Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!!!

Welcome to 2007!!

Johnny and Maria Coker

Monday, December 25, 2006

"...the bombs bursting in air..."

There appears to be a guatemalan tradition of using fireworks during the Christmas holidays. We have heard an increase of fireworks and firecrackers during December, which peaked at midnight last night. Shortly before midnight, we stood on the Lohrenz roof overlooking a large part of Guatemala City. Sporadic fireworks had started at dusk, but at 11:55 (someone couldn't tell time!) the skies over Guatemala City looked like WWIII had started! These were not the little "piddling" fireworks that you see in someone's back yard - no, these were worthy of the Spirit of America fireworks on the Fourth of July!!! Between all the "booms", and the resulting car alarms that went off, it was deafening! There was also the bracing smell of gunpowder in the air! At 6:00 AM this morning and at noon today, there was a repeat, although not to the level of last night! It seems we will get to experience this again on New Year's Eve, but we will have to see if Panajachel can outdo Guatemala City!

I played for two candlelight services last night, then we had the obligitory "Christmas" tamales and ponche (hot punch with fruit). It has been fun seeing the traditions of our new country but we miss the cameraderie of family and friends. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a joyfilled New Year!

Johnny and Maria

Monday, December 18, 2006

"Christmas" tradition

We noticed last year in November/December that along a certain section of the Panamerican highway, children would sit in groups and wave at the passing cars. At first we just thought they were being friendly, but this year we discovered their true "objective"! In our recent trips back and forth to the capital (6 times in as many weeks), we saw the children on the side of the road, some in groups of 2 or 3, some in groups of 10 or 12. Johnny noticed that cars in front of him were throwing candy to the kids that waved! We have since bought a big bag of candy and Johnny and I have had as much fun throwing candy as the children collecting it! Yesterday, as we returned to Panajachel, there were more kids than ever! I completely depleted two large bags of candy and will have to buy more before we return to the capital on Friday!

As we see the children each trip, it reminds me that over half the population of Guatemala is under the age of 18. Please pray for salvation of the children of Guatemala.


PS You don't know how hard it was to take pictures of the children while trying to throw candy out the window at 40 miles per hour! This is the only one I took that wasn't blurry!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Vacation Bible School

Because November and December are the months of "vacation" from school, it is the perfect time for Vacation Bible School! This is the third day of VBS at the Panajachel church we attend and we help with the Arts and Crafts. Day 1 saw 120 children attend, but on day 2, the total jumped to around 160! Besides helping with the Arts and Crafts, I also am playing for the singing, helping them learn a song about Daniel. It's been fun but I am exhausted after each day! Jan Lohrenz will be here to help me on the next two days so Johnny and John can work at Centennial Camp. What fun (as John would say)!


Monday, December 11, 2006

Music is Christmas

Music has always been a big part of Christmas for me. Whether it is hymns such as Silent Night or The First Noel or Christmas programs performed at church, it doesn't feel like Christmas without music. This year, since we won't be home for Christmas with our family, I agreed to play the music for the Christmas cantata at the Union Church (English-speaking) in Guatemala City. We performed the program last night to a packed house. I was priviledged to play with a large chamber orchestra, which included members of the Guatemalan Symphony, and for the Union Church choir, including a budding opera singer. The final song was a mixture of different songs from The Messiah! It was a highlight of my Christmas! The only glitch was the latin music playing outside that kept getting louder to outdo us!

I hope your Christmas is also filled with music!


Monday, December 04, 2006


Check out our new well and transformer!! They delivered the transformer yesterday with 220 voltage instead of the 110 we thought. And the well is 11 meters (approx. 33 feet) deep with 3 meters of water. We will be working to finish the things inside the house and hope to move in during January. Thank you for all of you that helped with your prayers, financial help and hands. More later!