Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rainy season is upon us

Last week, the rain started in our area of Guatemala. Now we have to remember to take umbrellas with us everywhere. Harking back to the days of our mothers, I have to remember if I have clothes on the line! But it is settling the dust and bringing out the flowers. Because it is cooler in the afternoons/evenings, jackets are usually needed and we have fires in the fireplace often!

Monday, April 27, 2009

What do you do...?

What do you do when four people show up at your house for a "lunch meeting" at 1:00 PM...a week early?

You feed them tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches!

Such is life!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2009 Guatemala Field Conference

La Mision, in San Lucas, was the site of CAM's annual Guatemala Field Conference. It was a time of relaxation and renewing of the body and spirit in a beautiful setting!

Our speaker for the weekend was Roger Raymer, pastor of Lakeridge Bible Church in Mesquite, TX. He did a wonderful study on faith and how that relates to us, using Hebrews 11. As much as we enjoyed his time with us, we won't let him come back without his lovely wife Judy!
The only drawback to the location of the conference was the pig farm next door. We prayed often that the "Swine #9" would blow the other direction! And those of us that stayed overnights at the mission house got serenaded each morning by excited pigs...sounded like at least a feeding time (5:00 AM). It gave a whole new meaning to "squeal like a pig"!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cutting trees

Finally, we are beginning to cut the trees on the mountain. This must be done before we can build more around the existing cabins, as much to raise money for the Camp as to clear areas for building. Oxen are used to move the logs from where they are cut to the side of the road so the truck can pick them up. I was surprised at how trained the oxen were! With just a couple of hand signs, the young man could make them go forward, back up and step over the log so they could pull it. It was pretty amazing!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Semana Santa

Semana Santa - Holy Week - is a week-long celebration in Latin American countries like Guatemala. Many people are off from work, the banks only work half-days, the schools are out and everybody that can comes to Antigua! Although Antigua is famous all over the world for its celebrations of Semana Santa, on a much smaller scale you can find the same type of celebrations in almost every town.
Depending on the time of the processional, as much as 12 hours before begins the making of the alfombra. The alfombra, (carpet or rug) is elaborately made from such diverse items as flowers, vegetables, plastic or paper mache figures, colored sand or colored sawdust.
As much as a year before, the artisians decide on a pattern. These can be bought in the stores or handmade and be original designs. Because they are large, boards are placed across the design for the artists to use.
As I mentioned, the designs are elaborate and take many hours to complete. Usually whole households work on them together, placing them in front of their home or place of business. We watched this particular one being made, started before dawn and finished minutes before the processional passed over it.

Many people watch the alfombras being made, but the processionals themselves draw hugh crowds. Each Catholic church has its own processional and route. In Antigua, there are many processionals, each being done by a different Catholic church. All of the surrounding villages have one, so there are several each day, starting on Monday of Holy Week until the Sunday of Easter.

The members of the processionals are usually male, although we have seen a couple with women. The men are in either costume or robes and are carrying the "float" from their church. These men represent the Roman soliders that arrested and crucified Christ. They are proceeded by men in robes carrying burning incense, which is very strong and distinctive.

The "floats" are massive, weighing hundreds of pounds. This one pictures Jesus carrying His cross to Calvary. The women we saw carried a "float" of the Virgin Mary and was maybe half this size.

There are approximately 40 men carrying this "float". It is carried very slowly and with a side-to-side motion. As they walk over the alfombra, it is destroyed. All of that work is demolished in minutes!

Occasionally you will see an alfombra that celebrates the resurrection of Christ. And on Resurrection Sunday (Pascua), many of the evangelical churches have sunrise services. Pray that more people will focus on the Resurrection and the payment that was made for us. Pray we have wisdom in presenting this Good News to all of Guatemala!

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Did you know there is a verb "to make tortillas"? We can't find it in any dictionary, but the ladies in Patzun said there was!Here we are making tortillas for the team I helped with in Patzun. The big, round griddle, a comal, is heated by propane gas in this case. In many homes, they are a piece of sheet metal over a fire!

Our group had trouble with their flights, so the young ladies from the earliest arrival got to help and received a cultural lesson!

I did better this time around! Two years ago, these same ladies tried to teach me how to make tortillas and I caused quite a bit of amusement!

Andrea and Katherine found out that if you don't keep your hands wet enough, you tear up the tortilla! On the other hand, if they are too wet, it tears up also! Since the Guatemalan women begin learning as early as age 4 how to do this, we were a little behind in the process!