Sunday, June 4th, 11:15 PM Sunday night Central Standard Time - San Cristobal:

We woke up this morning around 6:45 and had a good breakfast in the courtyard of the hostel.

We then walked over to Jewel Anita's church and met Ricardo the minister. The way Guatemalans greet each other at the church is a bit different than here. Men use a somewhat looser handshake than the Americans. Women greet by lightly grasping each other's forearm rather than a full handshake, and a man greets a woman with a hand-to-shoulder hand-to-shoulder open half-hug, .

Pete Finelli being Pete, providing an intro of sorts for our listening pleasure...
Two of the hymns from the church. The sound quality of the recording isn't great, but it gives a feel for the energy present.
the Spanish version of Majesty (3.8 MB)
...the earth will be full of your glory, as the waters cover the sea (2.0 MB)

We separated into two groups: the puppet show group gave a presentation for the kids...

...and the rest of us sat in on the adult study. We had a visiting gentleman talk about the need for missions and the need for the Guatemalan church to go out on international missions. His point was that people had been coming to Guatemala for years, and now it was time for Guatemala to go out to the world. Later, in the main service, Dr. Hall, Pete, and Bonnie gave testimony, translated courtesy of Jewel Anita.

Pastor Ricardo gave the main sermon, again talking about the need for missions within the church.

After Church, we then piled into two pickup trucks and went over to the house of Marta, one of the church's young adults.

The house had an elegant wooden interior, and a tiled indoor bathroom. Laundry is typically done by hand and air-dried. For lunch, we were served Pollo Acompanero, a local fast food fried chicken with french fries, and a choice of either Pepsi or Fanta orange. Marta also served a local drink called tamarind, which is somewhere flavor between an apricot and cantaloupe. I'm flattered they went to the expense of purchasing the chicken, but I wonder if it was because they didn't know if we would eat the foods they normally eat, and didn't want to embarass us.

We talked for an hour or so over lunch. Some of them were in high school, while others were attending the local branch universities. The university branches here cannot afford to run their own buildings and instead they share the same structures that the local high school uses. The high school meets Monday through Friday, and university classes are taught in the same buildings on Saturday. To support their education, students then work during the week. As a result, the only time available for the group to meet is Saturday night.

I was seated across from Larisa and next to Juan. Larisa is studying computers at the university. She is allowed two hours of time per week to use the computer lab at the high school / university for her studies. She has already mastered the basic Microsoft applications suite: Excel, Access, Word, and Visual Basic ,and has also done additional programming with FoxBASE Pro in addition to the more traditional computer languages such as C and PASCAL. During the workweek, Larisa works for an agency that promotes education of girls in surrounding villages. External sponsors provide money to ensure that girls have adequate books and supplies, and that the teachers are paid. Larisa will go to the different towns to make sure they're actually learning, attending classes, and being taught. Juan is studying architecture and also works during the week in architectural related work.

After lunch, we piled back in the truck, took the tables and chairs back to the Church, and then split up into groups: Nathan, Pete, Randy, and myself joined Louis, Juan, and another young man for a game of baseball over at a nearby park. There was no gate to directly get into the park so we had hop a concrete fence in order to get in and play. Shortly after we started, two of Louis's cousins joined us up. We had two gloves between the 7 of us to start with; Louis's cousins brought another two with them. The stitching was getting a bit frayed off of the baseball toward the end, but we had fun. While we were playing baseball, the remainder of the group joined Jewel Anita for a tour of her office, and a chance to see where she lives and meet the family she lives with.

Afterwards, we came back to the Hostel Acunya and changed to get ready for the evening's communion service. After we reassembled, we went to church for the communion service; Lori and I gave testimonies as part of the evening worship. This evening there was more singing, and Pete got up on stage with the folks leading songs to share in the singing.

During the actual communion part of the service, we came up to the table and all took a little cup of grape juice and a small piece of bread. Everyone then sat down, and we all took communion together, first the bread, then the wine followed by a benediction and then it was time to leave. No exit hymns, just a benediction, then everyone filed out. Compared to the singing at Ascension, it felt a bit anti-climatic.

We went back to the hostel, obtained our stuff and lashed it to the roof of the van. Nathan, Jewel Anita, and the nine of us then crowded inside for the voyage back up of the road we traveled the day before, but this time we turned and continued on into San Cristobal. We arrived at the YMCA Camp and had our debriefing meeting of the day. There wasn't time for supper, so we grabbed four pizzas and brought them with us. The youth contingent devoured their share on the road; the rest of us deferred until we reached the camp.

...and now I'm going to go to bed. Tomorrow we start the "real" mission work, entertaining the children for their birthday parties, and starting to do the annual checkups.

Saturday - Back to index page - Monday