Apr 3, 2009

Flashback Friday #11

Flashback to April 2008. Yes, this time last year we were on a short term mission trip to Guatemala. Reagan led a small prayer walk team to visit some of the K'ekchi' people that our friends David and Regina work with.

Here's our team (minus Reagan):
Dewayne and Martha, Dr. Tony, Jimmy, Wayne, Matt, David and Regina, and me at T.G.I. Fridays.

We arrived in Guatemala City on a Thursday. We left the next morning and traveled to the town where David and Regina live, Coban. It's about a 4 hour drive from the city. We only stayed in Coban long enough to go through orientation with their supervisor, Jim. Then we loaded up our supplies and headed to Chisec.

Here is a photo of the hotel that we stayed at in Chisec. It was under construction.

Here's a shot of our room. Nothing fancy. But it did have air conditioning and hot water. Both are luxuries I've never had on any other mission trip to a third world country. And by the end of the day, I didn't care too much where I slept because I was exhausted. Why, you might ask? Because we walked "41 miles", to quote Wayne, the first day. But more about that in a moment.

Here I am enjoying a wonderful cup of coffee bright and early in the morning. And I use the words "enjoying" and "coffee" loosely. I'm not a coffee drinker. And when I do drink coffee, it's about 1/4 cup of coffee, 1/4 cup of milk, and half a cup of sugar. But it does the trick.

Now, on to the walking. We were told that we'd be hiking some. And by "some", they meant "41 miles" to the first stop. We drove for a while. We got out of the trucks. Then we walked. And we walked. And we walked.

Finally, we climbed a hill to a house, and we stopped. Why am I sitting there against that house, with my cool shades and 50 gallon straw hat on? Because, if I didn't sit, I was going to pass out. It was HOT. And this little white girl was not used to hot or walking "41 miles." And that was just our FIRST STOP.

I knew that no matter how hot or tired I got, when we made it to the village that we had come to pray at, it would be worth every minute and every step it took us to get there.

So, we walked some more. And then we kept walking. And this is why.

This is the site of a future K'ekchi' church. At the time of our visit there was only a few believers in this small village. They were currently meeting in the home of one of the believers. But their goal, their prayer, was to build a church here. We were able to pray with them and for them.

And then we ate.

This is caldo. It's a soup with chicken and some local spices. The K'ekchi' don't have much to offer North Americans, but they offer us their best. Now, I have to admit, before coming on this trip, I did a lot of praying and fasting. I struggled with the fact that I'd be asked to eat food prepared in a small village shack in remote Guatemala. And, we had to eat with our hands. There were no utensils. And I didn't want to offend ANYONE by snubbing what they offered.

In addition to caldo, we were served flour tortillas. Here are the ladies patting out the tortillas and then cooking them on a pan over open flames. This is a typical kitchen in a rural Guatemalan home.

And here's one of about 5 stacks of tortillas that were brought out for us.
But let me just tell you, when you walk and walk and walk, you will eat that caldo and those tortilla shells like they are the best thing you've ever put in your mouth. I seriously had NO problem eating the caldo and I even enjoyed the tortillas with it.

We made several stops that day. At each stop, we ate. And we prayed. And of course, we took a few pictures. Here is a photo of me and Martha at one of the next places we visited that day. These are a couple ladies in the church who are involved in their WMU. They are very active with women's ministry in the K'ekchi churches. I wish our women at home were as dedicated as these women when it comes to serving and ministering to the women in their church and town.

This next photo is at probably our third or fourth stop. On this stop we were introduced to a corn drink. No caldo and tortillas here. It's kind of like drinking cornmeal that you mix to make cornbread. I have to say I was not expecting this. And by this time of the day, we'd already eaten about three times, so we were actually pretty full. Jim, David and Regina's supervisor told us at this stop that if we didn't think we could drink this, to just step outside. Well, I was going to pray my way through it and try it. I accepted a cup of the drink. I took a big gulp. And, as you can see by my face, I was not nearly strong enough in my faith to handle this.
So, I handed my cup to Reagan and I got up and followed a few other team members outside. Want to know what happened next? Some of the K'ekchi' ladies followed us outside. WITH BIGGER CUPS. So, I ended up with a bigger cup than the one I had left inside.

At our last stop of the day after we prayed, guess what they gave us. The corn drink. Remember that game on Sesame Street, "One of these things is not like the other."? That's what this picture reminds me of.
One person in the picture above was more eager than the other two to drink the corn drink.

I think I only drank one or two sips at this stop. I just couldn't hold any more.

This was our second day in the field. See that hill? We climbed about three that size to get to where we were going. But we didn't eat caldo when we got where we were going. And we didn't drink the corn drink. We were given coffee. Only it tasted more like tea. Hot, sweet tea. It was my favorite drink of all the places we visited.

This is the Guatemalan missionary that went everywhere with us. His name is Bro. Federico. We loved him. He thought we were all so funny. He nearly killed us North Americans. We were not used to walking as much as he and his people are.

The very last trek of the second day was a really long one. And it was up a rather steep mountain. Jim told us that it was much more difficult than any of the other walks we'd made and that if we doubted that we could make it, we needed to stay back at the vehicles and pray. Guess who was one of the people who stayed behind. Yeah, that would be me. But it was all good. Jimmy, Wayne and Martha stayed back too. And we had an opportunity to pray for the rest of the team and to witness to some workers who were unloading some things to carry up the mountain to the village that our team had just gone up. Wayne witnessed in sign language. Jimmy handed out tracks. And I spoke what little Spanish I could to ask the man in the picture below if Jesus was in his heart. He said he was a believer.

Here's a picture of our team on the last morning of our time in the field.

This was at a Sunday morning church service that we got to attend. In their church, the men sit on one side of the building and the women sit on the other.

After church we ate. After we ate, we left. On our way to our vehicles, this little boy followed us. Look at what's in his hand.
Yes, it's a chicken head. Yes, I saw him eating it. With a tortilla shell.

After we got back to Coban, we checked into a hotel for the night. It was probably the nicest hotel we've stayed in while visiting them. (This mission trip was our second time to visit them.) They had towel animals on our bed, kind of like we were on a cruise or something.

The beds were WONDERFUL. There was no air conditioning. But with the windows opened, it was pretty cool at night.

And the furniture was beautiful. Very heavy and dark. Antique-looking.

Here's a photo of Wayne, Jimmy, Reagan and me at the coffee farm right around the corner from David and Regina's apartment. Several people wanted to buy coffee from there, so David let us make a quick trip over there before we left Coban.

After we left Coban, we went back to Guatemala City. On our last full day in country, David and Regina took us to Antigua to tour a Jade factory and do a little shopping in the market. Here, I'm helping Wayne pick out some jewelry for Susie. Later, at the market, we were shopping buddies. He had money to spend, and I knew just enough Spanish to help him spend it. He'd tell me what he was willing to pay for something and I'd talk with the vendors and try to get them down to that price. It was fun.

Our last meal in country was at my favorite restaurant, Nias. They serve the best drinks there. I can't remember what it's called but it's orange juice and soda. And it's served ICE COLD. I love it.

And those are my words.

EDITED: For More Mission Trip posts, visit Kelly's Korner.

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Regina and David said...

Aww... that was a great week! We enjoyed all of you soo much! Had a great time! But, I'm still sore, hahaha.

K Storm said...

There is nothing like a mission trip! That was something with all the walking and food. The ones I have been on we fix our own. I have never been in that situation before.

Suburban Housewife...Not so much said...

Oh this blog made me want to go back to Honduras!!! Thanks for this post to renew my spirits!

Tara G. said...

Wow- that's a lot of walking!! I'm not sure my stomach could have handled some of the food after walking, being so hot and faint- that's where God's grace would have had to take over for me! The furniture was very pretty!

Beth McC. said...

What an awesome trip! My brother went to Guatemala and I loved hearing about his trip! I loved your pictures! Thanks for sharing!

Summer said...

What an awesome trip! Love the pics!

Have a Happy Friday and a Great Weekend
Summer :0)

Kaz and Amy said...

Wow! What an awesome trip! I loved looking at the all the pictures! I'm sure your life was touched so much by this trip!

I just found your blog and love it! I'm a new follower!

Stacy said...

I enjoyed reading about your trip. You even had me contemplating wether or not I could have stomached the food. It's truly amazing what people can do through the power of Christ.

Blessings to you,