Who turned on the cold? We came home fully expecting to experience the beautiful spring weather we were hearing about...instead I am in my winter coat and scarf, thermal PJ's and actually contemplating wearing socks to bed (gross!). Ok, I am being dramatic and perhaps my tolerance for cold has been tweaked a bit by the warmth of Guatemala. I have to admit though that I am feeling seasonally disoriented since coming home. Unless I think a moment, my body and mind are convinced it is fall. You know, the feeling you get when you are convinced it is Friday, only to realize or be reminded that it is actually Thursday or, worse yet, Wednesday? This is the daily battle in my head...reminding myself of the month and the season, not just because of the weather but my seasonal clock is off or something....it is strange. I feel like I was in a time warp.
We have been back for a little over a week. We are thankful for having some time to enjoy our adult children and grandchildren and visiting our parents and siblings when their busy schedules allow. We enjoyed my grandmother's 82nd birthday celebration this weekend where we were able to visit with a lot of family members we haven't seen for quite a while!
Each time I come back from Guatemala, I tend to purge the closets and cupboards of "unneeded" items and experience a greater desire to "live simply so that others may simply live". As many of you know, I dislike shopping of any sort because it involves spending money and wasting time trying to decide if I really "NEED" the item. I am "cheap", as some call it, when it comes to purchasing "possessions". I call it resourceful and responsible...hahahaha! In general I try to keep items to a minimum and use them for a long long time until they wear out, no longer work or do not fit (or smell real bad in the case of footwear). When it comes to being generous with spending time or money on others, many view me as a little "crazy and overly generous". I call it trusting and faithful, it's God's money & time, not mine. This time as I begin the purge process, assessing all items as being essential or not has taken on a whole new perspective. The purge will have to take on the process of:
Step 1. it must go.
If the item is absolutely necessary, move to step 2
Step 2: Is it light and will it fit in a suitcase?
if No, proceed back to step 1.
Do you see where I am going with this?
For a few years Brad & I have been discussing, praying and mulling over the call to spend extended periods of time ministering in Guatemala (i am avoiding the words "move to"). I have been increasing my (and Brad's) time & frequency in Guatemala to try meeting the call & vision we have had placed in our hearts by God. This travel/ministry set up has been working in the past, however over the last year it has become clear to Brad and I that God is calling us to do more than can be accomplished in a 4 or 6 week trip a few times a year. He is also calling us to be ministering more together as a couple through Recycled Lives.
This past trip, as we prepared to serve, we went with the specific plan to pray and listen for God's clear will on what to do with our future and ministry together. We began the trip together with Kelly and Dave by attending a couple's intercessional prayer retreat to assist us through prayerfully seeking God's will and in listening for His voice among the often times deafening earthly pulls on our hearts. Following this retreat we spent the next 4 weeks continuing to pray and seeking God's guidance (and I admit I also spent a bit of that time wrestling with God and Brad over what we were hearing). Brad and I came to the decision the last week of being in Guatemala that we should take a look at a few pieces of property that would perhaps fit the vision we were given for living & ministering in Guatemala. After just a few houses we walked into what we believe will be our new home (away from home). A complete sense of peace was felt and the Holy Spirit was clearly there. With every step of the process, from talking to the owner about financing us, our financial limitations, our need to wait to buy, etc....nothing was a problem! The owner even began to cry when we explained to her afterward that our purpose for the home would be for serving God and His glory. She obviously has been praying not just to simply sell this home that she clearly built with love but that it would be sold to the perfect persons that would love it just the same and that it would serve a beautiful purpose. The home will allow us the ability to live simplistically while also having the space and set up to host mission teams. It will allow us the ability to minister in a variety of different ways outside of mission teams including housing/hosting families on vacations with a mission, prayer groups, small group bible studies and perhaps even students. We are excited for the possibilities to serve God with this home!
Brad and I will be spending the next few months preparing for this big transition by selling possessions and doing fundraising to help acquire the funds needed to complete the purchase and furnish the home for our first mission team that is scheduled to arrive less than 3 weeks after we purchase it! We are looking forward to spending time with family and friends before we leave to complete the purchase in October. We are asking that you would please continue to lift us up in prayer in all the needs that come with taking this step of faith. Further details will come in regards to the any help our family needs in making this transition. We are laying it all at God's feet and trusting Him no matter what (easier said than done of course!) Please contact us if God lays it on your heart to assist us in any certain way. As always, your words of encouragement are wonderful to hear!
Praising God for your answered prayers! Thanks for all of your love and support. We will keep you posted!
:) Shawn Johnson
Founder and Executive Director