A Letter from Amanda Craft in Guatemala
Job 11:15-18: “Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure, and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will have confidence, because there is hope; you will be protected and take your rest in safety” (New Revised Standard Version).
It was getting late into the night, and I could not understand why the women were dragging business out this late. I was exhausted from hosting them and, honestly, I needed sleep. But there they were, sharing experiences that were off point and seemingly unaffected by the hour. As I finally turned in that night, I thought maybe it was just a desire to stay in Antigua and venture out the next day to see some of the Lenten activities. The next morning, however, explained everything.
The women had pushed the meeting so long so that no one would head home because they were to throw a baby shower for me the next morning. Yes, I am pregnant with our second child, and since I will be back in the United States for itineration assignment during much of my pregnancy, the leadership of the Unión Sinódica wanted to have a chance to celebrate this new blessing with me. This was an unexpected gift. One thing I enjoy about Guatemalan women is their connection to motherhood and childbearing. It is still assumed culturally that as a woman you will have children. Children are a sign of God’s blessing. So these women have a rich tradition and experience when it comes to bearing and raising children. As part of the baby shower they offered countless suggestions and advice on this coming child. All of which was very helpful. But two things stuck with me most strongly: (1) this child is God’s gift and blessing to me and my family and God has known this child long before conception, and (2) Hermana Berta shared the above Scripture from Job, saying that no matter how long, hard or scary labor can be, I must remember that God is with me and will keep me and my child safe.
I have been so busy being a working mom that I had forgotten what a joy it is to welcome another child into this world. The leadership of the Unión Sinódica reminded me kindly of this unique right. This child is and will be loved by many beyond our family ties. This truly is a blessing! And, yes, labor is scary and hard, but I must remember that God is with me and will provide medical professionals and loved ones who will accompany me on that journey, and the finale cannot be more beautiful. So yet again the women have taught me another important lesson in my faith journey. And as my September 24th due date comes closer, I smile thinking of this life and gift that will soon be a part of our family. I also smile knowing I have many “sisters” who will help me along the way.
I will be back in the United States June–December 2012 for itineration assignment and would love to visit your church and presbytery. My maternity leave will run sometime from late September through early November. If a possible visit can be worked out, please let me know. I have much to share from these past few years in the mission field!
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 6
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