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My Response: Tina in Sacramento

My name is Tina Breshears. I’m 22 years old and recently returned to the states after serving for six months as a missionary in Guatemala City, where I had the pleasure of spending two weeks with the Athentikos team during the Guatemalan screenings of “Reparando.” I was first able to see “Reparando” when I snuck in to see it as part of a Christian convention (don’t tell anyone!) back in September or October and then many more times during the screenings with Athentikos in November 2010. I was first interested in seeing “Reparando” because a main part of the film focuses on La Limonada, the slums of Guatemala City, which is also where I worked during my time in Guatemala. I first got introduced to La Limonada through a trip that my US church takes every summer. We usually visit a number of ministries, but La Limonada really stuck out to me during that trip and God developed my heart for La Limonada in the months following. After some time, God really began to press on my heart the call to return and serve in La Limonda and, after completing my degree, I was able to return for my six-month stay.
 

 
My initial reaction after seeing the film was gratefulness that the unspoken stories are now being told, but also this sense of “there’s so much more to tell.” I think it’s hard to see something so personal on the screen before you – people you know, houses that you’ve visited, kids that you love – and not feel like something is missing. I struggle to express this without it coming off negatively, but please know that that is not my intention or my sentiment. Over the six months I spent in La Limonada, God grew an immense love in my heart for the community and its people and so seeing months of rich experience condensed into an hour of film just left me with the sense that, although the film is wonderful and the message it carries is so important, people are missing out on so much if they let it end there. I found it interesting, though, how my reaction, or feelings, about “Reparando” changed once returning back to the states. I found upon my return that it was very difficult to explain my experience to my friends and family. They would ask me how my trip went and I just wouldn’t know what to say to them because, like with my reaction to the film, I felt like I needed to have a three-hour conversation in order to answer their question thoroughly and that the two-sentence answer they were looking for just wouldn’t do. I became really grateful for the film because it allowed me to give my friends and family a glimpse at what life is like in the areas I worked in and also the ministries and people who are still there serving. It means so much to me that I can show them the film and have them know faces and homes rather than just the words and statistics that I could give them. One question I’ve been asked is whether or not the content of the film stirred me to a specific action. The answer to this question is interesting.. The content of the film did stir me to action… in a way. The November premiers had come when my time in Guatemala was winding down and I was preparing to say goodbye to the place and the people I had grown to love. Because there is such a strong message in “Reparando” calling people to action and because the places and stories told in the film are so close to my heart, it became really difficult to watch. The film sort of gave me a “second wind” in my desire to serve in Guatemala and to be a part of the great things that God is doing there. However, at a time when I was about to say goodbye and leave with no guarantee of returning, the desire for action it stirred in me felt more like a burden than a blessing. I had spent quite some time preparing myself to say goodbye and convincing myself that the timing was right for me to leave. Being around so much excitement over God’s work in Guatemala really reignited that fire to be there and to serve as God’s tool, which made it so much harder to leave.
During my time in Guatemala God worked more than I can express; actually, more than I even realize. I’ve been asked “How did God use your experience in Guatemala in your life?” and it’s really hard to answer that specifically because it’s still happening. During my six months there, God absolutely changed who I was. God really used my time there to take me apart and make a new creation out of me. Guatemala is so special to me because, for the first time in my life, I knew without a doubt that I was right where god wanted me doing exactly what He wanted me to do. He taught me how to live with my eyes completely on Him, not knowing my next steps. He taught me complete trust and surrender and, with that, complete blessing. And He really taught me how to give of myself. He showed me through the kids that I worked with how to pour my whole self out for others with no expectation of anything in return. He showed me what sacrificial giving of time, energy, and money looks like through the amazing examples of all of my Guatemalan friends and family who took such amazing care of me. That would have to be what I enjoyed most about my experience: people. I met and worked with people from so many parts of the spectrum and they all taught me something. I was surrounded with such special people on all sides; people who were so desperate for God, people who were lost, people who had more God in them than they knew. I learned the type of person I want to be.

And so, to answer the question of how God is repairing my life…
I had arrived in Guatemala a very broken and hurting person. God used every day of my experience to take me the tiniest bit further down His path of renewal and redemption. He showed me what true brokenness is and that joy and brokenness can go hand-in-hand. God continues to bring me down that same path, now as a restored person. I still need God just as much as before and I still hold many, many imperfections. However, He has brought me to a place where I see the perfection in being His child and I rest in knowing that complete surrender to Him means being wholly repaired.