Neely McLoed was sent by Connection Pointe to Guatemala in January to serve for 2 years in cross-cultural ministry. Affiliated with Commission to Every Nation (www.CTEN.org), Neely is a fluent Spanish speaker and has taken several mission trips in the past few years to support the work of Vision Trust. With a grasp of the language, good intro to culture, and existing relationships with Vision Trust Guatemala staff, she has contributed quickly to the work there. She also is involved in hosting Connection Pointe teams.
Enjoy this update from her.
Til next week,
HELLO FROM GUATEMALA!
How do I begin to capture the past few months? Since, you know, it’s been a while since I’ve dropped into y’all’s inboxes… Last week was Holy Week, so we had a break from classes and I soaked up solitude like a sponge. I had the opportunity to travel to a beautiful lake in Guate, but felt the invitation to silence and stillness and solitude, so I stayed back in the City. It was a sort of rest I’m not inclined to, but one that always renews me in a deep and satisfying way. It’s been refreshing.
As far as life and ministry goes, there’s no way I could begin to adequately capture all that I’ve seen and experienced and am learning, but I’m hoping to give y’all even just a little glimpse into things. Above anything, know that I daily see the fruit of your prayers, of your sacrifice, of your encouragement. I know you are with me and that means more than I can say.
Update 1: I bought a car and moved!
These two things were perhaps the longest and most tedious processes, but after months of waiting and lots of paperwork and random appointments, it all came together!
In the span of one week, I signed the lease for my apartment (faintly seen in the background of the photo with the rail I’m leaning over), got my car, moved in to my apartment, started college classes again, had some big changes to my job schedule, and welcomed my girl, Izzy, to Guatemala for the first time!
Safe to say it was a wild week. But, if anything, it reminded me that the Lord’s timing is always perfect.
Having Izzy here to help me settle into my new place and routine, and to accompany me on the mundane life errands like getting wifi sorted out made the transition easier.
All of these things came at the end of a few really, really hard and challenging weeks. I was still living with a host family, and as wonderful as they are, there was nothing in Guatemala that I could claim as my own, no space I could retreat to for solitude.
The mental toll that cultural and life transition can have is no joke – pile that on top of the spiritual implications of teaching in a spiritually dry and barren climate, I was weary.
Though that week of moving and transition was intense and SO busy, it broke the static discouragement I had been feeling and allowed for Holy Spirit to comfort and encourage me in new ways.
Update Two: I’m now teaching in Cruz Blanca!
Yes, you read that right! VisionTrust Guatemala (the organization I am working with here in Guate) has two learning centers. One in Los Verdes, Fraijanes, Guatemala- this is where my home church, Connection Pointe, supports and where teams come and serve. The other learning center is in Cruz Blanca, Sacatepequez, Guatemala. Both programs operate as tutoring spaces and a private school for the 7th/8th grade students; they have the same distance education partnership and operate on the same curriculum.
After I finally had a car, the directors asked if teaching in Cruz Blanca in addition to teaching in Los Verdes would be something I was up for. I hesitantly said yes, because I was fearful that adding something else to my schedule was going to overwhelm me. I’ve been honest about my boundaries and protective of the margin in my life, but after some conversations with the Lord and the directors, I felt confident that this was something I could say yes to.
Every Tuesday I drive to Mariela (education director)’s house and from there we carpool with Cris (in charge of sponsorship/team hosting) to the project in Cruz Blanca. Teaching at that learning center has sincerely been one of the biggest gifts to me. Getting to know the team of teachers and students has encouraged me and filled me with joy week after week.
A few years ago, I knew and could sense that there was something significant about Guatemala, but didn’t know how or when any of it would come to pass. There were moments where I would get into my car in Indy, and it was like for a few seconds I vividly saw that I was in another country, getting into my car on my way to do my normal life. It didn’t make much sense to me at the time, but I stored it in my heart nonetheless. Now, there are moments when I get into my car in the morning and am reminded of those glimpses of promise I saw years ago. If my eyes are fixed on Jesus, I don’t have to look hard to see His faithfulness. From my apartment to my car to the breath in my lungs, He has been so so very faithful.
Thank you for being a part of this. Thank you for praying for me and my people here. I am sending you my deepest gratitude and the biggest hug. I love y’all. I truly, sincerely do. Keep your eyes on Jesus; He’s been the sustainer this whole time, and that’s not about to change. The gospel is urgent and the resurrection of Jesus has just as much power today as it did when we celebrated it yesterday – let’s live as though we know the power that is within us is the very same power that raised Him from the grave!
Yay, Neely! Your joy and love for Jesus is contagious. <3
I find myself sitting here reading this post with a big smile. ( who can look at these pictures and not smile). Praising God for His work in Neely and through her as we continue to pray .
Thank you for sharing…..made my day!
Neely, Your enthusiasm is so contagious. What a gift to us and to Guatemala! – Teresa
Keep it up sister! Making changes in the lives of others!