Day 3 – Posted by Brad – 1-31-12
The week has been so wonderful. Each man in the group is contributing so much to the dynamics. Gary has provided some great insight and wisdom. John came to Guatemala with an open-mind, and has been blown away by what he has seen. I am truly proud of him It has been a true joy to re-connect with Jeff. His love for Guatemala is apparent, and he is like a kid in a candy store during the day. He just seems to soak up everything. Scott is either playing in the dirt (actually working hard digging and smoothing concrete), or being completely goofy with the kids. He sometimes pretends to be a chicken, pecking at the kids. The children absolutely love him. I guess they feel comfortable with someone like Scott who is at their same maturity level 🙂
Today we built two porches off of homes Bethel had previously built. The first porch was for a woman who lost her husband and all of her earthly belongings in Hurricane Agatha. They literally never found her husband after the storm. Both of the extended families lived close by. Because they were unable to locate him, they all decided to give her a small piece of land to raise her children on. I cannot imagine the pain of that kind of loss.
The second porch was for a family who lost their home in hurricane Stan. They too lost all of their belongings and house, but at least were physically spared. Their house is built in a river bed. You don’t realize this fact while you are standing at their house. But, when you walk back some distance, you realize their house is in the river bed where two rivers join. So, if there is ever another major storm, their house and all those around them will be swept away. The mother’s name is Olga. She is very sweet. The dad works in the fields. They have 3 children. I only saw two of them. I then heard a baby cry from under her shawl. I asked her if I could see the baby. She unbundled it. The baby was 25 days old! It was so adorable.
The fun thing was having Jeff, John and Gary introduced to mixing concrete. They each found themselves at the working end of a shovel. The pile of mix consisted of 80 shovels full of sand, 40 of rock and two bags of cement mix. It is quite a process where you add water as you mix and remix the entire pile. For those of us who are soft, you get tired quickly. Juanito and Chris get quickly bored of watching us struggle, so they politely yank the tools from our hands and do the work the way it should be done.
We then went to lunch and had some amazing pizza. We are all hooked on chorizo sausage. So, we got a supreme pizza and a chorizo pizza. Yummy!
Did I mention that George W. Bush had flown into Tecpan many years ago? All the helicopters landed in a soccer field near Juan’s church. I guess he was here for a free trade initiative. The people love that he visited their town.
We then went to some Mayan ruins near town. The ruins are still in pretty good shape. Chris did a great job as a walking tour guide. We spent an hour walking around, and watched as Scott attempted to sacrifice Gary. Fortunately, he didn’t succeed.
By the way, the Mayan priests still sacrifice here. No kidding! In fact, they had been sacrificing today. They do different sacrifices. Some do live animal sacrifices, such as chickens. Some find items that have significance to them. Some put vegetables, like onions and carrots. Some put flowers. My personal favorite was a Coca Cola can. That’s right. That can had some importance to them. The candles were all still lit, and fires were still burning. While we all found it interesting, it looked and felt very dark. We all felt it, but Jeff said he had a very real sense of the spiritual darkness that was in the area. The place was full of wild dogs. As we were leaving, a huge pack of dogs began to fight and howl near the altar. Someone said they must have been Hell hounds. We were all ready to get in the van. That was enough of that……forever! As spooky as it sounds, the sad reality is that there are many people who consider this worship. We truly do need to pray for them. There are spiritual strongholds that can only be broken by God. He has dominion over them. But, we should lift these people up in prayer and pray that their eyes are opened to the wickedness behind this system. While most identify themselves as Mayan here, they do not worship in this Mayan ritualistic style. Only the Lord knows what it will take to deliver them from it. I have a feeling that prayer will play a major role in that.
We then visited the home of the Lux family, who is the family we built for last year. The parents were both gone, and the kids were wary of letting us in, which I was so glad to see. We left some gifts, and we hope to make it back before we leave. One piece of sad news. The family’s dog “Rambo” died. You may remember that Rambo was the dog that mistook my bottom for a chicken bone and tried to bite me last year. I will truly miss Rambo, but will always have fond memories of our close encounter.
We ended the day on an incredible note. We went to Pastor Juan’s church for a special service. There was great music. They told us a couple of songs to prepare for, so we were able to sing along on a couple. I wish we worshiped that way back home. These people truly love Jesus!!!
It was really cool because Jeff had a chance to share with the congregation. Jeff would read and share and Chris would translate. They both did a great job. Jeff’s message was wonderful. We were proud of him. Chris did great translating. He got stuck a couple of times when Jeff pulled a couple of huge terms/ideas out. Jeff said “the Gospel cannot be contained by geographical borders” and that he had been “homesick for Guatemala”. Chris said there was no Spanish translation for the idea of homesick and tried to convey that idea. Scott kidded around and said that Chris probably just said, “Jeff really missed Guatemala”.
I have been having a great time and cannot wait to see what lies ahead for the remainder of our trip. We have a busy day tomorrow, so I am off to sleep. Everyone is healthy in the group, and doing great! Thanks for your prayers. Keep them coming!
Dios Te Bendiga,