I was born in Ventura, California, and when I was four-years-old, my parents and I moved back to the small—but beautiful—Central-American country of Guatemala. The home/family life was characterized by traditional gender roles, hard work, and an honor/shame outlook on life.
My parents were, for the most part, good church attendees. I went along for the ride almost every day, if not every other day if there was a major obstacle, like a real emergency or a heavy storm. The early part of my childhood in Guatemala was all about going to school and learning Spanish, playing with marbles and trompos,  and of course, working with my father at the ranch.
I grew up feeding cattle, cutting zacate  with my father’s machete (because I was too young to have one of my own), and, wrestling with small calves, swinging their little horns while I used my body to bring them to the ground. Those were the good old days!
My dad and I moved back to the U.S. in 2001. The rest of family—mother and four, Guatemalan sisters—came along the following year. I was eleven-years-old when I moved to the U.S., where I experienced—as you can imagine—culture shock. Though I was born in the U.S., I knew nothing about its culture, ideology, and way of living. I remember how I gained some popularity among my fifth- and sixth-grade peers by playing futbol.
Middle school was a little better, as far speaking English and assimilating the American culture goes. High school was not the best, due to an apathetic, rebellious attitude, the influence of friends, and bad choices. All of this happened while still attending church with family. I acted as a good kid in front of other Christians, memorized Bible verses, and showed some passion. But underneath it all was a broken sinner in need of the grace of God.
It was not until God got a hold of my heart that I was awakened to His sovereignty, mercy, and unconditional, heart-warming love. The rest was history.
Things have changed since our time in Guatemala. I no longer wear tight, black denim jeans or a cowboy hat (thank goodness!) and neither does my dad. But on a more serious note, my family and I have experienced the grace and love of God in a whole new way, strengthening our relationships. In regards to the future, I would like to serve God in either full-time, pastoral ministry or the education system, or a combination of both.
My story is far from perfect. My story has been marked by physical pain (due to chronic illness), uncertainty, confusion, depression, frustration, discouragement, and doubt, just to name a few. But my story is a redeemed story. Why? Because my story is within a much-bigger, much-more-powerful, story—and that story is none other than the story of God, which gives my story meaning and purpose. It is to this biblical story that we will turn our attention to in the following posts.
 A whipping top, made out of wood, which is spun and launched by a string.
 Grass/hay/forage for cattle, horses, etc.