Friday, September 17, 2010

Snapshots From a Camera-less Blogger

One of the best things about the Guatemala bloggers trip was the very talented and hilarious Compassion photographer, Keely Scott. She is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Not only did she provide professional quality photographs for our blog posts, but she also allowed everyone to put down their cameras and be fully present wherever we were. That was such a gift. I have a great camera but (A) I'm not very good at photography and (B) The thing weighs a ton and (C) I didn't want to worry about losing it.

Keely did a fabulous job capturing the moments with her camera. The day we spent in the dump, she had to hide the thing behind a large bag and I'm pretty sure most of the shots were taken from her hip. She had to beg and plead with our armed guards to even be able to do that. You can find Keely's blog here if you want to keep up with her adventures around the world.

I took a few mental snapshots since my camera didn't make the cut on my packing list.

The Storm

Lisa-Jo and I had eyed the empty row of the airplane's bulkhead and scurried over to it as soon as we knew everyone on the plane had claimed their seats. I felt a tiny ping of guilt about it but remembered that my total hours of travel delay had now reached something like five or six. Guilt be gone! Lisa-Jo is one of the most interesting (and warm and loving) people I've ever met and talking to her made the flight go by quickly.

As we approached Guatemala City, we started seeing flashes of light out the window. We peered out and saw a storm system that was nothing short of massive and terrifying. The cloud mass was enormous. Every other second it was illuminated by lightning. We were above it and to the side, otherwise I would have been curled up in the fetal position and sucking my thumb. We seemed to be a safe distance away, so I just enjoyed the awesome display of God's glory. Above the storm clouds was the wide open night sky, stars twinkling peacefully. The storm system was honestly one of the most powerful and awe-inspiring things I've ever seen. I can't wrap my mind around how mighty our God is if something He created can make me tremble so.

Then I noticed a much smaller storm mass down to my right. The lightning within it was just as frequent as the bigger storm, only the light was red. It was so bizarre. The red storm would have been intimidating if the huge white storm was not also there filling our gaze.

Into the mental file it went. I felt that God wanted to show me that even though the kingdom of darkness is scary and powerful, the kingdom of God is incomparably greater. Every time I was tempted to feel hopeless about the evil and brokenness I saw in Guatemala, I went back to the visual reminder of the storms.

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18)

The Song

After the day we spent down in the dump, our team headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up, rest a bit, eat dinner, have a debriefing meeting, and blog our little hearts out. Patricia and I had found our groove in writing as much as we could before dinner so that we wouldn't have that panicky feeling afterward. The night before, I had written about Joy. It was a very fun and pleasant post to write. The post from the dump was the exact opposite. I was getting toward the end of it and was feeling very heavy and exasperated.

Then we heard music. Someone was playing the guitar. And singing! Shaun Groves' room was right across the hall and there was no question that it was him. The presence of his guitar had been a tease all week long. He didn't bring it to play for us, but to have in case the songwriting bug bit him. We were finally hearing him play. In fact, we flung open our door so we could hear him better. The blessing came right on time. It had been a difficult and emotional day. I wish I could truly describe what this moment meant to me. My best attempt is to say it was like aloe-vera on a terrible sunburn.

Here's a video of the song, which, oddly enough, Dustin and Shaun shot in the hotel bathroom! If you expand the description you'll see the lyrics. Shaun also wrote a post about it here. Be blessed.


The Cooleys said...


I just had to comment on this post. Did you all happen to stay at the Vista Real? I would know that bathroom anywhere. I spent 3 months in Guatemala in the summer of 2004 working in orphanages. I met my husband there while he was on a mission trip and we later returned to Guatemala after we were married. I loved reading about how God touched you through your time there.


Little Steps Of Faith said...

You know I was listening to my ipod while in a plane before, it wasn't stormy, but picture this(and I know you can..), " Everything I do, I do it for you"...was playing...Check out the lyrics as I gazed outside the window:

I mean this song to me described musically God's was SO cool:)

Look into my eyes - you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart - search your soul
And when you find me there you'll search no more

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for
You know it's true
Everything I do - I do it for you

Look into your heart - you will find
There's nothin' there to hide
Take me as I am - take my life
I would give it all - I would sacrifice

Don't tell me it's not worth fightin' for
I can't help it - there's nothin' I want more
Ya know it's true
Everything I do - I do it for you

There's no love - like your love
And no other - could give more love
There's nowhere - unless you're there
All the time - all the way

Oh - you can't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
I can't help it - there's nothin' I want more
I would fight for you - I'd lie for you
Walk the wire for you - ya I'd die for you

Ya know it's true
Everything I do - I do it for you

Laci said...

I have really enjoyed your Compassion posts. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Emily said...

Thanks for sharing your mental snapshots - such powerful moments! And that song is just beautiful!

Lisa-Jo Baker said...

Oh I love, love, love this idea - writing down the mental snapshots that we took away from the trip. And that storm, yes, I don't think even Keely's amazing skills could have done it justice. Thank you for the reminder. And the friendship. You were a blessing to me on that trip and I am so grateful to call you friend!


Deidre said...

Wow, Amanda. That song. I am a fan.

Patty Patterson said...

This is beautiful!

And - your heart for missions is contagious! I am considering sponsoring a child now and if I do, I would love to actually get to go and visit! I've got to check out that Compassion link!

Kim Safina said...


Enjoyed the post. LOVE the LOCATION of where music is being performed. giggle giggle!!!

katiegfromtennessee said...

Hey Amanda, this totally does it for me, I love guitar and voice singing, it blesses me to no end! Thankyou for sharing it, and thanks to Shaun too for sharing it with us.

Love in HIM, ((HUGS)), Blessings to you,

I almost forgot to mention, there is a Meredith Andrews cd that I just listened too i think it was on Friday, but it was about when Meredith went to an orphanage in Haiti, and it is on her second cd, um, it is entitled "as long as it takes" and the song is called, "what it means to love". I think you would love it too.


Krista said...

I watched that song when Shaun posted it, but I didn't know I could read the lyrics, thanks. It really spoke to me last week when I heard it and I've been meaning to write about it... soon!

connorcolesmom said...

Your posts have touched me deeply. Thank you for sharing!
The song by Shaun was amazing!!

My family and I are reading through the book Window on the World by Daphne Spraggett. The book features a part of the world/people groups and how you can pray for each one. My boys have really been awaken to what the world holds - poverty, loneliness, pain, fear, hunger, sadness. They are able to see how God works in these areas through prayer. Thank you for reminding us about God's people in Guatemala - we are so blessed here in America that I honestly don't think I ever should have a reason to complain about anything!
Much love