Saturday, December 26, 2009

Almost time to go home - Christmas Day and the day after

Guatemalan art

Christmas Midnight crazyness

Isabella distributing blankets on 12-26-2009

We are headed for the final stretch of our trip. Christmas time has brought a slow down to our service activities in order to take the time to celebrate and because the country practically shuts down here and everybody is on the roads, which makes them even more dangerous. We had a regular turkey dinner yesterday along with our friends' family and another missionary family. It is very refreshing to see so many peole serving in so many ministries here: feeding centers, bible translations, christian video and radio productions are just the latest we have learned about. Isabella and Gregory went back to the village today for another blanket distribution. The people that ca afford it, pay $2 for the blankets, the others are given out for free. In the meanwhile, Norinen and I and the other children met with David Alvarez and his wife. They head another ministry that we support. They provide breakfast, education and some medical care to children in their poor neiborhood in Guatemala City along with several remote villages (in the jungle with no water and electricity) located along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Guatemala for a total of about 1600 children. Yes 1600! Wow! All of this through donations from the USA and Europe. They also have a simple sponsorship program of $30 a month to suport one of the children direvctly. They have now started a school program in some of these remote village, with the goal to have local village teachers graduate by 2017. The goal is for these persons the be able to teach their own people and help break the cycle of poverty in these remote areas, by enpowering the locals. We love this concept. If you are interested to know more about their efforts, I can FW you their monthly email newsletter.
As for the firework picture you see above, well, Guatemala is very interesting. Along with all sorts of small and large fireworks, they sell "bombas" here, which are practically explosives wrapped in newspaper which sound like real bombs. Midnight on Christmas night felt like being under a bombing atack in Iraq. Another round happens at 12 noon on Christmas day. If you are taken by surprise by it, it is quite scary.
Thye kids are now quite ready to go home. Isabella is starting to miss her friends. Emanuela is missing Rosie (the dog). Pietro says he could stay, because going home means going back to school, while Paolo really does not care... Mommy and Daddy need some time to digest all these experiences and some prayer and quite time to try and understand what we are called to do next. In other words we need a vacation now :-)
Mission work and life is hard, not just physically, but also, and probably even more emotionally. So many questions and so few answers.
Here is a song we wrote for our friends for Christmas day: (jingle bells tune)
"Driving through the dust
in an open pick up truck
bumping over stones
and bracing our sore butts.
Patterned skirts and shirts
babies ties on backs
strapping food and clothes
ontop their aching heads
Oh... bang, bang, boom
bang, bang, boom
fireworks fill the sky
1 slap, 2 slap
3 slap, 4
mas tortillas por favor (repeat)
There are many babies here
without their moms and dads
faces without teeth
looking very sad.
The work the missions do
is vital to Mayan's lives
their presence like a light
shining in their eyes."

Shoe shining again (75 cents this time)

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