Monday, January 16, 2006

Guyana - January, 2006

Greetings from Guyana!

Just a few years ago, if someone asked me about “migration”, I would have described geese flight patterns or giant bears that sleep for months at a time. My perspective has certainly changed! Today, if someone asked the same question, instead of speaking about animals, I would speak about people.

Last week I learned that one of my church members was migrating to the United States. The man was about to become the newest resident of New York City, and so, his extended family invited me to pray with him before his flight. I was honored to share in this experience with them, and as I sat in their house that afternoon, I was deeply overwhelmed by the wide-range of emotions. On the one hand, the family was extremely excited for the young man – for he was moving to a land of greater opportunity. But on the other hand, they were also deeply saddened – for they wondered when/if they would ever see him again. As I prayed in their living room and asked God to guide and strengthen his journey, I could feel the variety of feelings – happiness, sadness, excitement, fear, enthusiasm, anxiety, joy, and sorrow. It was a remarkable day.

During my time in Guyana, I have been given the honor of praying with a variety of people as they prepared to migrate. I have accompanied a significant amount of Guyanese through this process, and each time I do, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be an American citizen. Throughout my childhood I was provided with numerous freedoms and opportunities that many people around the world only dream of. I have spent a lifetime enjoying freedom of speech, various employment opportunities, competent doctors and social servants – and of course, the freedom to worship God without fear from neighbors or threat from the governing authorities. Each year thousands of people from around the world try to enter the United States and enjoy the same freedoms I was raised with, but only a small percentage are successful. And so, what I find amazing about all of this is that, what I was given freely at birth is something that numerous foreigners spend a lifetime trying to attain.

Here in Guyana, people often ask why I chose to move from the United States to Guyana, especially when most here wish to move from Guyana to the United States! Quite simply, I tell them that the best way to appreciate one’s blessings is to try and be a blessing to others. I am thankful for all I received while living in the United States, and so, I believe it is my responsibility to help create those same joys to the people of Guyana. Perhaps some day, instead of Guyanese thinking they have to migrate thousands of miles in order to find a better life, we may all work together to establish greater opportunities here in this land. It will not be easy, and it will not happen overnight – but if I have learned anything as a young pastor, I have learned that “with God all things are possible.”

This day and always, I pray that we all learn to appreciate the blessings that have been offered freely to us. And as we do, I pray that we all may give thanks for our blessings by being a blessing unto others.

“You cannot be all you can be, unless others are allowed to be all they can be.”

Thank you for your ongoing support. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

With peace and love,


Saturday, January 7, 2006

Jan. 7, 2006

The new year has now begun and with it has come quite the
event. I was able to go to the island of St.Lucia in the
Lesser Antilles eastern Carribean for a week with my
parents, younger brother and also my boyfriend Brian. It
was all the Carribean island life is said to be. It was
filled with beautiful blue waters, warm tropical breezes,
rainforest flowers and even hot springs from the islands
volconoes. Each night always brought a moonlit, starfilled,
beach stroll as we looked out upon the Bay filled with
rolling waves, boats of all sizes and ocean as far as the
eyes could see. Walking down the beach each night we found
our pant legs rolled up, sandals in hand and pleasant and
warm conversation as the waves lapped at our toes. One
picturesque evening Brian and I couldn't resist the calling
of the beach and the sound of the waves and went back out
to the beach to sit, look out into the water with our bare
feet tickling the sand and talk of how it was we got to the
place we were at that moment. From two kids growing up in
central Wisconsin, to different states in the US for
schooling and then he and I both ending up not once, but
twice in Guyana together; me with the Peace Corps and him
with Global Missions, it was almost surreal to be sitting
there. We were brought together as a couple once again and
as we reminised about all that had brought us to that
point, he asked me to be his wife and marry him as he
brought a ring out of his pocket and proposed. I accepted,
of course, and am now engaged to be married!!!! We are so
excited and couldn't write the story any better if we
tried. The island of St.Lucia and the Rodney Bay beach with
the sights and sounds filling our eyes and ears will
forever remain an imprint in our hearts....
All my love to you,
Kristen and Brian