My Guatemalan seed

In early May I was pulling out my pots to plant flowers and seeds. I had stored a couple of them in a closed antique trunk on the porch of my studio over the winter. When I opened the lid I found to my surprise a 12 inch tall walnut tree growing inside of the trunk. No light…no water since maybe November. The seed died there in the winter in darkness…yet still came to life in the spring!

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.

Psalms 139:7-12

In June, my son and I went to Guatemala on our first mission trip…it will not be our last! I had the honor of bringing the seed of the Gospel of Jesus’ love to share with children who had no idea who I was and most had never heard of Jesus.

We worked in a village called Tierra Negra…black earth. About 75 families lived in this village which had no electricity and the water was brought in about once every 3 weeks. It was located on a plantation of palm trees. The residents harvested the palm oil as their means of life.

This remote village consisted of crude homes, an empty church, two small one room schools, and a very small, empty “medical clinic”. Basically a wooden shack. In spite of their lack of many things we take for granted…they were the happiest people I have ever met.

*Kaeden is picture walking out of the “medical clinic” on the right.

We came to provide the finances for and assistance in digging footings, forming and pour the concrete footings for a new clinic.

We also came to share Jesus love through songs, stories, art projects and games. Being the first North Americans to ever be in this location was hard for me to comprehend. Coming from a world of instant everything, media and travel at my fingertips was a humbling experience for us all.

When the children at the school first saw us, they watched with curiosity as we approached…ducking into the doorway as we came closer. We were still met with smiles and giggles. It didn’t take long for them to warm up to us…especially the youth in our group.

They soon knew me as KoKo (my grandma name and often referred to as “Crazy KoKo” by my husband and kids).

But for them I was Señora Coco, the coconut.

We started the first of our three days there with a story about the farmer who sowed seeds. Some of the seeds grew in good nutrient rich soil (Matthew 13). The second day, I taught them that some of the seeds became mighty trees with roots that went deep to the living water and whose branches had green leaves that never withered in drought and produced baskets and baskets of fruit. (Jeremiah 17:8) Our third and final day we talked about the fruit that is produced from the seeds…which becomes evident in our lives by the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Each day, as I shared a very simple message I was met with more and more people from the village. The children sat around my feet looking at this crazy coconut lady with golden hair going everywhere.

The women lined around the back walls some with age etched around their eyes some not any older then the girls who came with us. Their babies nursing or sleeping in small portable hammocks…which they carried on their heads!

It was amazing how a simple box of crayons given to each child was a gift beyond measure to them. Seemingly unpractical for a place of such lack…wouldn’t something else be a more sensible gift? The “older” girls who were no longer in school joined right in, helping the littles with the art projects. (Sixth grade is the last year of school) I had a moment of overwhelming joy mixed with a few tears as I was facing the wall, drawing on a paper held up. I was showing them to draw a simple line across the paper, add circles along the line for seeds and then draw squiggly lines down for roots, finishing it off with flowers blooming. As I turned around in the midst of teaching each step, I was met with all these beautiful brown eyes and brown faces watching me and following along…just like you when I teach you to paint! But oh so far away from my familiar and comfortable place. It was incredible that I had this honor…it still makes me cry as I type this! Something so simple…but so impactful!

Each day we were there more people from the village were there. Even the young men gathered in the doorways and look through the glassless window panes as we shared. By the final day, all the men who were constructing the clinic came to see and listen.

My words were translated first into Spanish and then into Q’eqchi, it was easy to lose my place as I looked into the faces of the people who were just as fascinated with me as I was with them. A few times I was overwhelmed nearly to tears with the enormity of what was happening.

What a privilege I had just sharing a simple story..a seed planted. A simple art project with a new box of crayons, some glue and tissue paper. And a few songs and games. We had an amazing interpreter who taught songs with all the actions and everyone had so much fun with the games…not just the kids!

I have no doubt, just like the seed in my pot that this seed will one day emerge into a mighty tree…with roots that grow deep…and branches that bear fruit without fail.

Darkness is not dark to God…nothing limits His purpose. He will faithfully do the rest!

No matter how unfit, uncalled, unpolished and imperfect we think we are…we all carry seeds and we plant them everywhere we go, whether we know it or not. The kind of seeds we are planting matters. We are called to plant the seeds we carry…no matter where we are.

Leave a Reply