Thursday, December 20, 2007

Family time at home!

Hello from frigid/balmy Alabama! Choose your own description because we change daily! Today it is in the 60's but two days ago, it was 30! At least it feels like Christmas. We have been busy with visits to each of the girls and our annual "Coker Christmas" in Chattanooga. To the left is Johnny with all of his sisters! We also had a great visit with First Bible Church in Decatur last weekend. I will post more pictures, but until then, Johnny and I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a joyous celebration of our Saviour's birth!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Team from Visalia, CA

After a quick trip to Visalia, California, we returned to Guatemala in time to receive a team from First Presbyterian Church in Visalia. We had a great time reconnecting with old friends and meeting some new ones! Here's just a little taste of what went on and what got accomplished last week!

Some of the ladies ministered to me particularly by working in my yard. They cut grass and weeded my garden until it looked pristine! They even found a few "strange" insects and spiders!

Meanwhile, in the garage, the guys started on the filter system. Thankfully, Johnny was involved because it all looks complicated to me!

A tricky part!

It's measure twice and cut once...or is it measure once and cut twice?

And then there are always power tools!

Break time!!!!

Xiba loved all of the attention. She sat next to the gate and watched all of the activity...and hoped someone would drop some food!

Everyone helped.

Does it go this way?

Some jobs took the tall folks!

After three days of work, here's our new filtration system, shown by the lovely Vanna (Mark).

And the playground crew!

On Thursday, we had a dedication service for both projects and a demonstration of the filter system. Many of our area pastors and elders attended. Here, they meet the team.

Always go to the bathroom before you leave the house! If you don't, you are in danger of using the same bush someone else used!
Hope you enjoyed the overview of our week! This was the last team of the year and, as we look back, we realize how blessed we are with all of our friends from all over the U. S. We hope to see some of you back down here next year!
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Busy Fall

Blogging has been sporadic this fall, our internet access has been hit or miss. But just because we haven't blogged doesn't mean that we haven't been busy! We have been working with the youth of some of our area churches, showing movies, doing skits and singing songs. We continue to visit different churches each Sunday and Johnny attended the large yearly consejo meeting in September, a two day affair.

Good friends had two of their children "graduate" from their grades to higher levels - Patti (above) from kindergarten to first grade and Erendia from sixth grade to seventh. During these ceremonies, we were confronted by something we hadn't had to deal with before - do you join everyone else when they salute the Guatemalan flag or just stand there in respect? We just stood and showed respect since we weren't Guatemalan citizens, but it was something to think about!
All during the month of October, each of the local CAM churches were assigned a day to work at the Camp. We were moving a large area of dirt and didn't have the money to hire a backhoe. Unfortunately, we had more rain than usual in October and they ended up moving mud more than dirt! But we had great fun, even if it was a little wet!
We even had help from the ladies!
While Johnny and the workers moved mud during the last week we were there, I was inside teaching Carmen, a woman who comes to help, how to bake. The Mayan women don't bake because most of them don't have ovens. They cook over an open fire with a piece of metal placed over it. So Carmen was intrigued to learn how to use a mixer and the oven! She helped me as I prepared for the team that arrives next Saturday. It was odd to see her cooking at my stove with her baby wrapped on her back taking a nap! She will return on Thursday to help finish my preparations for the upcoming team - and learn to bake cookies!!
We spent the last week and a half in Dallas, TX, in training. In the evenings, Johnny and I learned to play bocce ball! We did great at first, but I think it was beginner's luck. But we did have a great time. From Dallas, we traveled to Visalia, CA, to visit First Presbyterian Church, who has sent two teams a year for the last 3 years to work at Centennial Camp. Even though we had never visited there before, we knew so many folks, it was easy to feel very welcome and comfortable! They are the ones we are expecting next Saturday, for a week of work at the Camp!
As I said, it has been a busy fall, but we have had a great time. I am sitting in the Dallas airport as I write this, hoping that the rain will be gone when we get back! We are anxious to see what all was completed while we were gone and just get back to normal. I will write later next week with news of our new filter system and playground equipment!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Driving can be hazardous to your health

As Johnny and I were driving to Guatemala City today, we came across what has become a usual occurance - a construction cola. These colas or lines of traffic have been a common occurance since the government started widening the Pan American Highway. Today's cola was typical, although it lasted longer than usual. Let me see if I can help you see it thru my eyes:

It started as a typical stop in traffic when there is construction ahead. We are sitting in our lane, about 7 or 8 cars from the front of the line.

Also, as usual, the vendors collect and go from car to car, or bus in this case, selling whatever they have to sell. This young lady is selling tamales, which are wrapped in corn husks. The bus was full of hungry folks because she shucked corn husks out the door as she put the tamales in plastic baggies as she sold them. There were a pile of corn husks!
There is almost a carnival type feeling today. We are at an intersection that has a couple of vendors on a regular day. Today seemed extra-special! Note the kid on the homemade stilts.
When it was our turn to travel the construction area, all of the buses, vans and delivery trucks started going around the line of traffic, headed for the front of the line! In doing this, they blocked the last few vehicles coming the other way. We ended up with three lanes of traffic across the road. Where we are sitting is the actual lane.
Farther down into the construction area there was a detour. Apparently the guys stopping the traffic coming toward us went on break because we met a mess of trucks and cars at the detour. Here we are actually crossing the line of traffic coming toward us to take the detour!
The detour was a muddy mess! There is an orange truck in front of the red one that gets stuck in the mud. People have to get out and push him through the last of it. We had to go into 4 wheel drive to get through it ourselves!
Here we are crossing back through the line of traffic, back on pavement. It was the strangest driving experience I think we have had! And remember - this is the Pan American highway that goes from Canada to South America! One of the major thoroughfares in Guatemala!
Well, we made it to Guatemala City in 4 1/2 hours, usually a 2-3 hour drive! I am not looking forward to returning to the Camp through all of this, but then...that's Guatemala!

Monday, October 15, 2007

This would get you a ticket in Alabama!

Just a few of the driving "techniques" seen here in Guatemala. All I missed was the chicken bus with the "helper" climbing out the back door, up and across the roof and sliding in the side window, all going 60 miles an hour down the highway! By the way, the flat baskets in the top picture contains chickens!
Your smile for the day!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Finally, the sun!

Many of you got an email requesting prayer for us. As the rainy season closes, it tends to rain a lot, but we have had solid rain for 5 days. We were coming down with colds and, frankly, felt pretty miserable. It is hard to feel useful when you just want to go home. God is good, though, and answered your prayers. Today, we had the first sun we have seen in at least a week and are both feeling better, even though the colds have not gone away completely. Thank you for your faithfulness to our Lord, and to us, in your prayers. We are still a little homesick, but since this is not our "home", we probably always will.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Catherine Adams

This is Catherine Adams, our newest intern! Actually she was just here for the week to scout out locations for a six month internship for the first of next year. She is from our home church and we watched her grow up. She's like one of our own kids!
Catherine wants to work with children next year, so we looked at several orphanages and children's homes. Here is a photo of us checking out New Life children's home in Villa Nueva. Kara and Daniel Harris (from Atlanta) are two-year missionaries there and gave us a great tour of the place (complete with Southern accents)!

At Kids Alive in San Lucas, one of the housemother's daughters attached herself to Johnny and wouldn't let anyone else hold her! She's actually giving Johnny a hug here - and he loved it! He always did attract the women!!
Pray Catherine finds the location God wants her to be at. She is now back in the States starting her support raising.
I hope you like the changes on the blogsite. I needed a change!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New Basketball Court

The new basketball court is almost finished! In late August, the basketball goals were put in place and painted. Lines won't be painted until after the rainy season, late October or November, but that hasn't stopped the games!
We have already had one church visit and use the court, but at any time during the day, you might find neighborhood kids out there playing basketball or soccer.
And some who are no longer kids!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Aren't they beautiful?

Johnny has his work cut out for him! Today I bought 13 rose bushes for the Camp. When they are the equivelent of about $1.50 each and so very beautiful, it's very hard to stop at one.
But you have to come visit to see them for real!
Until then, enjoy the pictures.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Another Status Report

Johnny and I have spent 3 1/2 wonderful days in Tapachula, Mexico! We had to renew our visas and it required leaving the country for 72 hours, so we chose the closest border - Mexico. We have spent every morning by the pool, just sitting, reading and swimming, and every afternoon listening to the thunderstorms! Sometimes we were out in them, sometimes we stayed in the room. But it was a relaxing time and accomplished our visa renewal at the same time. We will head back to the Camp this morning, before the rains have time to start. We will be crossing the border around noon, so keep us in your prayers.

While we are in Tapachula, we had internet access and saw where another hurricane will be hitting the eastern border of Guatemala and Belize. Please pray for the people in the lower, coastal areas that will be hit, they have a tendency to flood. Also, we in the mountains will get rain from the outer bands of the hurricane, even if it doesn't come this far west. Pray we don't get so much that it causes landslides. We will keep you posted as we are able.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hurricane news

As far as we are from news, sometimes we depend on you to keep us posted on what is happening in the world! One of our daughters called and notified us of Hurricane Dean and his progress across the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, we have had several calls and emails about how we were doing. So this is an update on the Cokers - we are doing fine, it is raining at present, but we really haven't seen any more rain than is usual this time of year. I believe they were expecting more rain for the western part of Guatemala, which could have caused landslides and flooding. But we had a couple of beautiful days Sunday and Monday, with rain that started about 2:00 PM yesterday. So thank you for your prayers and emails of encouragement! It's nice to know that when someone hears "Guatemala", they think of us and how we are being affected!

Please do be in prayer for our government elections here, to take place the middle of September. There have been more demonstrations in the Capital, although we are not affected by them out here in the country. But the change in the government (President, VP, even mayors and such) can affect us, for better or worse. Your prayers for God's will in Guatemala is greatly appreciated by all of the missionary community and the churches of Guatemala.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Our latest projects

This is what Johnny and I have been working on for the last couple of weeks. Yesterday, we planted about 20 plants, including bougainvilla, roses, azaleas and gerber daisies. The rain started about the time we finished, about 1:30P. It seems to be raining more each day and we can expect more with Hurricane Dean coming. But the house doesn't leak!!

For those of you that will ask: the plant in the front of the picture is a ground orchid.

We hope to get the basketball goals made and put up next week. We'll post pictures when they are in.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The newest wall

Well, so much for blogging! The internet was running faster this morning and I hoped to get some pictures put on but it slowed down after I got one posted. Oh well! For those of you who haven't been here for several months, this is our new wall that was added to help with the grade of the land down to the garage. Coming down these steps is so much easier. I have canna lillies planted in front and some plants on top. This is one of our "August" things. I'll show more next time!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We aren't "resting"!

I had such great plans to post pictures of our garden and the "wall" we made around it and pictures of the birthday party of our guard's children. Alas, the internet access where we are at present will not allow this, so I will have to do it later. Although this is a month of "rest", we are not resting! We have no teams, but we have been working around the Camp. As I mentioned, we have been working in the garden that was formed when a wall got moved. I took advantage of all of the dirt and decided a garden would look great! We bought plants in Antigua on Monday and will take them back to be planted today. I guess I will just have to take a picture after all of the planting and post it instead!

We were invited to a birthday party for the children of our guard last week. All of his family attended and lunch was included. The women had on their best huipiles and looked like a flower garden. I took balloons and a craft for the kids to do. It was a good thing that I had plenty of materials because almost every adult joined in and did the craft also! The craft a very simple, but the Guatemalan people love to be creative and are very artistic. That's a good thing because the craft involved neon green and pink pipecleaners and beads! We all had a great time!

I hope to be able to get online again later this week. Maybe I can post pictures then!


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ready for August

We had a wonderful week with our team from our home church of First Bible in Decatur, Alabama! They left early Saturday morning amid hugs and tears (and lots of car horns honking!). Johnny and I were blessed by their visit and the work they did for us. After completing the basketball court, they leveled out our yard and moved some plants - all because they knew I would like it! What love!

We spent the weekend in the capital and plan to head back to the Camp in the morning. Due to a generous gift, we went to eat at Applebee's (yes, we have one!) today for lunch! Tomorrow it's back to cooking again or eating Steve Bateman's favorite, peanut butter. Lots of soup and sandwiches around our house!

Please pray as we get to rest the month of August. We have no teams scheduled although we will not be sitting around twiddling our thumbs. There are several church visits already planned and I hope to talk to two ladies about starting a prayer group in their homes. My language skills are always a concern for me. I also plan to get curtains finished this month. The house will look much more finished with the sheets down and curtains up!

Also, Happy Birthday to Johnny tomorrow, the 30th!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Folks from home!

Well, First Bible arrived safely on Saturday noon, after a long morning of travel. The first order of business was lunch where the guys were the hit of Pollo Campero!

Sunday morning was spent relaxing because church didn't start until 3 PM! But here we are, enjoying a great time with Guatemalan brothers.

Yesterday, Nancy, Joy and I went to the Argueta church and had a VBS type program for the kids. We were only expecting 7 but 12 showed up! We (and they) had a great time!

Bob Dishman, Jerry Namie and Jon Moore wired the garage for us. We can now see without turning on the car lights at night!

They moved rock, dug out dirt and leveled the areas for the bleachers...

And worked concrete!

They were tired puppies after this day!

This basketball court was finished!

Xiba kept waiting for someone, in this case Chepe, to drop something at lunch!

Thank you, FBC, for sending your best! We are enjoying having them!!!