¡Hola! Bienvenido a Choctawk! It's Ashton here to throw it back to this summer and down to Guatemala!
Picture this: Her name was Petunia. She was old, tired, and hot. She was also a van.
A gutted, windowless eighteen passenger van, to be exact. My team of twenty five rode around Puerto Barrios, Guatemala in Petunia everyday for two months. We shared stories, laughter, and sweat in that van. Petunia is one sweet, now hilarious, part of my summer, but I'm not here to talk about a van, I'm here to tell you about the best summer of my life.
When I committed to spending my summer serving as a missionary in Guatemala, I don't know what I expected, but I can tell you that I couldn't have imagined my summer to look anything like it did. At training camp, one of our sessions was on expectations. It started by asking us what we expected out of the food, our time, our teammates, ourselves, and of God while we were in Guatemala. Looking at my notebook now and seeing what I wrote down in June in comparison to what I walked through during my time down there is very different.
One prime example of this is the food. In Guatemala, they live off of rice, beans, tortillas, and chicken. I wrote down, "different, weird" when asked what I expected of the food. No part of me imagined that I would eat as much rice as I did or skip meals because I hate the texture of re-fried beans. I definitely didn't think I would look forward to Sunday afternoons because of our traditional Sunday meal of chicken and rice or that I would eat corn flakes every morning (really, who would put corn flakes and Guatemala together?).
On a more serious note, I didn't expect The Lord to work in the ways that He did when I went down there. I knew He would do big things, I knew that I would change and grow and experience more of Him that ever before, but guys, I didn't expect that my trip would be half as wonderful as it was. I am so thankful that I had my eyes and heart open to what The Father was going to do, rather than living in a closed off box of my expectations. It would take me years to write about all He did during my time there, but if you're really interested, check out my personal blog.
A huge thing that I learned during the session at training camp is that when are set on something going one way, we often miss out on what it actually is. God puts us where we are for a reason, He walks us through different seasons to teach us different lessons. When we spend all of our time thinking about what we see wrong, we miss out on those vital lessons! Clinging to expectations is a waste of time and frustration. If I had clung to my expectations in Guatemala, I would have missed out on some of the best friendships, stories, and lessons that were such a huge part of not only my trip but also my life now. We have to live our lives reflecting who our Heavenly Father is and trusting in His perfect timing! He is our Creator, folks! He has much better things planned for us than we could ever expect!
Now I'm going to be that cheesy blogger who gives a way for you to apply what I learned in Guatemala to your life. It's simple, really; just crush your expectations! Surrender them to The Lord and have fun with where He has you! Expect nothing but goodness from our God who is nothing but good.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
almost Spanish speaker, forever rice and beans hater, sometimes hiker