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Izzy’s Morning Glory Story

by Elizabeth (Izzy) Mason

     Two weeks after my third trip to Morning Glory and I am still processing all of the amazing things that happened. Getting on the plane home required a strength I wasn’t even sure I possessed, and it was hands down one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It’s hard to explain Morning Glory in words, let alone into one long flowing story. Morning Glory’s Story is comprised of so many chapters and paragraphs and sentences from so many authors, and I have been so blessed to get to be a part of that.

When Words Fail

      Before my first trip to Morning Glory, I was worried that my lack of Spanish was going to make it impossible for me to connect with the children and staff. After this trip, my Spanish is a little better, but I now know that words aren’t everything. Not even close. There is so much more to connecting than just the words that you speak. Most of the connection comes from how you make them feel.
I spent a lot of hours in bible class during the last month I was there. I hadn’t spent much time there in my previous trips, and I now wish that I had.  I learned really quickly that I had found the one place where my serious lack of Spanish wasn’t even an issue.
The students can feel the love of God without always understanding the words. I know because I now know some songs in Spanish better than I know them in English, and I could feel the songs even if I couldn’t understand some of the words. The students don’t always understand what some group members are saying to them, or what the words to their prayers are, but here’s what they do know: There are people praying for them. Someone is hugging them and focused on them and loving them. Portraying the love of God is just as much about actions as it is about words, and usually more so.  “Dear children, let us love not with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

God Versus Stubbornness

When I’m at home working in schools, I have this habit of focusing solely on the littlest kids in Pre-K through maybe 4th grade.  I have always had the hardest time connecting to older students, especially the ones in middle school grades. Apparently, God needed me to change that. I’ve always heard that I shouldn’t tell God what I’m not going to do because He will laugh and make me do exactly that.  Well, it’s true.  I fell in love with students that were well outside my comfort zone, and I know God had a lot to do with that. He filled my heart with more joy and love than I could have ever imagined.
I wasn’t sure how to build relationships with older students. The little ones are cute and eager to please and fairly understanding when you mess up on Spanish. They’re content with being pushed on the swing. The older ones are a challenge for me, but they are in need of just as much love and attention as the younger ones and sometimes even more. Fortunately, God helped me out with this and I definitely needed A LOT of help. I wasn’t perfect at it. I struggled and at first. I spent quite a bit of time wondering why He needed me to do this. I was stubborn and more than a little bit resistant, but I slowly learned to just roll with it because I knew there was reason He was not-so-gently nudging me down this particular path. I won’t ever be perfect, but over the course of this summer I have learned that I don’t have to be because God will always amplify the good and fill in for the things I lack. He’s here for all of the people at Morning Glory, and you can see it in the children.

I loved every minute of my time at Morning Glory. Even the early mornings, and I am about as far from a morning person as you can get. Morning Glory, and all of its authors, makes you want to get up and be there.






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     A wise woman once told me that when we learn to feed our faith, we starve our doubts. I had no idea that a year after taking this advice to heart and somewhat attempting to apply it to my life, God would plant me in Guatemala for the summer to intern at Morning Glory. In fact, if you would have told me a year ago that I would spend my summer teaching at a school in a third world country, I probably would have laughed in your face. By no means was teaching my forte or passion, nor was it something I felt qualified to do. So when this opportunity arose, I knew it had to be from God because it was something so far outside of my comfort zone I never would have brought it upon myself.

     And as I currently sit here and try to process the past few months, I have to admit that nothing could have prepared me for this summer. I stepped into this internship expecting the unexpected, but even still I was surprised. I was shocked at how this little community invited me into their lives and made me one of their own. They gave me the gift of hospitality in a world where we struggle to invite people in. I quickly discovered that even the most simple things such as playing with the kids at recess or praying with them in Bible class brought me more joy than I ever could have imagined. Even hopping onto a crowded school bus each morning made me so excited because it meant I had extra time to get to know a new face and hear a new story. And it was through the sharing of everyday life with these kiddos that God worked on my heart and revealed a little bit of Himself to me.

     Perhaps the greatest thing I was able to experience this summer was the way in which God speaks through the stories and lives of each and every person. I learned that there are no insignificant people to Him; no one with a story too small. Instead, God uses each and every one of us to communicate a little bit about who He is. God is constantly telling His story through His people. At times when we face fear or feel alone, God speaks. In the midst of trials or in the presence of joy, He speaks. He can be heard in the lives of those who have nothing and those who have everything, He has a voice. God uses the handyman at school and the woman who sells fruit in the market. He is part of the story of the math teacher and the orphan down the street. Even through the lives of these school children, God is speaking and His story is being told. He does not stand by with anxious and unsovereign hands as we live our lives and fend for ourselves. Rather, His glory and presence is being revealed through His creation each and every day.

     In 1 Kings 19 you find Elijah, a man of noble courage who has defeated armies of people, hiding in a cave while fearing for his life. In the midst of Elijah’s fear, God intervenes and speaks to him. He commands Elijah to come out of hiding and stand on the top of a mountain as He, the Living God, is about to pass by. As Elijah stands on this humungous mountain, a powerful wind tears the mountains apart and shatters the surrounding rocks. But, the Lord was not in that wind. After the wind there was a terrible earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord did not reveal Himself in that fire. But, after the fire came a gentle whisper. And there, in the gentle whisper, God revealed Himself to Elijah.

As I read through the story of Elijah, I realized that Elijah is me. There were many times this summer where God had to command me to come out of hiding and stand in His presence, times where I felt unequipped and unqualified to serve. I did not always know how to love these children even though they always seemed to know how to love me. But, when I finally opened my eyes I was able to experience a glimpse of the way God is whispering into and through the lives of the hundreds of students at Morning Glory. And it was in those very moments that my faith was fed and heaven felt a little closer to earth.