I have decided after a lot of prayers and discernment that I need to spend more time here in Guatemala. Shortly after I came down in January the position for Team Coordinator opened up which I have been helping cover while also working in the school as promised. About 2 weeks ago I officially accepted the position of Team Coordinator and committed to being here in Guatemala and working with Salud y Paz for a year. My plan is to come back to Guatemala the beginning of August and work with all of our mission teams we have coming in. We usually host about 25 mission teams every year that consist of rural medical, rural dental, surgery, and construction teams. I will serve as a host and go on the mission trips. Some work in Camanchaj and stay in Pana, so for those weeks I will still be staying at my apartment and just coming up to the clinic everyday with the team. However, most of our teams stay and work in other villages around Guatemala, so I will be traveling and spending the whole week away with the team. I keep thinking of it as a year of Workcamps and it makes me smile.
I am changing my flight to now come home the beginning of May for a benefit Salud Paz is giving in Houston on May 3rd. I am looking forward to joining the church staff again for the summer. I know I am blessed to be able to come home and have one last summer with our youth and my friends on staff. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is going to be to say goodbye to them and everyone I love at the church so much. The church has always been my second home and the thought of not spending everyday there makes me sad. However, I know I have to trust God and follow this path he lead me down. I now know that sending me here for a few months this spring and allowing me to come home for the summer was his way of easing me into this new adventure he put in front of me. I know I am only capable of doing this job because of how I was raised in the church. My family along with our church did a great job of instilling in me the importance of serving others. It also makes me smile when I receive compliments from team members on how I handle hard situations during our mission team trips and I know that I have been taught well through all of our Workcamps.
This was a really difficult decision for me to make because my dream growing up was always to work at the church like so many others in my family. It is hard for me to imagine that I am giving up my “dream job”, but I know in my heart that Guatemala is where I am called to be right now. I feel really strongly that God wants me to spend some time serving through him down here. I am not sure how long God plans to have me stay in Guatemala, but I do hope to find my way home to the church one day. I know it’s not realistic to think that I can leave for a year and then move home and pick up right where I left off which makes me worried about what I’ll do once my year is up. I know that at that time maybe I will know I need to be here longer or another opportunity may come up. I mean if you had asked me a year ago if I would ever give up my job at the church I would have said absolutely no and now look where I am.
This experience has taught me that you never know where life is going to take you and that you have to be open to where God wants to lead you. Following God down this path is absolutely going to take me out of my comfort zone, but even though that thought used to terrify me and still sometimes scares me I think it’s a good thing. I realized last week when my family was here that this is really the first time in my life that I have something that is all mine and not connected to my family. When my family came to Salud y Paz they were introduced as “Kelly’s family” and that is something I’ve never had before. I have always been “Beverly’s Daughter”, “Parker’s sister”, “Steve’s kid”, or “A Cragg grandkid” my entire life and it’s kind of a special feeling to have something that is entirely mine. Everyone down here just knows me as Kelly and not as a Cragg. This is hard for me to explain well because don’t get me wrong I adore my family, know I have been blessed with an amazingly supportive one that not everyone has, and love with all my heart being a Cragg. It is just nice to know I have made some true friends that love me for being me and not because of my family. I know I have that back home also, but it’s just a completely different feeling having your entire world only for you. I just reread this and I can tell it may not be coming out the way I want it to. Family: if you read this know that I don’t mean anything bad by it. I’m pretty sure you know how obsessed with our family I am. J
Anyways, If you have been reading my blog do you remember the day I talked about meeting with Wayne for coffee then walking down to the lake and catching up on my family phone calls? Well that was the day I committed for a year. I think I wrote at the end of the blog that it was a life changing day and now you know why. I decided to wait a couple of weeks to spread the news until after my family came to visit. My dad needed some time to work things out at the church and he did tell me when he was here that he wanted to wait and see if he needed to talk me out of staying. Luckily, they had a great trip and feel comfortable with my decision. I’m really so glad they got to come experience it because I feel like they now understand my decision more. Also I heard my dad say to my mom “maybe you could come back in the fall for a couple of weeks”. I’m looking forward to more fun visits from people I love!
So yesterday I walked to town to a coffee shop and wrote a letter to send Dr. Simmons (senior minister at my church) letting him know my news. I was that awkward girl who broke down crying to the point where a backpacker came over to sit by me and asked if I was ok. He was actually really sweet and gave me a bottle of water and told me a joke to make me smile. After I reminded myself that if I was writing a letter saying I was actually moving to Pana for a year I should pull myself together and not scare the locals I finished the letter and sent it off. I first sent it to my dad for him to read with a note saying that it made me cry to which he replied “Great letter. Made me cry also”. I know it is silly and that my family would be proud of me no matter what I do, but I kind of feel like I am letting them down making this decision. Like I should just stay at the church, and that I’m being selfish deciding to come back. It makes me sad to think that I won’t share an office with my dad anymore, or get to hang out with my mom who is retiring and would have lots of time to play next year, or getting to spend so much time with my grandfather since I lived with him. Not to mention that I have a cat whom (so when I typed who just now it underlined it and changed it to whom. Know that I’m not just trying to be fancy by using whom.) I’m pawning off to my parents for the year and a pup Toby (aka Tobias when he’s being fancy) who I adopted with Poppy before I came. I know it’s silly and that they love me and are proud of me (my family not my animals… They are probably just laying on the couch thinking everyday how I abandoned them), but it still makes me sad to think about all the things I’m going to be missing out on.
Today has been made up of me doing a little work stuff here in the school and spending a lot of time writing emails to different groups of people telling them the news. My dad told the youth staff my news this morning and then I sent them an email (similar to this blog… I’ve rewritten this letter about 10 times to different groups of people). I then sent one out to the family and then to my disciple group of high school girls back home. I am sick of writing this letter because it makes me tear up every time, but I will say I have been loving the responses. Everyone seams to be really supportive and not really surprised by this decision, which is comforting.
Tonight I am going to a movie night where I was told to bring English type foods. I think I’ll jump out of the car in town and pick up some English Breakfast Tea. Get it?? It’s English. I did look up how to make crumpets last night, but then quickly got discouraged by all the ingredients you have to have which you can’t find anywhere in Guatemala, so instead I just gave up and went to sleep.
Hope you enjoyed my news. Hopefully you’re not disappointed in it, but if you are you should just lie to me and tell me how supportive you are. Or else I’m going to turn back into that awkward girl crying and I think the cute backpacker cheerer upper dude was leaving for Honduras this morning.