Mandy and Shane Fugate are central Florida missionaries with The Few Days Here, a ministry in Guatemala. Mandy is from Fort Ogden, Shane from Lake Placid. This is the second of a two-part interview. (thefewdayshere.com)
What is the experience like?
Mandy Fugate: “Every emotion all wrapped into one! Every day is different. Not one day has been the same as the day before. We are always on our toes. Most days we are exhausted and fall into bed with the most amazing sense of fulfillment and purpose. I am reminded of a slogan the Peace Corps used back when I was younger, but it fits and hope that I am not violating any trademarks. But this life truly is, ‘The toughest job you will ever love.’ But resting in the arms of our Lord and trusting that He is in control makes the truly hard things fade away. He carries us. On our good days and bad days. I wish that I could articulate what the experience truly is like, but I cannot. I simply will open the invitation to come, experience it for yourself. With true southern hospitality, I say, ‘The door is always open!’
Mandy: “Our major obstacle, in the beginning, was language. We moved with three words of Spanish—hola, adios and esta bien (hello, good-bye and OK). Let me just say that many a person has paid the price for our learning Spanish. Many words have been mispronounced and misused. To be honest, there are probably words that should never be used that we used inappropriately, without even knowing. To this, I am extremely apologetic and thankful ... for sweet, patient and helpful tutors, neighbors, and friends. With language relatively managed now, our more recent obstacles center around that we live in a bustling city with traffic that makes rush-hour Orlando look like a walk in the park. Every. Single. Day. Our children whom we care for come to us with severe traumatic histories. Every day is a new hurt revealed or a recessive manifestation come to the forefront for them, and for us as their adult caregivers. (Foster parents, child service workers and adoptive parents out there, I know that you know the depth of these words, and just how hard and rewarding the work is).
“The world orphan crisis is just that, WORLDWIDE. It is not a foreign or domestic problem. We all can see it, if we choose to open our eyes. It is everywhere. We are all called to it. Not all to Guatemala. Not all to foster or adopt. But do you know someone who is currently fostering or has adopted? How can you come alongside them? Cook a meal? Help with laundry? Babysit? Grocery shop? Stop by to check on a weary momma? All of these things matter. And only cost TIME. We are so grateful for our monthly supporters, for our prayer partners, for airline travelers that love on us here, and our family that love us when we are stateside. We are part of this worldwide movement—but so is each and every person that comes alongside us! To think that any one of us could do any of the big things alone is, well, faulty. We are the church. We are the body of Christ. When He urges us and we choose to respond, we see Him move in the most miraculous ways.
“The Guatemalan culture is a meltingpot seeped in Mayan and Catholic history. It is rich in family values ... and faith is valued. But the questions we pose here are the same as what we posed in Florida …’But do you know Jesus?’ ‘Do you know who He is?’ ‘Do you know that He died on a cross for you?’ To share the Great Commission in Spanish or in English is such a tremendous gift. All that we do is done in love. Not through force, judgment, or condemnation. To educate. To love. To be a living testament of God’s goodness and faithfulness. This is why we are here. We may be considered ‘missionaries in the field’ in Guatemala, but my mission field is not limited to Guatemalan soil. I believe that our mission fields are where He has placed us, in the time that He has placed us.
“So, how are received? We are received in the love that we give, we are building relationships. We are loving where He has us living! We hope that God will continue to increase His presence and faith in Him in the lives we touch through our efforts. When we moved to Guatemala, we realized that it was imperative to form a 501c3 nonprofit to correctly and ethically manage donations and contributions for our family ministry. So from this was birthed The Few Days Here, Inc.
“’Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’ (Psalm 90:12) The verse basically calls us to make every day count to the glory of our Lord. For us to be intentional. So this is how we try to spend every day. And every day we are reminded. We are only here for a short time, our lives go by so fast, how are we spending those precious days? Are we spending them glorifying our Lord and Savior or glorifying the world standard? So for the few days we are here … this is our family ministry verse.”
Advice for those following in your footsteps?
Mandy: “LOL! Do not follow in our footprints, make your own! Our story did not begin with the idea that we were working toward the goal of being missionaries or children’s home directors in Guatemala. Our story began with sinner hearts that submitted and sought the Will of the Lord. My advice, to anyone … pray. Surrender your will to align with the one true God. Pray that prayer of surrender, ask Him to let you want what He wants for you. And then let Him do the miraculous and walk out those steps in faith! Then we will all see His kingdom come, without the boundaries of our understanding, expectations, or limitations. Oh, this! This is bravery. This is the good stuff! This is the church rising up to take its place. We pray for the saints to rise. For fear to have no place at the table. For all to love without discrimination, judgment, or division. That we may all enjoy that life abundant that Jesus Christ died for us all to have. This, this is my advice, my prayer.”
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