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Bethany Cok's Blog

Six months. 

If I look at a calendar, that’s the space of time between August and February. That’s how long I’ve lived in Guatemala. 180 days or 26 weeks or 4296 hours or however you prefer to count time.

I know that’s a bit ridiculous, but I think I’m resorting to over-the-top arithmetic because there’s so much I can’t count about the past six months. I can’t count the number of amazing, wonderful, Spirit-filled people I’ve met. I don’t know exactly how...

We sat in a circle of plastic chairs, enjoying a respite from the scorching Guatemalan sun in shade of a wooden building. Dogs and chickens ambled around the yard. Just outside of our circle of chairs, two boys were climbing a tree and laughing.

“How beautiful it is to live among the trees,” said one community member, looking around. Nods of assent traveled around the circle.

I was visiting San Juan Acul, a rural community of about 250 families in Northern Guatemala....

Ninety-six hours ago, I was gazing out my plane window, watching the city of Grand Rapids shrink to a cluster of lights in the distance.

I’m not usually very nostalgic, but I was going through a long list of goodbyes in my head: to friends and family, to the Grand Rapids coffee shops I’ve spent so much time in over these past four years, to Calvin College and my wonderful apartment and the music practice rooms.

I felt like I was flying...

I always have trouble writing “firsts.”

The first essay for a class, the first entry in a journal, the first post in a new blog… I’m excited about the start of something new, a clean page, but I can’t seem to turn off this nagging voice in the back of my head.

“Bethany, you’ll look back on this in a year and realize how woefully naïve you sound, how much you didn’t know, how wrong you were about so many things.”

And it’s...