1 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you..."
It is not by chance that I have seen the world. It is by God’s wondrous plan for my life. He filled me with a strong love for languages, other cultures and an unquenchable thirst to know the kinds of people He has created so that I might learn and in turn, share His stories. I give all the glory to Him.
As I wandered over various terrains, God has used them to mirror events in my life. Some lands have been nurturing, with rolling green hills and coffee plantations like Colombia. My life seemed easy then. I climbed up the hills and dipped into the valleys, both literally and figuratively, each day as I took on the new task of educating children. Likewise, as I tried to master the language, Spanish words came toward me at dizzying speeds. I grabbed onto them, as if by clutching I could still their forward motion. But I couldn’t. As my vocabulary grew, the words slowed down, and took their proper place. My steps slowed. The slopes no longer frightened me. In fact, the more Spanish I learned, the better-equipped I felt to trek across the actual land and embrace God’s people.
The humble mountainous villages of Guatemala formed around lush rivers and included beautiful palm trees, rubber, tea and beetle nut plants, as well as verdant coconut groves. The land teemed with life; the breeze carried with it the fragrance of ripened fruit. During those visits God filled my life with richness of character and a sweetness of friendships. The Wycliffe Bible translators who I stayed with called the land they purposed to work in “God’s own Guatemala.” I could feel Him moving among the stoop-shouldered Indian tribes, the strong need for Him etched in the drawn lines of the burdened faces I encountered.
God prospered me during these years, not by filling my pocket with lots of money. That wasn't my intention. I made enough to live on and travel. Instead, He filled my senses - the smells of ripe pineapple, strong coffee, arepas con queso. My eyes took in people, and the countryside, the plazas, dirt roads, riverbanks, buses - all the cultural phenomena that leaves unforgettable memories in one's mind. I remember the soft feel of leather, the rough weaving of straw baskets, dirt roads under my feet, and rough woolen ponchos thrown over my shoulders in colder environments, and hands reaching out -- always hands of friendship. When I close my eyes, I can hear the beautiful melodious Spanish, the spoken word, music blaring, bus drivers calling out...oh the dialects! How I loved the tastes of platano, arroz con carne, caldos and so many exotic juices. How I valued my friendships! God gave me such an abundance of people who cared about me! He surely prospered me those years!