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What's Carissa Up To? Part 1

Church member Carissa King is serving an internship in Guatemala with KidsAlive International, a Christian ministry that cares for the physical and spiritual needs of children who have been orphaned, abandoned, or mistreated. Below is part of the first of two letters from her. It introduces us to where she is and who she is working with. Next week we will post her second letter.

June 24, 2022

Hello friends,

I want to start by saying that I am so thankful for your presence in my life whether that be just a brief encounter at church or an intimate relationship during my life. Thank you for caring about my existence, that is truly something to be grateful for.

Now for the good stuff.

I arrived in Guatemala on May 29th. My first two weeks I spent at language school in the beautiful city of Antigua, Guatemala. I then moved to my new home for 6 months, a little apartment at Casa Ester in San Lucas Sacatepequez, Guatemala. Casa Ester is one branch of Kids Alive International’s ministry in Guatemala, which focuses on caring for girls who have been taken out of sexually abusive situations and giving them a new life defined by Christ’s love for them. Casa Ester provides a home for the girls who are 18 or older and are transitioning from living with full time care to being fully independent. While I’m here I will be leading devotionals for the girls as well as helping them develop life plans and setting attainable goals. My main role, however, (as everyone’s should be, I think) is to show them tangibly the love of Jesus Christ. …

So far during my time in Guatemala, I have felt the Lord’s presence so close to me. It seems the second I search for Him, He is right there, to encourage me, to comfort me, to gently remind me to surrender everything. He has been so faithful to provide for my needs, reminding me that He is my Shepherd and I lack nothing. He has also been patient and kind to remind me of the many things He has been teaching me in preparation for this journey and the continued ways he seeks to refine me in the coming season. The one most present on my heart currently is this: the Lord calls me to step into weakness. This past year, as I lead my two small groups at school, I was often reminded of this. When I had everything together, the perfect curriculum planned, my apartment clean, cookies baked, everything that makes me feel prepared and confident in my own work, that’s when my group fell flat. But when I was too busy, stressed, emotional, to prepare for my group and instead spent the little time I had to prepare, simply in prayer, relying solely on the Lord and his power, that is when my groups flourished. It was when I was open and honest with my own weakness, before God and my girls, that the Lord was truly able to do his work. I think this will continue to be essential for my work at Casa Ester. By no means do I feel prepared, comfortable, or confident in my ability to lead devotionals for girls of such varying developmental ages, who have been through more trauma than I can imagine, all in a second language, which I am constantly reminded I am not fluent in. :) I am however, confident in this: God is at work in this place and He has called me to be a part of that.

Friends, I challenge you all to consider how the Lord may be asking you to step into weakness. Too often, I think our pride and desire for control become our biggest barrier to ministry. And so, in this I ask for your prayer:

· that I may constantly lean on the Lord’s strength and not my own

· that the girls at Casa Ester would open their hearts to the love that Jesus offers them everyday

Peace and Blessings to you all!

Carissa King


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