Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009!

Here's wishing you a Happy New Year in 2009! Check back soon for news of internet at the Camp!

Monday, December 08, 2008

#1 Extranjero of Nahuala

Last week, Johnny was named #1 Extranjero of Nahuala! This means he completed his paperwork for residency and is the first foreigner to be an official resident in Nahuala. When we return to Guatemala after the holidays, I hope to be #2!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas and Music

Christmas, to me, has always included music. Old favorite Christmas hymns such as O Holy Night and The First Noel, newer ones such as Mary Did You Know? (I will always picture John Godwin singing that one) and The Messiah. Songs that tell the story of the gift given to mankind with such undeserved love. Songs that tell of the unprecedented event that occurred over 2000 years ago. Songs that still my heart each year with wonder.
Tonight I had the opportunity to attend a Christmas Dinner Theater at the First Baptist Church of Sylacauga, Alabama. It was what I needed to start the Christmas season with...something to remind me of the true meaning of Christmas.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Brr...

I was feeling sorry for those of you having cold weather already while we had warm days where we could still wear short sleeves. The nights were cool, but the days were sunny and great! About the time our team from California arrived, so did the cold weather! Because of where we were working, they stayed on the mountain with us and got to experience a little of what we live thru. You have to remember that our houses have no heat, so our house and the dormitory where the guys stayed was cold - with mornings in the high 40's, low 50's. There was frost on the ground each morning until the sun rose above the mountain and you could see your breath in the air - inside the house! Welcome to balmy Guatemala!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thank you!

This is the time of year for Vacation Bible Schools in Guatemala. The children are out of school from the end of October until the middle of January, so many of the churches plan their VBS during this time. Many of you that have visited and worked with us this year brought craft supplies that we help supply the churches with. In the above photo, our guard's three children are separating big bags of beads into smaller bags with the colors for the "Gospel" bracelets. They were a big help with a monotonous task and enjoyed making bracelets of their own to be able to tell the Gospel story! In the background, you may can see the piles of supplies that are being divided and given out. We have had more visitors in the last week asking for our help. We couldn't have done it without you! Thank you to all of you that sent supplies or money to help the churches with this particular form of evangelism. Don't be surprised in Heaven if someone comes up to you and says they are there because of you!!!
Dios te bendiga (God bless you)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The things you learn...

There are things you learn, living in a foreign country. After nearly four years in Guatemala, I learned something new yesterday. I already knew that the rainy season kept things damp...all of your envelope flaps prematurely stick together as do your stamps. (Thank goodness for the "pre-stick" kind!) Anyway, yesterday I learned that Listerine strips stick together also. Johnny and I were in a meeting with about 30 people when I offered him a "breath strip". What I didn't know was that three or four had stuck together! Now, these things tend to be strong anyway but three or four of them together about burned his mouth and he couldn't do anything about it! We did not have any water available so he had to sit there and take it, eyes watering and about to choke. Yes, it's funny the things you learn...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Graduations

We have developed many relationships since moving to Guatemala. Last week, we were invited to a graduation where we were introduced as the grandparents!



Sunday, November 02, 2008

Psycho kites



The dry season is here, we haven't had rain in almost a week now. Along with the sun comes the winds. So far, our roof has survived although when the wind comes down the chimney and blows the ashes from the fireplace all over the house...
As I said yesterday, this is the season for flying kites. Wilder (left) and Fabio (right) made their own kites and were out bright and early Saturday morning.

They were up on the soccer field where the wind was really getting their kites up!


We always knew that Xiba didn't like cows and goats...she would go crazy at the twice-daily parade of bovine. Now, we have discovered another dislike of hers...Kites. When the boys were flying their kites, Xiba was going absolutely crazy!







We will always be protected from psycho kites!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Dia de los Muertos

November 1st...The Day of the Dead. Sounds grusome, but it is an annual Catholic holiday that is followed by All Saint's Day on November 2nd. To celebrate, the people go to the cemeteries, decorate the graves and spend the day. Meals are eaten over the gravesites with food being left for the departed. Kites were traditionally used with noisemakers to attract the attention of God to pray their family out of Purgatory. I don't know how much the kites are used for that today, but it is traditional to fly them during these two days.


Sumpango, a small village just outside of Guatemala City, is famous for their large kites that they fly each November 1st. The size of the village triples during this time.

Here is a typical scene at a local cemetery. There are particular flowers that are grown specifically for this day.

Kites are even flown at the cemetery.

These are just some of the ways we see the darkness of Satan's realm. The evangelical church does not celebrate with these traditions, but due to the large Catholic population in Guatemala, most people are off from work, making it a "national" holiday. Pray with us that the Evangelical church in Latin America will be light and salt in an unbelieving world.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Victor and his family

Everyone was laughing and having a great time before I took the picture. This is typical of the indigenous culture, they are very solemn for pictures. Juana, Victor's wife is teaching me Quiche - she speaks little Spanish so I am learning her language!
Maria

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Real Vacation!

We returned yesterday after a week on a 46-foot catamaran with 10 people. Yes, we are still smiling! It was a wonderful trip, even if the boat got small toward the end of the week.

These were our "family" for 6 days. All were U.S. citizens, although most lived elsewhere. We had lively conversations about life in Belize, Guatemala, California and New Zealand!


Meet the crew that sailed us around the Belizean reef and fed us. From left to right:
Elias, Carlos and Capitan Raul.
As I told the others, we were "living our dream"! The hammocks were cool during the day and great for sleeping...


the fishing was sporadic but enjoyable...

and I went thru three books between swimming and sitting and soaking up the sun.

Elias was a great cook and after arriving in the Gulf waters, we had fish or lobster every meal except breakfast!


These are some of the beautiful waters we swam and they snorkled in. I found I was a little to claustrophobic for snorkeling but enjoyed paddling around in the water and doing alot of sitting and sunning!


Johnny's first catch


The only time on shore was a couple of hours walking around Livingston. As you can see, we did get a little rain, but that didn't stop us!
We are ready to get home and gear up for the final team of the year in November. Rainy season ends around the first of November and the kids are out of school the end of October. Should be an interesting next couple of months!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Pure Water

In June of this year, the Emmanuel Church in Panajachel received a water filtration system from First Presbyterian Church of Visalia, California. Since that time, they have offered filtered water free of charge twice a week. Since Panajachel's water comes from Lake Atitlan without any cleaning, this has given the people of the town an inexpensive way to stay healthy. Benefits of drinking clean water are learned along with the spiritual benefit of living water for your soul!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Some recent work at the Camp

OK, Jess, you wanted some updated pictures! Here are the walls Victor and Johnny built. This incline will go from the parking lot up onto the soccer field. It can be used by vehicles, wheelchairs or, hopefully one day, a lawn mower!
The building on the left will soon have a second floor, with the steps going up! I talked them into adding a bodega (storage area) under the steps for cleaning supplies.

Poor Francisco! I caught him putting stucco on the ceiling of the women's bathroom. He was in semi-darkness and I blinded him with the flash! Oh well, the hazards of working around a woman with a camara!
The grass on the soccer fields is filling in nicely and by the end of the rainy season, we should have a good playing field!
Maria



Thursday, September 18, 2008

Latest changes to LBN

Here is a recent picture of the new construction here at LBN. Eventually, these will be apartments for guests, office areas and storage. It will be beautiful when it is finished!

Maria

Monday, September 15, 2008

Restful weekend

This is a holiday weekend here - Independence Day for most of Central America. A group of us from CAM met at Las Buenas Nuevas for a restful weekend and time to catch-up with each other, our ministries and prayer requests. Some of the newest missionaries with CAM have little children, so it has been an experience to plan things around toddlers and kids under 10! But we had a great time and look forward to more fellowship time with each other. Two of the newest couples (and the ones with all the kids) live closest to us! Still an hour or two away, but closer than anyone else!!
Maria

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hanna, Ike and Josephine

Some of you may know that Johnny and I were prepared to take a week vacation, our first since before coming to Guatemala. We had finished with the teams scheduled for the summer and had a break of a couple of months before the next team. Frankly, we were looking forward to the break! Headed for the Gulf of Mexico, sun, fishing, with a bag full of paperbacks, we arrived in Guatemala City to find we had an email stating our vacation had been cancelled! It seemed there were not enough bookings for the trip we were taking, so the company had to cancel it. Of course we were disappointed, but our cloud had a silver lining. As we look at the weather for our part of the world, it appears that even in our disappointment, God is protecting us. We are thankful that even with our desires, He protects us from what would harm us! So we have rescheduled and continue to look forward to our restful vacation. Hopefully there will be sun, good fishing and dry paperbacks!

Maria

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Snow


No, we don't have snow in Guatemala, but then, maybe we do! We woke up one morning to Xiba (our German Shepard, pronounced "Sheba") barking her head off. On the basketball court was a coal black Chow, maybe a year old, wearing a collar and dragging a chain. We asked around at the neighbors and no one knew who might own this dog. So, much to Xiba's chagrin, the new dog was put in our fence so she (yes, another female) would not wander in the highway and be hit. Johnny has named her Snow (so yes, there is snow in Guatemala), a name that has caused more than one belly laugh from the Guatemalans. Xiba is very protective of us and will not let Snow near us or the food. Snow does not seem to be abused as she loves the darker skinned Guatemalans more than our fair skin, wants to climb in the truck with us each time we go somewhere and thinks she is a house dog! The cat doesn't like that...

Now, if I can just teach Xiba to share...

Maria

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Three days...lots of work!

They were only here for three days but did a load of work! From Bellingham, Washington, fourteen people, ages 18 and up, worked at Centennial Camp stringing fence and building playground equipement.

The fencing around the lower area at the "river" (creek in Alabama) is now complete. This will help corral kids, keep them out of the river and, hopefully, help keep animals from grazing on the grass. It's not the grazing that bothers us, it's the deposits left behind!



The Vacation Bible School of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Decatur, Alabama, took up a collection for Centennial Camp, shortly before the church came here for a mission trip this summer. The money paid for the supplies for the above playground "fort", which was then built by this team. I will post pictures as it is finished, but this will join the other playground equipment (below - built last year) for the enjoyment of all the kids who visit the Camp.

Thank you to Emmanuel Bible Church, Bellingham, Washington, for all their hard work!

Maria

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Day at the Camp

On a beautiful day last week, we had two of our churches visit for a day at the Camp! There were about 40 - 50 people here who, after a devotional time in the morning, spent the day in basketball tournaments! We had lunch on the ground and ended the afternoon with a "torch run", which actually only went the length of the driveway, but was complete with torches and signs!

The playground equipment we built late last year has been popular with the kids. In fact, we plan on building another "fort" area this next week with a team from Washington state! We'll keep you posted!
Maria

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Our recent team from Wisconsin worked and worked to prepare the terraza so they could pour the concrete. Rain and time conspired to keep them from this task, but less than a week after they left, a group of 39 men, representing 11 churches, arrived for a day of concrete pouring. This was the most support we have received from the churches at one time! God knew what He was doing! The delay in the pouring of the concrete the week before caused the need that these churches answered, pouring not only concrete but sweat equity into THEIR Camp! Many of the men that came and worked stated that they had never been to the Camp before but would certainly return! Praise the Lord!
A concrete mixer was rented for the day.

A bucket line was formed.


And now we have a roof!!
Everyone was sunburned and covered in concrete by the end of the day, including me! With all of that testosterone around, I didn't feel the need to include myself in the bucket brigade so I took pictures. But even that can be dangerous if you get too close!
Maria

Thursday, August 07, 2008

LBN Update


Just a couple of photos to let you see the progress at LBN. The rain has slowed things down, but we have had several days that we beautiful and the construction progresses!
Maria

Monday, August 04, 2008

It Is the rainy season...

Again, another wet team! But, then, it IS the rainy season! We had a great group from Spring Creek Church of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, join us for a week of "fun in the sun"! The weather was beautiful...all the days we didn't work. But then, the travel and "fun" days were dry, which was nice!They continued work on the bathrooms and store.

They tied rebar to prepare to pour concrete on the roof. We didn't ever get to pour the concrete, but everything is ready to get it done this week!

Another part of the group set the posts and started stringing the fence along the riverbank. This will keep the children from falling in the river and, hopefully, keep the animals from grazing (and leaving deposits) on the picnic grounds!

They also leveled and sodded the lower soccer field...
and one gentleman cut steps into the side of the hill especially for me! (I'll bet his wife is short also!)
Since we had so much rain and they were already wet, "river-jumping" became a fun pasttime!

The youth pastor joined in...

as did Jason, a 6'9" youth leader.

I think all the kids had a go at it, including Josh, who fell in...

four times!

When you live out in the "boonies", you make your fun where you can!!

We had a great time with this group and they actually did do a lot of work! We look forward to seeing them back here again one day soon!

Maria