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What is Carissa up To? Part 2

This week we have part two of what Carissa King is doing as an intern in Guatemala, and her spiritual insights on her experiences so far.

August 10, 2022

Hello dear friends!

The last month and a half has been crazy. As most of you know I spent 10 of my first 14 days at Casa Ester in quarantine with Covid. Unfortunately, after only a week out of quarantine one of the tías [literally aunt, house mother; the title all the female staff go by] tested positive followed by about half of the girls and we all went back into quarantine for 16 days. Thankfully I was still able to see the girls and say hi (from 6 feet apart, outside, with masks of course), but it definitely slowed down my relationship building here as well as my Spanish acquisition. However, I think the Lord really used that time to help the girls open up to me, just through being present. Ever since I've been out of quarantine, they've begun to share more with me about their past and current struggles and I'm back to getting a good 20 hugs a day.

The weeks since quarantine have been very full. One of the tías also quit and so I've been doing more supportive work around Casa Ester, mainly just watching the girls while the tías are in meetings or running errands. I have also begun to help with Wednesday night devotionals at Oasis, the 0-18 facility. …Through seeing more of the ministry, I have been able to understand better the context from which the girls at Casa Ester come. There is a notable difference between the spiritual dynamic I can feel and see at Oasis and that of Casa Ester. In a lot of ways, the girls at Casa Ester are in a harder spiritual situation. Most of them have no hope of being reunited with their family, they no longer have the psychological and spiritual support of Oasis, and they are in a place where they have to now make their own decisions about who God is to them and if they want to follow Him. Through observation, and many conversations with staff, we have concluded that it may be most helpful if I start up small groups with the girls as a supplemental space to talk about God outside of full group devotionals. I am hoping that these will become a safe place to ask questions that could help deepen/ build their relationship with God. These will probably start up within the next few weeks and I am excited to get to work with the girls in this new way.

Over the last month and a half God has been teaching me many things. I feel as though I am constantly learning more about His ways and how to surrender to them. I am ever reminded that the more secure I feel in my abilities and the situation around me, the less I seek after the Lord, and the less I seek after the Lord, the more things fall apart (especially when it comes to ministry). However, when I feel most confused, most helpless, it is in those times that I lean into the Lord most and see His fruit in my life. I was reminded of this one day last week when I had the opportunity to go to the rural community of Zapote and see the school KidsAlive partners with there. After having the pleasure of sitting and talking with the parents of one of the students there, in their home, I was struck by two things:

1. the extent of material poverty that the majority of Guatemalans face and

2. the incredible faith and gratitude that so often is shown by those who rely on the Lord for their every need.

Upon reflection about why these two things often accompany one another I was reminded that self-sufficiency is an idol that dominates our culture and one that I often become enslaved to. All of this reminded me of a time in my life not too long ago when the Lord turned the hardest season of my life into the most joyful. It was when I was too overwhelmed by the circumstances of my life to even get out of bed, that I learned to truly put my hope and trust in the gospel. In that season I had to find joy in the promise that no matter what happened in my life that day, that month, that year, that I get to spend an eternity in heaven with Jesus and choose to live in this joy every day. And yet I am aware that when the circumstances of my life have gotten easier, I have been quick to forget this truth and instead run back to my idol of self-sufficiency. It is my hope that in the next few months I will choose to put on joy, in both the hard times and the easy, always because I put my hope and trust in Jesus and not the temporary things that make up my everyday life. I invite you to join me in praying for this in my life and your own in the coming month. Perhaps take a minute (or thirty) to sit in Romans 12.

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." - Romans 12: 9- 13.

In the coming month...

Rejoice with me:

  1. that the Lord has given me a wonderful roommate for this last month

  2. that He is clearly at work here in my life, the lives of the staff, and the lives of the girls

Plead with me:

  1. for the Lord to open the hearts of the girls here to Him

  2. that I would be able to surrender my own plans and fully submit to His

  3. that He would provide me with community and protect me from loneliness in the coming months without a roommate

I am so thankful for you all!

Peace and Blessings to you all!

Carissa King


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