Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ministry Day 2

For this team we needed a 4x4 vehicle for 10 people. The only thing available to us was a Mitsubishi 5 passenger truck (5 inside and 5 outside). That is what we used for our three days of ministry. The map above shows our route on Day one. The one below is zoomed in a little bit more and shows our route for day 2. You may not believe it, but we were traveling by truck for more hours on Day 2, even though it was a shorter distance. First, we left the hotel around 7am and drove to San Francisco and down the dirt road past our house. 3 hours into our trip we met Domingo (the yellow route). From there we followed him one hour to our first village.
That village was one we had visited last summer where the first person to accept Christ there has been attending our Pastor's training sessions. He could not get anybody to come to see the program, so after eating breakfast with him and his family, we prayed and continued on another hour down the road.

When we arrived at the second village (another pastor who attends our training), the turkey soup wasn't ready yet. We actually saw how much time was left because one of the ladies in the mission was still butchering the turkey in the river.
While we were checking out the river and the makeshift ferry used for cars during the rainy season, Abelino mentioned that on the other side was a village where three families had accepted Christ, but almost nobody visits there. Knowing we had time before lunch I asked how to get there. From one side we could see a truck parked on the other bank. It was a 4x4 and even though the owner wasn't around, there was somebody there who could rent it to us with a driver to take us to El Chilar. To get to the other side the boy below could paddle us across with our chairs, puppet stage, puppets, speaker, but in small groups.
The canoe was extremely wobbly so of course I waited until the second group.
When I got on I asked the owner how often he tipped over. He smiled, shrugged, and said, "Sometimes."
I was really hoping for a "never" but at least it wasn't "lots".
Once we were on the other side we all climbed into the back of the truck. Some of you may not know that Guatemala has a law about how many people can be in the back of a pickup truck. Without the cattle rails the limit is 6 people but with the rails you are legally allowed 16 passengers. We were well under the limit but we still had a hard time finding room for our last Gringo...
What was supposed to be a 5-10 minute drive was actually around 30 minutes. That's ok, because I know that Domingo either can't tell time, or purposefully tells me what I want to hear and not the true time.
Upon arriving the people there were thrilled. One of the new Christians there is also the mayor of this small village and he expressed how happy he was. This was only the fourth visit ever by a Christian to the village. They heard about Christ through the radio ministry.
In the skit Amy wrote about the "Sin Chair" Andres would sit in the chair and bungee cord himself in. In this way he couldn't escape after getting caught in the trap. Everybody always enjoyed seeing his friends try and get him out.
After everything else failed, then Jesus (played here by Jay) would come and free him and offer him his hands so he could get up. Andres was great for this part because he was so animated unlike most Guatemalans that are somewhat shy and reserved.
After about 45 minutes we left and headed back. The turkey soup was ready (I think it's my favorite Kekchi dish), so after lunch we set up the puppet stage and did our program again.
After this village we had to make a traveling decision. We could leave the way we came (4 hours back out to the highway, past the hotel from where we had left and then 1.5 hours in) or continue on the road that passed the next village but cut through a private farm. The trick here was that on both sides of the farm the gates were locked and you had to talk to the families who lived on the farm and had the keys, and hope they would trust you to cut through the farm or even that they would have the keys with them. Knowing it was riskier, it would also save us 5.5 hours of traveling time so I decided to go for it.
Thankfully, Domingo is well known and the people did not have a problem letting us in. This farm belongs to a very wealthy Guatemalan with over 7,000 head of cattle. It was a very impressive drive.
Our last stop was San Miguel Alto Uno. They had fixed chicken soup so we sat down to eat first. This was one of our first Kekchi villages to visit several years ago when there were no Christians. Now there is a large group that has organized a mission, is holding weekly services and is about to begin construction on a building. Along with that, they have invited us to their first Baptism service on August 24th.
We set up in the same house we first showed a Kekchi movie in 2 years ago.
The place was packed and everybody really enjoyed the entire program.
After a long day the team caught their second wind and did a great job. After the skits almost everybody shared their testimonies with the village, and then the mission leaders took turns welcoming us to the village and thanking us for coming and sharing with them.
1.5 hours later we were back at the hotel. 9.5 hours total in the truck with everybody switching between being in the back and riding in the cab with the air conditioning (that only sometimes worked).

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