Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Our first funeral

Johnny and I attended our first funeral in Guatemala yesterday, for the mother of our pastor in Panajachel. In Antigua we lived a block from the local cemetery and had seen many funerals and the following processions. But yesterday, we experienced it first hand. The service was held in Solola, at the evangelical church there. After a moving service (the pastor lost his father 4 months ago), we prepared for the processional. Thankfully, I had worn shoes comfortable for walking because the processional was from the church to the cemetery (about 1/2 mile). For those of you that have been here, remember the brightly colored cemetery you can see as we traveled from the Camp to Pana everyday? That's the one! Everyone walks behind the casket as it is carried by family and friends. The parade we made stopped all traffic (even the buses!) as we spread from one side of the street to the other. The pallbearers stopped periodically and swapped out, male and female alike. Many of the women were in typical Mayan dress but a few of us were dressed Western style. It was strange to see some of the daughters wearing spike heels and carrying the casket! (I half expected someone to turn an ankle). Also the day was hot with no clouds and only a slight breeze, so people would dart into stores as we passed and buy water or soft drinks. After another short service at the cemetery (standing in the sun), all walked back to the church for lunch. It is always interesting to see the differences in cultures and makes me realize how ethnocentric one can become if you are never exposed to them. Things are not necessarily better or worse - just different.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Things we miss

I just read the Brannon blog and was struck by Shay's list of things missed. So I thought I would give a list of things we miss:

* fellowship with Christians in English
* sermons in English - FBC and online sermons help!
* singing in English!
* safe and consistent mail service
* good, safe highways
* convenient shopping (groceries, in particular)
* central heating
* water pressure
* pecans (here but very expensive)
* Southern pork sausage (like Jimmy Dean)

Just a short list off the top of my head! As much as we are ready to move to the Centennial Camp house, we are enjoying having internet in the house and cable TV (Johnny's watching the FLA/FSU game as I write this!). I may have a much longer list when I get to Centennial Camp!


Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I wanted to blog yesterday but have had trouble with the internet. We spent the day in the capital with the Lohrenzes and 53 of the CAM-Guatemala missionary family and friends. We had the typical turkey and dressing with CRANBERRY SAUCE! (We don't get that often) Many thanks were given by all for the blessings God has given us during the past year. For us in particular, we are thankful for the recent visit home with our family, good health, progress on the move to Centennial Camp and good, cool "fall-type" weather (the picture was taken yesterday, note the turtleneck!). We hope your day was filled with blessings of being with family and friends or, if nothing else, rest. Thank you, faithful friends, for your prayers for us, particularly as we spend the holidays away from "home". God is blessing us with His peace, knowing we are where He wants us.


Oh yeah, Happy Birthday to me!! (yesterday)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Meet Eric and Carmen

I have mentioned this family before...friends we said goodbye to when we left Antigua. Thankfully, we have had continued contact with them and the First Bible Church team, Jonathan Moore in particular, built benches for Carmen to climb the hill to her home (which she uses daily). This family are new Christians who now attend the church we attended in Antigua. Eric and Carmen are the parents and children (L-R) Jose, Eric Jr., Rosario and Maria Elisa. They are a loving family without many resources. Carmen was diagnosed several years ago with a faulty mitral valve in her heart. In the last year since we have known her, she has gone downhill healthwise. Recently, Eric took her to the hospital here for heart conditions and she is in the process of obtaining valve replacement surgery. She is very nervous about the surgery and has pumped Johnny for information about his heart surgery. Eric called two days ago and told me that she is looking at about two more weeks of preliminary tests and lab work and also for six pints of blood to be donated for her. Please pray for this family. As I mentioned, Carmen is apprehensive of the surgery but she is dying without it. Pray for the blood to be donated, lab work to be completed, the wisdom of the doctors and the money for the surgery. Even though the work will be done in the national hospital, the doctor must be paid. He is requiring fifteen thousand quetzales up front (a little over $2000). This from a family that has little resources. The church in Antigua is helping and coming around this family. Also pray for blessings for this church! Thank you for your prayers for this family. They have become good friends and we would love to see Carmen healthy!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

We almost didn't believe it!

We are hosting a team this week that is working at the Camp. We knew that the government was widening the highway in front of the property, but they were taking the land from the camp side of the highway, not the house side. What we didn't know, but found out Monday when we arrived at the Camp, was that they dumped all the dirt from the excavation on our side! Also, the guy that owns the cornfield behind the house decided that he wanted to build a house on his cornfield and asked that dirt be dumped in his field. As you may can see, the drainage work that was done on our property is now moot - his field is now about 20 feet high! We are very concerned about what will happen when the next rainy season hits! The dirt between us and the highway (about 4 feet high) will be moved to level the area between the house and the entrance and make a football (soccer) field. We were sorry for the trees we lost, but many of the cedars lining the highway as a buffer are still there. One picture also shows the opposite side of the highway (camp side) and the area that was taken there.

The team here from Visalia, CA, is reroofing the house and the well digger came yesterday! Things are progressing and we may be in the house by Christmas. That would be a nice Christmas present!!

Please note the change in the email address:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thank goodness God answers prayers!

Living in the U. S., I had a habit of depending on myself and the things I could do to solve my problems. After nearly 2 years of living in Guatemala, I have discovered that there are many times that I can't depend on myself for or that there is nothing I can do. In these times you have to have a total dependence on God. Such was last Sunday! After the morning service at church, the pastor asked us (in front of everyone) if we could carry some people to a distant village that afternoon to visit the dying mother of one of the church members. We agreed and met back at the church at 2:00 for the trip. What a time not to have my camara! Our poor Suburban was loaded with 17 adults and an infant and off we went! At the first major hill, most of us had to get out and walk. This was not looking good and it didn't get any better! The road went from pavement to gravel to dirt. About a third of the way down one mountian, driving in first gear due to the steepness, first gear began making an awful racket. Johnny had to ride his brakes to get the rest of the way down. At the bottom of the mountain, before climbing the next, we stopped to let the brakes cool. During the cooling process, most of our passengers struck out walking, arriving at the house just before the woman died. After cooling, the Suburban was off and running again with just three of us. When we arrived, there was a short "service", attended by a good 30 people. We were all sitting around the walls of the woman's bedroom with her lying, covered, in the bed. (Don't forget, she died about an hour before!) The service lasted for about 20 minutes and off we went again heading home. Now, I knew that we had gone up one mountain, down the other side and up another mountain to get there. So, with little brakes, no first gear and a very noisy second and third gear, here we went, heading back to Panajachel! At one point, going up the last steep place, we were moving about 1-2 miles per hour. We had already sent everyone that we could back to Panajachel in the back of a pickup, but we still had 5 or 6 people in our truck. I think we had angels pushing from behind to get us up that mountain! I had my head bowed and was urgently praying for those angels and I don't think I was the only one! God was gracious and answered our prayers to get us over the summit. We made it back in time for the evening service but I think the Suburban has had it! This was one of those situations where there was nothing we could do except depend on God. It taught us a valuable lesson which I don't think we will forget anytime soon!


Please note the change in the email address - CAM is dropping the "email" before caminternational. We will still receive email from the old address also, until everyone is changed.