Dear friends and family,
As we head to the airport I am taking a few minutes to breathe and catch you up on the past two days.
Friday was a long day of travel mixed with an immersion experience that will be hard to forget. We drove 3-4 hours from Cunen to Camanchaj where we saw the Salud Y Paz school, visited a couple of classes, heard from the teachers and learned more about Salud Y Paz.
We then went to visit the home of Tomasa. Tomasa\’s husband was killed 7 years ago by her father in law when she was pregnant with her 5th boy. Her boys are ages 7-15. Tomasa lives with her boys in a very small two room house. A bedroom and a kitchen make up the house. It was a very long walk from the road to Tomasa\’s home… Down a very steep hill, through the field and woods and then up a hill to her home. It was had to imagine her with 5 young boys walking the narrow path in good weather never mind rain!. Some of the boys did not have shoes even. The oldest two work to help out. Tomasa works for Salud Y Paz and earned 600Q per month which is less that $100.00. She has not remarried even though it is customary for the woman to remarry (often the deceased mans brother). She was and is concerned that the man will not love her boys and often in these cases the children are abused and not loved. So Tomasa has tried to support her boys the best she can. she was teary as she told her story. Each of the boys introduced themselves but the oldest told how much they love their mom for taking care of them and for working hard to give them what they need and send them to school. The oldest boy will finish his primary education this year and the cost for him to go on next year will be more than Tomasa can afford. We felt moved as a team to help support his education and gave generously to help the family.
After walking (and stopping to breathe) we made it back to the bus. I know I would not want that walk every day! The Spirit was so evident the entire morning.
We then headed to Antigua.
We arrived in Antigua but had difficulty finding our hotel. It was 6 or 7pm by the time we made it to the hotel. Our bus driver speaks no English and that was a difficult situation when you are trying to find your way. But we found the hotel, checked in, and made our way to the ARC where we had dinner at a convent saint caterina. It was a wonderful meal and well worth the walk to it.
On Saturday we went up on the hill to a restaurant that overlooked the city of Antigua. Our meal was wonderful. We then had a chance to Take pictures of the city from on high as well as shop. Eventually we made our way to the cross on the hill which i also so beautiful and overlooks Antigua. Many pictures were taken there.
In the afternoon, some napped or read while others headed out for the town. It was a little walk to the town so Penny, Ella, and Sally got a TukTuk to town. I can imagine that was an experience. We all came back loaded with gifts and fun things! Last night we ate at the Hotel Museo Casa santa domingo which is a monastery that is like a fortress. It is so beautiful there and the meal was indescribable. I\’m sure you will see pictures!
Now we are on the bus after a good nights sleep heading for Antigua.
I Cannot say enough about this team. It is a team that is full of love and generosity. We have laughed and cried together. We have had our hearts moved by people and stories. We have provided healing to almost 400 patients. It is so hard to describe the beauty of this God given land or the incredible spirit of the people here. But this team is like family. Most did not know each other but they now have a common bond and love for one another and I am sure that will live on for years to come.
I am so grateful for each and every person here. We worked as a team with all jobs being equal and the end result was that of the caring and love of every single person. This is what Jesus meant when he said Love one another. When you have given water and food and clothing and healing to those who need it most, you have given it to me. We were the hands and feet of Jesus this week!
I pray for each team member as we return to the US that they will find ways of reconciling what they have experienced with how we live amid the excess we have. Pray for them please. Often that is a hard transition.
Hearts have been opened here – I pray your hearts have been opened as well. Thanks for journeying with us this week. I will get you all pictures when I get home. That is a promise. I\’ll label them day 1 2 3 etc.
Should your heart be moved to go on a mission team – let me know! Britney said thank you to the team for coming and keeping my dream alive of going to Guatemala often. She is right! I will continue to go – but I need folks whose hearts are open to go with me : )
Sending love from Guatemala as we start the journey home and back into our day to day lives.