all her funeral songs first. She still has some spunk. Smile 

I have been enjoying catching up with people while I am in Virginia over Christmas break. The first Sunday we had “Christmas at church.” This is when everyone brings gifts to hand out to the other people at church. I got candy, perfume, lotion, socks, and more. That evening was the Berea school program. I had not been to a VA school program since I moved to Colorado so that was special. And I got to talk to Audrey, Miriam, Janine, Sarah, Janell, and Nellie.  I was at Connie’s Wednesday night and Thursday. Friday we had our Martin Christmas dinner at Uncle Art’s. Saturday morning I went out for Breakfast and then shopping with Connie and Lyle and Josh and Clinton. Sunday I went down to Uncle Art’s for lunch since they were having some other of my friends over too. Then I stopped by Granddad’s on my way home. I look forward to spending more time with some of my friends this week.

And one more note: It has been unseasonably warm! In the 70s some days! And very rainy. Looks like I’m missing out on the cold and snow in Colorado. Minus all the rain, I do enjoy the warm weather. Smile 

Blessings to everyone, and a Happy New Year!

Rachel