This weekend was probably the hardest few days I’ve experianced so far in Guatemala. I was grumpy, irritable, lonely, tearful, and even feeling slightly suicidal. The cause? Culture Shock. Those two words held a whole new meaning this weekend. I was pushed to my emotional limits. It was a similar feeling to depression. It’s not that I’m not loving it here, it’s the fact that I was/am missing home and all the comfort it brings.
Culture shock is nothing like I had imagined. No matter how much I thought I had prepared, it still hit me hard. I think it also hit some of my fellow teammates as well. Guatemala is beautiful country that is nothing like the United States. I love it here, but I’m also grieved by a lot of what I see; the brokeness amidst the beauty. One thing that I have found to be true is this, not matter where I am, God is still there.
When I think about the struggle I’ve had this weekend, I like to compare it to my climb up the volcano Picya. I never thought I would be able to make it up. I was so out of shape and exahusted. I had to take it slowly with many breaks in between. The bright side though? I made it. Just like the volcano, I must approch culture shock the same way. Taking things slowly and taking many breaks. That involves spending time in The Word and with my community. I am now feeling better, not 100%, but a lot better than I was this weekend.
I was able to step outside of myself on Monday and Tuesday to serve in the schools in La Limonada. Seeing those childrens bright and smiling faces gave me the boost I needed to carry on. I’m sure I will still struggle with culture shock some, but I do know I have a perpose here. I know God brought me here for a reason and he’s using these hardships to refine me.
God is good, all the time and everywhere.