Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A lot of Words for Someone Who Claims to be at a Loss for Words

I have been avoiding blogging about Guatemala because I feel like I don't have enough words to express my heart for that country, the people I served with, and the faithful God who met us all there.  The fact that I, Chesney Crouch, feel out of words, should indicate just how full my heart is.

These pictures will absolutely not do this trip justice, but I will share them anyways.

This is the courtyard behind the hostel that we stayed in while in Guatemala City.  If I could meet face to face with Jesus anywhere, I think this is the place I would choose.  In the evenings we all worshiped here together.  A huge thanks to Davis Corley for leading us into the throne room.  I believe God was glorified in our worship-both the singing and the sharing of hearts.  

Meet Sam. We went everywhere together. You think I am kidding... 

Lisa Ivans.  Here is one of the places that I am at a loss for words.  All I can say is Jesus, PLEASE bless her a hundred fold for all she has poured out to me, my friends, and countless girls before us.  Lisa, I don't think you'll know how much you have done for His Kingdom until you get there.  

This my friends, is a headless cricket that I found as I was pulling bobby pins out of my hair.  I never found the head. Seriously. 

Guatemala has the best toads. Just sayin'.

Our team of 22 Americans had the privilege of working with an amazing group of Guatemalan brothers and sisters.  This is Josue, one of those amazing Guatemalan brothers.  He loves Jesus with His whole heart and I cannot wait to see how God uses him to share His love with Guatemala.  

Lisa and two of her girls :)

Each day we rode 2.5 hours in the back of pick up trucks into the villages where we worked.  When Lisa told us we would be spending 5 hours round trip driving each day, I almost cried, but riding in the back of those trucks was maybe my favorite part of the whole trip.  And that is only a slight exaggeration.  Each day when we arrived in the village Dr. Tito, our Guatemalan leader, shared from his heart to strengthen and encourage us for the day.  Every time Dr. Tito shared with us, I cried.  His heart for the LORD Jesus is simply stunning.  He called us to just love the people we were serving with the love of God in our hearts.  He didn't make anything complicated or about anyone other than Jesus Christ.  Dr. Tito, thank you for directing us to just simply love.
And Makko! I wish I could put the picture of me, you (and Jesus) up here but it is not on my camera.  Words can't express how thankful I am for your leadership. I saw Jesus in so many things that you did.  You helped make everything that the Lord wanted to accomplish through us possible. Thanks also for letting us sing so loud while you drove us to Tikal! :)

Madelyn.  You, my sister, have a beautiful heart and it was so evident while you were loving on all those kids.  

I am so amazed by the sovereignty of God.  He knows everyone. In the whole world. Perfectly.  He deeply longs for and loves each Guatemalan child that ran out of their home to wave at the gringos and each one that we played with.  That blows my mind. He's so good.

hot: (adj). playing duck duck goose in Guatemala.

Kaylor-I was so amazed by your heart to come out in the heat and play with all our beautiful friends even though you were sick.  That is what Jesus would have done, and I know those little girls felt loved and Jesus felt proud!

He knows her.

Savannah saw this sweet little man running around with a stuffed animal that she brought from her house.  I love that she was able to see the precious face that gets to enjoy her old toy! What a gift.  

Mr. Paul, your leadership on this trip was incredible. You have such a beautiful...daughter...I mean, spirit.  (I still can't think about that prayer without laughing.) Seriously though, we are all so thankful for your spiritual leadership.    

Jake, thanks for helping me out with my distance measurements, helping Sam make it through several flights, letting me win our swimming competition, and offering your Christ exalting thoughts on several occasions.  I'm still thinking about some of the things you said and I know Jesus is honored by your heart for Him. 
And Drew, since you are in this picture too, thanks for letting me be your mother for the week.  I loved making you peanut butter and jelly and telling you what to do.  

This is China.  I wish I had pictures of every single Guatemalan and American on our team and if I did I would probably need to do a long blog post about each one in order to express the beauty of the intense love they have for our Jesus.  China had a bracelet that she wore which said "Jesus no es religion, El es vida!" (Jesus is not religion, He is life!) In the few days I spent with China, I could tell she lives that.  Jesus is not just religion to her, He is her life.  

Ivette!  Thank you for all the translating you did for Sam, Madelyn, and I with those beloved teenage girls and also with the little ones.  Also, when I think about our prayer times in the evenings I remember the beautiful sound of you whispering a prayer to our Savior in Spanish while other prayers were being spoken in English.  The realization that He is God over every nation and tongue that covers the earth deepened my affection for Him.  Your heart for Jesus is incredible.

Peter, here it is in writing: Thank you for saving Sam's life...literally...on our way up the mountain the first day.  We will never know if she was really scared or just wanted to hold your hand, but she would have fallen out without you, so thanks. :) 

3 hours of sweat producing work + 1 dusty ride home = 4 very dirty roommates.  Savannah, Chelsey, and Sam, you ladies were a joy to room with.  I don't think we had one quiet minute. Literally. 

My beautiful American sisters.  I saw Jesus glorified in each one of your lives in various ways while we were in Guatemala, and I can't explain how precious that was to see.  He is honored by you ladies.  

Ashely.  You are on my list of Top 10 Favorite people on the planet (Ok, so practically everyone I meet is on that list), BUT you are pretty high on that list.  You are a joy to be around and you were very receptive to my call for you to marry Justin.  Some girls might have freaked out, but not you.  You jumped right into the engagement pictures, the vow discussions, and listened to all the scripture I had to back up your pending marriage.  I'm only sorry we didn't get the whole thing taken care of Monday.  Guess I'll just have to come back.

But seriously, Justin and Ashley, you two are amazing (even if you don't listen to me and marry each other).  Watching you guys serve the Lord was so fun, and I KNOW He is honored by all you are doing there.  

Chris! Every time I type your name I type Christ because the "t" just comes so naturally after "Chris".  I smile though, because He is so clearly in you and loved by you.  You made this delightful trip to Guatemala possible, and for that I am so thankful.  Thank you for all you have poured into us and shared from God's precious Word these past couple of years.  He is blessed and so are we.  

I told you.  I love Guatemalan frogs.

I feel like the picture above doesn't even need a caption.  So instead of trying to explain why Madelyn is lying on the sidewalk on her way to night time worship I will talk about that worship time.  I think Josue said it best when He said, "It is wonderful to come together and worship One God, the ONLY God." Wonderful is right.    

"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" 11And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.""

Revelation 7:9-12  (Not to be confused with Revelation chapter 9 or 12, Jake and Peter)

When I look back on this time in Guatemala, that is the scripture I will remember.  Oh, How my heart rejoices at the thought of every nation, tribe, people, and language giving Him the glory He deserves and how my heart thanks Him for the opportunity to feel a piece of that during my time in Guatemala.  We are one body unified Christ Jesus our Lord, brought together under one Father, knit together with deep love from Him and for Him.  May He be glorified in the unity of the Church.

At this point only half of the people who started reading this post are still interested because I am saying way too much, but my heart is still overflowing.  Pictured below are even more of my beloved brothers and sisters.  I see hearts on FIRE for Jesus in each of them and I am so happy that I had the privilege of watching them love Him by missing a week of school to serve their own people in the mountains.  Friends, may He pour out blessing upon blessing on you as you serve Him.

Here is me trying to be as cool as Ivette ;)

Bev, my heart was so moved when you shared with us during our last worship time together.  Part of the reason I was crying so much was I was overwhelmed by how your words glorified Jesus.  You are so beautiful and I am so happy I got to hear from your beautiful heart.  

Gerson and Josue- I see evidence of Jesus Christ in both of your lives.  Your humble servant's hearts are amazing. I know God will use you two to do mighty things for His Kingdom and I am so happy to be your sister.

This is from the Mayan ruins we visited.  According to our tour guide we are just about to finish the "Thousand years of darkness" we are in and enter into the "Thousand years of lightness".  I just tried to ignore him and enjoy taking pictures with my friends because every time I listened to him I cried. Literally. Especially when he tried to tell us that the magnetic forces of the universe split the Red Sea for Moses.  Anyways, I am not going to waste anymore blog space on his words. 

Sam, Jake, and Maddie this is my favorite picture of the trip. Literally. Ok, not really, but I do love it because obviously you all three had a different idea of what the picture should look like.  Your different poses make me so happy. 

Pictured below from left to right: Tikal Survivor #1, Tikal Survivor #2, Tikal Survivor #3, and Tikal Survivor #4.  Ladies, it was an honor enduring spiders, scorpions, rain, and non existent lemurs with you.  I'm just glad we made it through the night with only a handful of freak outs. 

Ok, so just to catch any readers up who didn't get to experience Guatemala with our team this is before our flight from Tikal back to Guatemala city after four days of serving in the villages and two days touring Tikal.  I felt like I wanted to add this photo because I am glad I lived to tell about it.  Between the creepy child next to the four of us and the turbulence I wasn't sure if we were going to survive.  

This is my favorite staircase ever.  I may say lots of things are my favorite but I am pretty sure this is like my legit favorite.  Hence the picture.  I was unbelievably excited to stay with a Guatemalan host family Saturday night.  We had never met until I walked in their door at 11PM but I instantly loved them as sisters in Christ.  Can you tell my heart is thrilled by this whole Family in Jesus thing?! Because it is.

Some of my gorgeous friends at church.  

This sweet one latched onto Sam and I and we managed to cover all the basics with the Spanish we could speak.  We asked her name, age, and got the run down on who is in her family.  She has a precious little heart to match her precious little face and I can't wait to chat with her in heaven without a language barrier. 

The four of us braided our hair bangs back because according to Peter and Jake that is the best way for girls to wear their hair.  After all the lives they saved and bags they carried we decided to thank them...with our hair. It made sense at the time. 

Here are some of the most gorgeous ladies you'll ever meet.  Sequoyah since this is the first picture of you I have on here, I would just like to take this moment to say, YOU are incredible, and your heart to encourage others in their pursuit of our Big God is incredible. And deep down I know that you would never really hurt anyone with your bag of salted peanuts. ;) 

Antigua shopping buddies right there folks.  Thanks for translating for us Jake. 

Is anyone besides me totally exhausted?  And after all that, I still haven't fully expressed how much Jesus delighted my heart in Guatemala or how deeply I love each and EVERY Guatemalan and American on our team.  He is perfect.  Just absolutely perfect.  And I adore the fact that we are all one through the death and resurrection of our perfect Savior and our adoption into God's family.

With a heart so incredibly moved by His goodness I say to all my brothers and sisters that I had the delight of serving with, I love you deeply.  Let's keep adoring Him together.  He's so worth it. 


  1. What a beautiful recap of an amazing trip!!! I loved watching you embrace everything about the trip!! Your enthusiasm was contagious!! The trip wouldn't have been the same without you ..... or without any of the individuals that went - Guatemalan or gringo. I am beyond thankful that I got to share this experience as well as the last couple of years with you . I get way more from you guys than you will ever get from me. God's economy!!! I love you Chesney Crouch!!!

  2. Chesney, it makes my heart so happy that you had such an amazing trip! I love how much you love Jesus and see Him everywhere and in everyone. And I loved hearing about some of your trip the other night on our walk. :-)