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Friday, July 23, 2010

Guatemala Day Seven – Eight

Guatemala Day Seven – Eight I am sitting in a hotel open-air lobby in Panajachen, Guatemala waiting for the others to be ready to go on our second quest to find foreigner edible food for breakfast. I have not been able to post any blogs since Saturday because of little time Saturday and Sunday and then extremely limited internet access Monday until today while being in Antigua. We have driven many, many Kilometers since then and have done, seen and experienced a large variety of things since then; from the awe inspiring, to the terrifying, from the “awwwwwwww” moments to the very sad moments. Since this will be split into a couple large updates, I will try to stream line a synopsis of each day so you can get an idea of where we’ve been and what we have been doing. I will try to blog later about specific, major events on this section of the trip. Day Seven After a great service Friday night, we got up Saturday with great expectations for that evening’s service. We got up and began preparing for the service as we had plans to meet some of the family at a local restaurant for lunch and then head over to the church. Have I mentioned the traffic? There is a running joke amongst us about “Guatemalan time”. Just add an hour to whatever time is established and you will be close. Well, to be fair, I am beginning to realize that a big part of that issue is due to the immensity and unpredictability of traffic in Guatemala. There is simply no way to accurately determine how long it will take to get anywhere and this was never more evident than during our attempt to meet the family for lunch. A drive that should have taken no more than 30 minutes ended when we gave up after over 2 hours. We had run out of time and needed to be at the church, so we stopped at the next restaurant we saw which was a Dominos Pizza and we ate there. (It was an eat in shop which we don’t typically see in the States). We then proceeded to the church and made it just on time. Of course, no one else was there and after close to another hour we were finally in the church.. From the start, nothing worked right. The sound system that worked flawlessly the days prior just wouldn’t come together. Frustration was high and what added to that was another band that it was decided would play with us had to be worked into the evening which was something we had not planned on. They also needed time to practice and that was not available, mostly due to the sound problems. We finally got the sound working adequately, and only a half an hour late (the people didn’t care much because they are used to that and they were playing football up on the roof) we began the service. This was a typical N.O.W. service like we had held in Mandan several times. It consists of songs of worship and praise, a little talking, some Scripture readings and a time of group prayer. These aspects of the service are interspersed throughout the service, not in any particular order. The singing was great. The people here really sing out and love clapping (in time, I might add) and so that was a nice thing for us. When we got into the prayer time, the power of the night was really revealed. Of course all the prayers were in Spanish but we were informed later that they were amazing prayers of dedication of lives to God and a focusing on living every moment as worship to God. It ended up being a great night. Day Eight The next day was Sunday and we were in charge of the morning service. We arrived early and turned everything on and everything worked perfectly. This was such a drastic contrast from the night before. I fully believe that Satan had tried to thwart Saturday night’s service by messing things up but in the end God was victorious as always and this morning had a very peaceful start. We had arrived before Sunday school but since only one of us spoke Spanish well enough to really be able to follow a lesson, we took that time to get some breakfast. It was a quick run and we were back and ready for the service. Things went very well, though the crowd was smaller and older than the night before. People responded well to the music and to my sermon which had to be given through an interpreter. That was a unique experience but I know that the message got across so that was good. They had a potluck planned after the service but we had already scheduled a dinner with one of the Grandmother’s of the Guatemalan member of the team so we waited a while to speak with people and as we were about to leave, an older man came up and began speaking to me. I called over someone who could speak both languages and the man basically said he really enjoyed what I spoke about and the need for obedience in our lives as Christians and it really had an impact on him. That was a great conformation that the message had been delivered. We left the church and headed to the grandmother’s home. She laid out an amazing meal for us that consisted of so many different foods, in such great quantity that I didn’t know how all of that could have possibly come from the incredibly small kitchen. There was chicken and cream, whole, cooked carrots, potatoes, two types of rice, two other vegetables that I could not identify as they are not common in the U.S. and the requisite corn tortillas. To drink, she made a rice and cinnamon beverage, served cold. It had a very unique flavor. Very sweet. The cinnamon was not the brown type that we would typically put into foods but the red type that we would more often use in hot beverages, or as candy. It was really good but I would prefer it as a drink to be drank on its own, not as part of a meal. But it was a great experience. We had an awesome time hearing the stories of the family and then she broke out what was possibly the most amazing dessert any of us have ever tasted. It was made from fresh pineapples and was topped with freshly sliced strawberries. I wish I could describe it but though I have thought of it often, I cannot find the right words to use. The consistency was something that I haven’t really experienced before so I can’t compare it to anything familiar and though it was called a cake, it was not anything like what we would consider a cake. I will post a picture later and maybe exact assistance form the others in giving a good description. One of our team members asked if we thought it might be able to withstand mailing to the United States. I think that sums up all of our reaction to this magnificent dessert. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the mall and then headed to Antigua. The distance is not far but the drive is. We arrived after dark and so we acclimated ourselves to the new home we would stay in for the next couple days and we went to bed. Pray for us.

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