Thursday, March 8, 2012

What We'll Do When We Get Back Home

The last 2 days that the Yoders were here, Domingo and his wife also came to Guate from Petén to visit with us. Actually, they left the night before and rode a bus all night long with their 7 month old daughter. It was really nice to have time to just sit and talk. Usually Domingo and I are so busy with activities that we don't have too much time to do that. Our longest talks are on walks to villages, but usually we are both so out of breath we keep our talks short.

Domingo was able to share a lot of his personal struggles with me and hopefully we can come up with a solution for some of them. One problem is that he spends almost all of his salary every month on gas money getting to the villages. He is the only national missionary with his own truck, and for that reason travels the farthest to unreached villages. After traveling so much, there is not much left every month to support his family. Besides feeding his wife and 5 kids, his oldest girls are in high school, which is another high expense. Because of the family pressures, he has been considering taking a few years off as a missionary. If that happens, the Kekchi missionary work will be set back by just as many years. As a comparison- the other 5 Kekchi missionaries each visit around 2 unreached villages per month. Domingo visits 14.
{James asking Domingo some Kekchi language questions}
To help him out, Shelley came up with the suggestion of starting our Institute projects at his house first. That is the whole point of the Institute anyways, to give national pastors a way to do ministry and still provide for their families. Domingo is currently marking off an area close to his house where we will dig the fish pond and build the turkey house. I will go help him get set up when we get back to Petén and we'll build a couple chicken tractors and get started on his compost bins.

Also, we talked about time management. The men here are like many pastors in the States- they can get so caught up in ministry that they neglect to spend time with their families. The Kekchi pastors have requested that our next KBI module be focused on time-management and boundaries in ministry. Anybody out there want to teach this because I don't think I'm qualified...
{Sharing a meal together}
We were also able to discuss more problems affecting the Institute land. The villagers next door have been causing more problems. 5 families came over to the guard shack and wanted to beat the guard for helping us. There was also a secret meeting to recruit families to come and squat on our land and dare us to kick them off. James Yoder was able to explain to us that in the Kekchi culture, whoever clears the land owns the land. He recommended that we hire people to quickly clear the land for us. This week, several families are clearing all the land 50 meters in from our border with this village. It is a total of 14 acres. We'll plant corn there for now and leave all of the large trees until we are ready to further develop it. This should provide a large buffer zone to prevent people from sneaking over.

And for those of you who are worried, we do have the land titled and possess the deed. The taxes have been paid and nobody can actually take the land. Even if the villagers come over and squat on the land, we have full legal authority to bring in the military and police and evict them. We are just trying to take other easier, less forceful means of prevention.

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: During our first day of clearing the land for the Institute, we found out that a family of howler monkeys (mom, dad and new baby) live on our property. Now Shelley has made me promise that we will leave a corner of our property completely uncleared so that this family doesn't lose their trees. I'm sure we'll probably end up feeding these monkeys too and they'll eventually become official mascots of the Pastor's Institute. We saw footprints the other day of wild boar, but those will not be given the same special treatment and will soon become the official lunch of the Pastors' Institute. Monkeys are lucky that they don't taste very good.


  1. I don't know, "monkey tacos" sort of has a ring to it...

  2. I have never had anything fried that I didn't like!


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