Hello! Thanks for joining me on this journey to Guatemala. Many of you have known me for years, but for those who haven’t, let me give you a bit of background.
In 2008 when I was 14 years old, I went to Guatemala with Global Shore Opportunities (GSO). After that two-week trip I felt God impressing on my heart that I would be returning to Guatemala as a missionary. Anticipating my someday-return, I took Spanish classes in high school and university, and I chose to pursue nursing as a profession because those skills would be easily transferable if I ended up serving God in Guatemala. I did whatever I could to prepare myself, patiently. The next time I went to Guatemala was in 2012, again with GSO. They run a summer student discipleship program in Ontario/Guatemala and I was part of this program for 2 summers. I went back again in 2014 on my own for two months, and then in 2015 I went back to celebrate GSO’s school’s very first graduating class. I wanted to keep relationships strong there, in case I would work with GSO full time in the future.
In 2016 I started working at Alexandra Marine and General Hospital in Goderich, Ontario. Goderich is a small town and I chose to work in this particular hospital because I knew I would get a wide range of experience that I might not have received working in a larger city hospital. I work with moms and babies, post-ops, palliative patients, and general medical patients.
Before I started working in Goderich, I had found an internship opportunity in Guatemala with a midwife in a women’s health clinic. I decided that I would do the internship for 4 months (Fall 2016). I told the hospital this before I was hired, and they were very encouraging and supportive and held my job for me when I came back in January 2017.
My time in Guatemala was difficult, but I learned a lot. I did the internship primarily to learn how to manage pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care in a low-resource country. I am so grateful for the experience and what I learned! Although it was a stretching experience, my desire to return to work in the country as a missionary never waned.
In 2014 I met Hope for Home, a ministry run by Daryl and Wanda Fulp and their family. From the moment we met, I was incredibly impressed by their work with the poorest of the poor in Guatemala: orphans, children and adults with special needs. Their approach is dual-faceted: they facilitate family-based group homes, and they provide support to families in rural villages.
The Fulps have seen a pattern emerge during their 6 years in Guatemala: many, many special needs are caused by lack of skilled medical care during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. Guatemala has the highest birth rate in Central America, but it also has the highest infant mortality rate in Central America because only about 6% of women receive prenatal care before delivery.
When I was doing the internship at the midwifery clinic, I was regularly in touch with the Fulps…and they invited me to join Hope for Home to head up a new branch of their ministry- maternal care! The idea is to provide skilled medical care before, during, and after birth to prevent the occurrence of special needs; attack the problem by starting at the root.
This is an opportunity I have prayed for for years. It’s what I have felt a pull in my heart to do. But I never imagined that the opportunity would just be thrown in my lap like this! I expected to be older, married, and established with several years of hospital nursing experience under my belt.
But God doesn’t work like that. He plans our lives in his perfect timing, and invites us to join the incredible journey of bringing His heart to the hurting and the lost. He brings His strength into our weaknesses. He turns our weak ‘yes’ into something powerful. He transforms our imperfections into something He can use to bring glory to Himself.
When I was praying about my answer to the Fulps, I heard God ask me gently, “Would you do this for me? Would you let me use your hands to bring physical and spiritual healing to the lost? Would you sacrifice everything for My Name? Would you leave your family and culture and join My family in Guatemala? It will be a difficult sacrifice for you, but I will be with you the whole way. I will make a way in the wilderness, and I go before you. I choose YOU to partner with my work in Guatemala. Will you accept my invitation?”
I said yes. I’m throwing my weakness, my 1+ year of nursing experience, my imperfect Spanish tongue, my Canadian culture, and my dreams for my future, into His hands that are more than strong enough to take it all and transform it into something beautiful that will glorify Him.
I count it the highest privilege and honour to partner with God in His work in Guatemala.
Will you come along for the journey?