>Reflections on my first day in Guatemala

>There’s so much I could say about yesterday’s travels in country. I could start with the beautiful land – the mountains, the active volcanoes,the lush countryside filled with every shade of green imaginable. Instead, I’ll share about some of my own reflections about what God is showing me.

1. Active obedience is what the Lord requires. It seems that the theme of the day was obedience. My devotions yesterday began in 1 Cor 2 as Paul describes the kind of Spirit we have received. I left thinking to myself, “how do I live more in tune with and dependent on, the Spirit?” The first pastor we met at the Compassion Project spoke about calling his church to greater obedience to the Lord. During the chapel, the preacher call the children to come to Jesus and be obedient to the Lord. Yesterday, my friend, Wayne, posted on my FB that all that matters is obedience to the Lord. I think there is a theme developing! It’s got me really thinking about how my family needs to be more actively obedient to the Lord in very concrete and tangible ways.

2. Racism is alive and well. It was a hard day in the sense of wrestling with the perceptions that as a Korean-American, I don’t look “American”. There were small, but impactful moments throughout the day where I felt the discrimation and attention of not being Caucasian, both from within my team and from the natives. I know that not one of them meant any ill intent by it. It was coming from a disregard and ignorance of what it’s like to not be white, yet American. In some sense, maybe that’s why it hurt? I think it’s when we are so ethnocentric that we don’t even consider that there might be other expressions, other life experiences, other ways to live – I’ll call this amicable racism. I spent the morning thinking about and processing these episodes, wrestling with my own flesh to not keep a record of wrongs, but also not to forget (or should I?)

3. God loves Guatemala and the church of Guatemala is a beautiful picture of new creation. After observing the Compassion program in Tecpan, Guatemala, and seeing the number of children impacted and influenced for the Gospel, I realized how foolish it was to think that the only way these kids would hear the Gospel is if an American team came and did VBS! Everyday there are lay people in this church pouring into the lives of these kids. On of the Compassion guys said it best, “it’s like having a VBS every week of the school year.” Yet these volunteers do it – day in and day out because they love their people and they love Jesus. After spending time at the project, we had dinner with three heads of the Compassion Guatemala (all natives). Although I was tired, I had the privilege of hearing a presentation about the history and unique needs and strengths of the Guatemalan church. They presented a portion from the Lausanne congress report that will be shared in October. My interest in global theology was reignited as I got to hear from leaders of the Guatemalan church about the unique expression of Christ that is Guatemalan. Unfortunately, combined with the dark lighting, long day, and full meal, I think I was the only one interested (even got a few comments about not asking any more questions).

So I continue to process. What I thought would be a challenge to social justice and compassion instead has been an inward reflection on obedience, identity, and Amerocentrism. I hope these thoughts will cause you to reflect as well.

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