In previous posts written, I’ve talked about living in a foreign country, the differences we have, and this being a constant reminder that this earth isn’t our eternal home. However, there is a big part of me that wants to connect with these people without the barrier of culture and language. This year of language school has earnestly been spent helping make that more possible.
Recently, a very close Guatemalan family lost their grandmother. Her name was Martha, and she was so sweet. She died at the age of 82. During our time there we had numerous interactions with her through various visits and events. In our time together I could tell just how much she was treasured by her family, and that she lived life to the fullest. In our last interaction a month ago she touched my heart greatly. We’d been visiting the family for a birthday. Martha’s grandson cooked some traditional steaks, his girlfriend made some traditional salads, and we supplied the birthday cake. There was lots of laughing and plenty of conversation (of course with a sharp critique of the local soccer team as a topic). Martha’s son led the kids and adults in a game of BINGO. You wouldn’t believe how popular this game is in the capital. It was a great day to say the least! As we were leaving, I bent down to give her frail, small body a traditional kiss and a hug good-bye, and she announced to the family, “Now the real celebrating can begin!” The phrase puzzled me, and I thought something got lost in translation so I quickly looked around a someone. Everyone laughed, and her daughter told me that I didn’t miss anything she’d said to me. It was a common way for Guatemalans saying good-bye to endearing others at celebrations. In that moment, Martha was telling me, “You’re one of us.” Her words affirmed our place in her family, and in her country.
This past week when Martha passed away we paid our respects. When someone passes away here, their body is usually buried within 24 hours. Life stops for the entire family of the deceased spend all day and night grieving as visitors come to pay their respects. Jami and I went as soon as classes finished in the morning and spent a good portion of the afternoon with the family. From the visitors that came, we could tell that Martha was a very well-known well-liked and respected. We laughed once again with the family and cried as well as we remembered a life well-lived that was impactful. Her affirmation through simple words could never be repaid, and I am thankful that one day we will re-unite with her as a part of one people, with one heart, singing to THE KING who rules every nation.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support, and continuing to join us on this journey!
– Chad Bader
For more updates from Chad & Jami, follow them on their website www.greaterbyfar.com