There are some things in our lives that we have said we would never do or things that we would never want to do.
Well, I am here to warn you to never say them. I am living proof that God usually has other plans. I had said I would never teach school again because it just really wasn't my cup of tea. I had also never wanted to serve in Central or South America. It never attracted me. I hate heat, bugs, snakes, and many other things. So when I decided to come to Guatemala for a few weeks with my youth group, I never imagined 4 months later I would be committed for 2 years teaching school at a boy’s ranch way back in the jungle. No, it has not been easy. Actually, it has been one of the hardest things in my life but it has forever changed me. God has taught me so much throughout the past year and a half. I pray that I have been able to make just a small difference in my student’s lives and have been able to fill the gap for a little time. The children kept me going and brought so much joy to my life. They could make me smile and laugh like no one else could.
I am not quite sure how to describe my time here because there have been so many things that changed and people that came and went. So I will share a few little stories that I will take with me always.
“Teacher, I have to achoo!” he said excitedly. I wasn't exactly sure how to respond to that. A few minutes later the sneeze came out loudly. “Miss Kayla, I achooed!” he reported. These kinds of conversations happened very often. You never knew what would come up next.
One time last year we were having school like normal, when all of a sudden a goat comes bounding through the door and runs around the classroom. There were quite a few screams and such. Thank the Lord for older boys who act like a goat is no big deal.
Another time we had a visitor once more. This time it was Muñeca (a cow) who decided to make the concrete right in front of the school door her bed. Now, I did not grow up on a farm or even around animals. To say it was a new experience would be an understatement. No matter how much I yanked and pushed and yelled, she would not budge. However after a few hours, she found a new spot and for that I was very grateful. We actually kinda became friends. I could talk to her and she wouldn't talk back!
Or perhaps you would like to hear of the time when the ants invaded the school house or when we had to go without power and water for a couple days or when we were driving at night in the Toyota and a gigantic snake was stretching the whole length of the road! I have many, many events like this but the most important and special one to me happened one day after church. My student came up to me with a smiling face and told me he had accepted Jesus into his heart. With happy tears and a hug, I warmly told him how proud I was of him. It then hit me....this is what life is all about! To see a child's shining face from knowing his Savior and to see him growing in God. No matter what happens or happened everything is and was worth it. One life coming to know the Lord is worth all of our best efforts.
There are many things I will miss about this place: all the green things year around, the howler monkeys you hear every day, how close the river is, boat rides, how good a cold coke tastes when it is so hot you think you’re going to die, the loud chatty birds all day long, and all the people I have met and made memories with. My life will forever be changed by all of you and I have made friends for life.
I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.