Every now and then we have those beautiful moments – moments when things just seem right. I remember one of those happened years ago at Timber Wolf Lake. I was talking to a 7th grade girl about her week at camp. Looking out over the beauty of camp, she said, “Things seem right here – like this piece of earth is being used exactly how God made it to be used. I wish it was always like that. But, often things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be.”
I was blown away by her insight and by the deep truth of her words and I think of that moment when I experience beauty – and when things seem a bit off.
Saturday I spent passing from off situation to off situation – things did not seem right. They didn’t seem like God intended them to be.
I had the privilege of joining Joel and Pablo and thousands of others of Guatemalans in a peaceful protest against Government corruption. The customs scandal has already forced the resignation of the Vice President, but people want more – they want accountability, justice, and for the government to clean up. My heart was broken over the injustice. The group “Soy 502” made signs that related the quantity of money stolen to harsh realities in Guatemala – with that money, the government could stock every national hospital with medicine and build two more. With that money, the government could pay the salary for 125,000 teacher for a year. With that money, the government could vaccinate all Guatemalan children under the age of 5. With that money, the government could fight malnutrition for a year and a half.
While the injustice brought me to tears, there were also signs of beauty in it. The protest was peaceful. The government allowed it to happen without responding with or inciting violence. Rich, poor, all skin colors were protesting together. National pride called for something more, something greater for Guatemala. I was humbled to be a part of it.
From the protest, we went to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese – a brief, fun respite, although Chuck E. is a bit creepy and the Skee Ball machine really should spit out more tickets.
Finally, we ended the night in zone 3 with a surprise “Despedida,” or going away party for Fito and Estela. As of May 15th, both ended their time on Young Life staff in Guatemala. I spent the last year watching my friends be hurt, walked over, and be under-appreciated. While I’m proud they stood up for themselves and left, my heart breaks for what they’ve been through and for the confusion this broken system has caused to kids. It did not have to happen.
The evening started off with one young woman looking Estela in the eye and saying, “I would be dead if it wasn’t for you and how God used you in my life.” The night continued – teenager after teenager thanking them for their work and wondering “why” it came to this and who would be looking out for them and their friends if it wasn’t Fito and Estela.
The evening was a beautiful testimony to how Fito and Estela have emptied themselves into these kids. They have given humbly, sacrificially, lovingly. While I know that God has control of the situation and plans for my dear friends and those precious teenagers, it breaks my heart that these beautiful souls, these relational, incarnational leaders, these wounded healers and Christ followers were brought to this point. This is not the way it’s supposed to be.
My prayer today is that God, in his graciousness and goodness, will intervene and restore countries, communities, organizations, lives to the way he created them to be. Please join me in praying for Guatemala, for Young Life in Guatemala, for Fito, for Estela, and for restoration of brokenness.