Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blog from Kelley

Today we arrived in Antigua. We drove about three hours from Lake Atitlan. After we arrived, we ate lunch on our own in groups. I ate with my Mom, Dad and brother Casey at Cafe Barita. The students that went to language school beforehand were able to show their families and friends around the city, see the language school, and the casa they stayed at while at language school in Antigua. It was nice to have an expert with us to show us this wonderful city. As we walked around the city I saw the nicest McDonald's I have ever seen in my life with an awesome interior courtyard. Along with the ancient churchs we saw a huge mercado with many people. The city is very pretty but is very busy with people, markets, cars, motobikes and tuk-tuks. Lindy has bought some more firecrackers so we will enjoy another fireworks display tonight. Most people will not get much sleep knowing that the first van leaves at 4 AM and the rest at 5 AM.

Yesterday at the lake, there were eighteen people that went to zipline through a nature preserve with spider monkeys, butterflies, and a natural gorge with beautiful views of the lake to the south and other waterfalls to the north that lead to the lake. There was a 700' elevation hike up the gorge that took about a half an hour. Then we went on eight separate ziplines that zig-zagged across this gorge, four per side. The ziplines varied in length up to about two hundred feet and in speed up to about 30 mph! Talk about a zip of faith! God had us in His hands as we flew across side to side. Some of us actually were caught by the guides before we flew into the end of the cable or a tree, with the emergency brake. We got a great view of God's beauty while flying through the air.

Even thought the trip has been exciting and full 0f adventure, we are all really tired and want to be home. Everybody says hello and we will see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 9 photos

Into Lake Atitlan

Spider Monkey

Rosby's favorite pinata, Harry Potter

Karley and friend

Day 9 from Marie

Today we had the wonderful opportunity of traveling across the lake (on a massive boat) to a cute little indigenous village. As soon as we staggered onto the shore, several children and women began filling our faces with beautiful jewelry, wood carvings, and colorful bags. This is when I began the daunting task of bargaining. The streets were full of cheery Guatemalans showing off their impressive work.
On our way back to the hotel our boat Captain showed us a cozy little lagoon. Almost everyone jumped from the second level into the cool and cleansing water. Kelly was a stud muffin and jumped from the top about ten times! The lagoon did bring about some challenges (aka trying to get 20, very close to one another, while treading water- in order to take a picture.) J
One adventure led to another, and soon 18 of us found ourselves zipping through the luscious forest. Zip lining in Guatemala is nothing like you’ve done before. We began the journey by climbing 700ft in about one mile. Once we reached the top, we had eight zip line rides down. We had amazing views of the lake, volcanoes, waterfalls, and monkeys! Elliot and Rosby were the champs.
Then after dinner tonight, I had one of the most memorable moments of my life. Steve led us in devotionals. In the beginning of the trip Steve gave everyone a little card that had a fruit of the spirit. We were assigned to keep an eye out for a team member and a Guatemalan that embodied the values. After everyone shared, Steve led us through a very different way of taking communion. Instead of one person simply handing it to everyone else, we gave communion to each other. As we felt called, we would give communion and pray for our friends. God’s presence filled the room as smiles, tears, and laughs were shared. I will never forget this experience of sharing communion with one another, and becoming brothers and sisters in Christ.
P.S. Clarita is the best roommate EVER!!! =)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Day 8 photos

Farewell service

Preparing crafts for VBS

VBS Puppeteers

Lake Atitlan
Kayaking on Lake Atitlan

Monday - Day 8

We had a wonderful farewell service last night - and were amazed at how close we have become to this little church in the past week. We have come to love the young pastor Harold and his wife, the beautiful children of the neighborhood and their families. The welcoming service message last weekend was about being salt and light in the world; the farewell service message last night challenged us to support missions wherever we are in whatever ways we can.

This morning's devotion caused us to think about conspicuous consumption vs compassionate concern; and that what appears to be the right thing to do may not be. A thoughtful group left Guatemala City for the mountainous drive to Lake Atitlan - a place that Liesl calls a cross between Hawaii and Lake Tahoe - as we start our time of rest and reflection.

And we have lots to ponder and pray about.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tom's Creative Blog Title.

Hey Y'all,
Today is our last day in Guatemala City (sniff, sniff) and our last day of home cooking (more sniff, sniff). In the morning we did more construction, with most of the men using pick-axes and shovels to excavate a thick layer of dirt under the seminary. Others took away the wooden planks that were holding the cement in place.
Instead of sitting down at the site to have a large meal/feast, we all drove to the church where we held Vacation Bible School (VBS). Slowly, families sent representatives to pick up the people from our group that they were hosting for lunch.
Jeff and I didn't have to walk very far; we were having lunch in the second story of the church. We ate with the pastor and his wife in their tiny but cozy home. They prepared chicken that easily beat Pollo Campero, tortillas, rice, cantalope, salad, and cantelope juice to drink. It was all delicious, and was accompanied by poor Spanish by us Gringos and hospitality by the Chapinos/Guatemaltecos.
After our lunch, we all loaded into vans and headed back to our hotel. The Liggett boys all took siestas, and then got dressed all snazzy-like for the service tonight. The last time I came to the Farewell Service, we got home at about 3:15 AM; mostly because a semi-truck went off the road. However, this service is known for its length.
Tomorrow we will wake up bright and early to leave for Antigua. Have fun in the 'States!
tom liggett

Photos from home visits on Sunday/Day 7

Maxi and Caesar

David and his hostess, Josefina

One of the moms and babies in the church :)

Lucy's family

Beth and Nic with Lucy

Day 7 from Clary

It’s our last day at the worksite and it’s obvious that everyone is exhausted. Looking down the breakfast table this morning, I saw all tired faces with the exception of Karley who had 3 cups of coffee before 9:00 am.
To back up a little bit, yesterday the group continued pouring concrete in the morning while some of us sat in our “knitting circle” to cut the wire ties for rebar. After lunch, the entire team headed to the church for our last VBS. =( The chaos began as soon as we drove up! The craft for the day consisted of a popsicle stick picture frame decorated with crayons and sticky foam stars which we filled with pictures of the kids. Immediately after arriving, we began taking pictures of the kids and giving them numbers. Upstairs, we had four camera printers set up and we ran back and forth trying to get them printed before craft actually began. After a crazy two hours, every single kid successfully left with a framed picture of themselves and a goody bag!
For dinner we went to the food court at a local mall. The mall made quite an impression as we soon came to realize that it is significantly nicer than the ones in the US. It felt very out of place in the middle of the inner city and the poverty we’ve been working with.
That night I experienced the craziest thunder and lightning rain storm of my life! It was awesome! Only the fact that we were utterly exhausted allowed us to begin to fall asleep. Lightning was lighting up rooms and the thunder felt as though it was shaking the hotel.
Today we had our last breakfast at the site and finished up our portion of work here. For lunch we are all splitting up into groups of two and going to different houses around the village. The general attitude seems to be that of nervousness. Luckily, I am paired with Andrea who speaks fluent Spanish but I feel bad for Karley and Mr. Marty, neither of which know Spanish very well and are paired together.
Tonight we will go to the goodbye church service and tomorrow we head to the lake. This trip has been amazing but after two and a half weeks, I’m ready to be home. =)
We are thankful for all your continuous prayers and look forward to seeing everyone in a few days. =D

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Day 6 from Casey

Danny and Greg with VBS kids

For about a dozen of our team members, the long-awaited journey to Guatemala began with a week of Spanish language school, consisting of five intensive hours of one on one instruction. Each night, we were given about 5 pages of homework to hone the skills and concepts taught that day in class. However, a majority of this time period was spent outside the classroom, in the historic and charming streets of Antigua. In the afternoons, the group had free time to roam and explore each and every corner of the city. From lounging in the internet cafes, visiting a nearby coffee plantation, enjoying a delicious collection of cookies and coffee, to climbing the massive Volcan Pacaya, everyone thoroughly benefitted from their own personal experience.
Exactly a week after departing from the Bay Area, we reunited with the remaining team members at Hotel Spring in Guatemala City, which officially marked the beginning of the mission portion of the trip. This week, we have been working on two separate construction sites about thirty minutes outside of the city. Our main tasks thus far have been tying rebar to support the buildings’ foundations, moving piles of sand and rock, and most recently, mixing and pouring concrete. In the afternoon, a group of us visit the local church to run the VBS (Vacation Bible School) program, which consists of singing and dancing, face painting, Bible stories, a puppet show, and sports to conclude the day. Typically, we then return to Hotel Spring to clean up and get ready for our group dinners, which have been plentiful and filling for all, despite the recent bout of stomach pains experienced by a number of team members. Tomorrow is the finale of our mission work, with the lengthy farewell church service hosted by the locals.
On Monday morning, we are scheduled to drive to Lake Atitlan for a couple days of reflection and rest. On Wednesday, the group arrives in Antigua for a final day of tourism. After about two and a half weeks for some of us, we depart early on Thursday morning for our flight to Dallas, where we have a layover before finally coming home to San Francisco. Here is a list of the funnier moments during the trip:
· Solving all 600 levels of the block game
· Danny eating the concoction at Pollo Campero
· Eating too many breadsticks at Pizza Mia
· Me lighting my napkin on fire at Finca Colombia and almost burning my hand off
· Mrs. Marty accidently calling the soup at the homestay house “malo” (which means bad)