Friday, July 29, 2011

Sunday in Poptún

The team is at Tikal today. Jimmy downloaded all of their photos for me, but I don't know enough about what happened the last two days to share yet. We couldn't find a 4-wheel-drive vehicle large enough to get all of us to the villages, so the boys and I stayed home this time. We will go again in the future. It was for the best anyway since the second day they ended up ditching their vehicle and riding in a couple of wobbly canoes. Without life jackets for the boys, I really wouldn't have been very comfortable with that. God knows how much a mama can handle. They have had 3 good days of ministry though. They come back tired. The second day they didn't even eat supper, they just all went to bed. Last night was pretty late too, but we at least all got a meal together.

I didn't share about Sunday, but we all had a great day together. The Xela guys hadn't arrived yet, but we took Jay, Colonel, and Amy to Poptún to visit Mateo's church. It is the new Kekchi church plant that we have been attending.
This particular Sunday they had it in a barrio on the outskirts of Poptún. A family walks from this neighborhood an hour each way to come, so this week they held the services at their home. There are no other churches in this neighborhood, so once Mateo gets his church established, they might start a Kekchi mission here.
{Jay sharing his testimony}

They were all so kind to our friends. They invited each of them to share their testimony. They wanted to get to know them a little.
{Colonel sharing his testimony}

They had a great time with Colonel's name. In Kekchi, "Colonel" means Savior! So there were a lot of jokes having to do with that.
{Amy sharing her testimony}

This is what I love about Amy. As soon as she got up there, they asked her to sing a song in English for them to hear. Amy is such a good sport she was going to do it. We told them that we would all get up there at the end and sing a hymn together in English that they knew in Kekchi. We did and then they sung it in Kekchi. It was beautiful!

Sunday evening we went to Villa Maya for dinner. This is one of our favorite places in all of Petén. The crocodile wasn't there to feed tortillas to this time, but we still had a wonderful time. It is just a lovely place.
{Like father like son!}

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: During the week leading up to the team getting here I have been redoing the curtains for our puppet stage and getting costumes ready for the puppets. Once I got all the puppets laid out I realized Silas did not like them. Jonah thought they were fun, but Silas didn't trust them. Puppets can be creepy. One night I got up to get some water and came back and found the witch doctor in my bed...
I jumped! Jimmy thinks he's funny.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Believers in Esfuerzo!

This missions team is compiled of people from all over. Jay, our future team mate, got here last week. Amy and Colonel got here Saturday, they are friends from Jimmy's home church in KS. Amy is a writer who comes down quite often. We are so thankful that she is willing to give up vacation time to come down here and work. She has written so many things for us over the years and wrote the 2 skits the team is using this week. Colonel was a youth worker back when Jimmy was in high school and they went on lots of missions trips together... Amy too. He clearly has the gift of evangelism. This is his first time in Guatemala. We have a need here that fits Colonel perfectly, so he and Jimmy have already been talking about him coming back down again.
{Amy & Colonel}

Monday morning, 4 more guys joined our team. They rode a bus all night long to get to Petén. We met Juan and Andrés (back row center) in language school in Xela. They attended the same church as us. They were just starting in the Boggs' seminary that year. They have since finished. Juan is still helping in that church and Andrés has began working with another missionary in the town of Esperanza, close by. He is training to take over that Baptist church as the pastor I think.
Nehemias (bottom) came to know the Lord through Nery and the church that the Boggs are starting in Solola on their property. He has since taken over for Nery as the pastor. We had never met him before, but Jay met him last summer when he worked with the Boggs for a month and wanted Nehemias to be a part of this team. (If the Boggs read this we have said nothing to Nehemias about coming to work with us in Petén, but I cannot speak for Jay;) Levi (back row, left) is a Mennonite from Texas who came down to help out a friend. He has been here long enough to learn Spanish. He is friends with Andrés and attends his church.

So that is everyone on this team.

Monday was a planning day. Everybody met together and went over who was going to be doing what and got to know each other a little bit. Tuesday they hit the road...

The first stop was Se' Tul. This is where Domingo lives and also where the Kekchi radio station is. Domingo is the national missionary that located these villages after they called into the radio station. Here is everyone at the town well.
While they were there a girl came to draw water, so the guys were nice and got it for her.
The team had been invited to see the radio station and share a greeting on the air... yikes! That always makes me nervous.
They did a good job saying hello!

Then they began their hour long trek to the village of Esfuerzo. Jimmy went there 3 weeks ago for the first outreach in this village. Today will be the second.
The town sent 6 horses to meet the team to help them on their journey.
The saddles were a little different than what I think any of them were used to. They are not very deep from front to back.
The team took turns riding the horses.
Someone please ask poor Jay about his leg cramp! I'm sure he will enjoy telling you about it.
It is a long, hot trek up a mountain. They had supplies to carry too.
Nehemias is a ham. He always has a good time!
Finally they could see the village of Esfuerzo.
This village has only been around for a couple years. The villagers are squatting on some farmers land.
When the team got there, lunch had already been prepared for them.
This was very kind of the village.
Here are some of the people who came to see the presentation.
The team started off with a wordless skit.
Andrés is stuck in sin (the chair) and the rest of the guys keep trying to think of ways to get him free.
Then they began the puppet skit, which included a beautiful presentation of the Gospel. It was very clear. Amy wrote a story that was very relatable for them.
See our stalk of corn?
The people standing in the front are the new believers. These are the first Christians in the entire village. Some accepted Christ after last week. The 4 on the end on the right put their faith in Christ today!
Please keep praying for the village of Esfuerzo. Pray for the new believers and for the new mission that has been started there. Soon we hope to see more come to know the Lord and a church where they can all grow and worship together.

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: On the way there, there was one casualty... Jimmy's pants! I'm sure it had something to do with a horse, but he ripped his pants from his knee almost to his belt! Jimmy owns one pair of bicycle shorts and thankfully he chose today to wear them under his pants! The pants were Eddie Bauer rip stop... haha! Domingo asked how old they were and Jimmy said, 4 years. Domingo replied, "Well of corse they are going to rip!" He told Jimmy to get some wool pants, they are reliable. Domingo got a good laugh, so did the rest of the team.

UPDATE: Jimmy's pants were ripped while he was gracefully jumping across a river onto a log. He would like to state that unfortunately his pants were not as flexible as his legs were at that moment...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Plumbing and Power

Somehow our pipes got stopped up. Maybe there was stuff in them that dried up while we were gone, but since we got back every time you flushed the toilet the shower would burp and sometimes even toilet paper would come up. It was worse if somebody was IN the shower and then another innocent person out of habit flushed the toilet. That was gross. Finally last Friday we got the plumber to come down from Santa Elena to check it out. I don't mind doing all the plumbing for water coming into the house and have repaired and replaced many of those pipes, changed the kitchen and bathroom sink drains, replaced faucets, replaced our pump...etc, but I do not work on toilet drainage pipes. I let the expert handle this very gross and very important job. Because of the way the pipes would slowly drain out I thought it was possible there was a problem with the septic tank, but thankfully that was not the issue, there was just a big back up.

The plumber arrived at 7:30 am on his nephew's motorcycle ready to get to work. They quickly cut out a section of pipe and using a 1/2 in. pipe flushed water up the pipe and broke up the plugged area. They had dug a hole where the pipe exited the house and let everything dump into that hole. Then they scooped out the paper into a bucket I provided, and got to work fixing the pipe.

I thought they were going to need money to go buy some connections, but instead the plumber asked for newspaper. I don't have any laying around so then he asked if he could use our gas stove top to melt the replacement section of pipe to make his own connection. I found some printer paper instead and he got to work on that.
I'm not sure how plumber's do it in the States, but I can't imagine too many of them starting a fire in the customer's backyard to fix their pipes. Either way they got the job done.

After the pipe was repaired they dug a hole in another part of yard and filled in the hole around the pipe with the new dirt. Of course our dogs were right on this new disgusting smell and wanted to dig down to find the source. I sprinkled some chili powder around the area and they haven't messed with it since.

Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes. Total cost: $30. Not having the toilet flush into your shower: priceless.

Update on the power lines drooping at shoulder level in our front yard: They came about a week and a half later to fix our power lines the right way. We had been bumped to the bottom of the list since we actually had power, which I understand. It turns out that it was the metal pipe where our wires leave the house, which all of the houses around here have, that was causing the problem after all. They circumvented it, so maybe our wires won't melt again anytime soon.
Since we have been back our breaker kept tripping if we had more than one large item on at a time during the day. (Everything in our house is on one breaker.) At night when we were running the window units in ours and the boys' rooms we couldn't turn on any lights. This seems to have helped with that problem.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jay's Here

One of our interns came back! This is his survey trip before he begins deputation (raising his support to live here full-time). We picked him up from the airport Monday night.

He is here to set future ministry goals, look at housing, get materials for his display, find out living expenses, and anything else that you do when planning on moving somewhere. He will be doing an internship in Kentucky while he is scheduling meetings, then he will begin deputation, then once his support is raised he will move to Petén. We are excited about having a team mate!
Today they went to Poptún to meet with Mateo and Domingo. They were the voices for the puppet skit that Amy wrote. Amy is coming down again for a full week of outreach to 9 different Kekchi villages. These are villages with either no work or a brand new one. Please pray for this! Another friend from Jimmy's home church is coming too along with 2 old Guatemalan friends that we haven't seen since language school! It is going to be a great week!
Mateo and Domingo recorded the voices in Kekchi and Jimmy will edit them and add some sound effects. The team will go village to village presenting the Gospel through this puppet skit. Please pray for this outreach.

This evening Jay got to sit in on our Kekchi class with our tutor, Tutor #4. I have not posted about him yet, but we have been studying with him since our first week back.
Poor Jay, Tutor #4 pauses a lot to think about more examples to share with us as we are going over vocab or sentences. Each time Jay thought Tutor #4 was waiting on him to try and pronounce the word or read the sentence. He would just go for it! He was a good sport and sounded pretty good. Kekchi is hard to just jump into. We have fun trying to pronounce things and laugh at ourselves a lot. Tutor #4 gets a good laugh too!

We are pretty sure that Jimmy has dengue again. Actually there is a lot of stuff happening to our family right now and we would really appreciate some prayers if you would remember and think to pray for us!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: Jay was hungry when we picked him up from the airport, so we took him by Pollo Campero before heading out of town. He order some all white meat chicken nuggets. We joke that only gringos must order these, because they always have to make them fresh and it takes 5+ minutes. They must have a sensor because they never want us to sit right by the window and wait because it messes up their time and they can't have a record of anyone waiting for 5 minutes. They always ask us to backup a little bit, so the sensor doesn't read us while we wait. Glad our funny eating doesn't mess up their stats!

Another thing we noticed is that they always give gringos ranch dressing as their sauce. One time when we were standing inside at the counter I saw their buckets of sauce. The ranch had a big label in front of it that read, gringo. Very thoughtful of them!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


While we were gone, the village of Esfuerzo called into the radio station and said that around 10 families were interested in learning more about this God and asked for a visit.
{The Village of Esfuerzo}

Domingo was waiting until we got back so that the first time we visited we could take our projector and show a movie. In that way the people could see the good news instead of just hear about it. The first day I could travel with him was July 3rd. All that he knew was that there was no road to this village and it was a 30-45 minute walk. He told me to be at his house at 7am, Sunday morning to start the trip.

Now that's early enough for a Sunday morning, but Domingo's house is 3 hours away from ours, so I left at 4am. The night before Lico asked to go along, so I swung by and picked him up at 4:30. Lico knows a little Kekchi from his time in the war and because of his desire to be a pastor, everybody thought this would be a good opportunity for him as well.

Besides being a normal village visit for us, this was also a scouting trip for a group that arrives July 23rd. Domingo is notorious for giving inaccurate information about distances, locations, travel time...etc. Domingo travels so much to new places searching for villages that it's a wonder he can remember where they all are and besides that he is very optimistic about how fast I drive.

From Domingo's house we drove 15 minutes and asked permission to park the truck in somebody's driveway?...yard?... I don't know how to describe it but it was in front of their house. Then we began walking. Domingo had arranged for a horse to meet us to carry our bags and the speaker, but my only bag was a backpack with my laptop and projector in it. The projector wasn't padded, and I didn't want to trust $3,000 worth of equipment to a horse so I decided to just carry it. Plus Shelley's dad just bought us a new bulb, which is a huge deal since we were way over on the hours those things are supposed to last.
{Horse with the bags}

It was only supposed to be a thirty minute walk anyway. We started walking at a pretty good pace and 30 minutes into the hike I realized we were only halfway there. At one point we crossed a river on a board...
but I felt safe after seeing the horse cross first.
And don't think that it was a nice flat stroll, this was a steep hike up and down several hills in the mud, in the jungle.
Lico and Domingo kept offering to carry my bag, but I heard the sighs of relief when I declined their help. I didn't think it would be fair to turn down the horse and then have them carry everything for me.

We arrived at the village but had to walk down the hill and then up another one to get to the house where they had prepared breakfast.
I had just eaten at Domingo's so now I had two breakfasts in me (4 eggs, 6 tortillas and 2 large servings of beans) and to drink they had warm cans of coke. Warm coke might not sound that good, but not everyone here boils their water long enough, so warm coke is ideal. It is also very generous of them. Then it was time to walk back to the other side of the village, down a hill and up another one, to get to the school building where the meeting was taking place.
Domingo and his brother, Abelino, had been there the night before with a band from the closest church to here (30 minute drive + an hour walk).
The band had placed their instruments, speakers and generator on horses and then hiked back and spent the night in the village for the two services. This saved us from worrying about transporting a generator, although we did attach a gas can to the horse.

We got everything set up and had a great turnout!
These photos were taken at the beginning, even more showed up soon after.

We announced our evangelistic group that would be back on July 26th and said our goodbyes. Then we walked down the hill and back up to the house where we had eaten before. 2 hours later and now it was time for lunch. They had chicken soup prepared and it was delicious. Caldo (or soup) is my favorite Kekchi meal. Another can of coke and a bottle of Pepsi for the road and we were saying our goodbyes.
{Lico is in the background and Flat Stanley is in the photo because of a project we are doing for a SS class}

Down a hill and at the top of the next one Domingo was tired so he stopped and called a friend who promised to bring a horse and carry it out for him.
Abelino, Domingo's brother, had ridden his horse in the day before and left with us. He kept offering me the horse and I would decline. Finally, with 20 minutes left in our hike, Abelino got off and Domingo said, "Brother, just get on the horse!"
For the record, I was walking faster with my bag than the horse and the two Guatemalans were before I got on it. After lugging my big Gringo self up there I felt like the horse was going to stop and call a buddy to come get me.

Along the way I got a lot of lessons in corn, fertilizer beans, field burning, orchids and mud. It was a fun trip and I look forward to doing it again soon. The best part was that at the end of the road is a village where there was no church or Christians, but now there will be both soon!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: Nothing makes you feel like you're in the middle of a war zone like seeing one of these with 2 guys with their fingers on the trigers as you pull out of the grocery store!
They extended the state of siege in Petén for another 30 days. We wish it would last forever but know that it won't. Once most of the military moves out, all the cartel wars will start right back up again. Notice the sign says, "Welcome to the Maya Mall!"
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