September 11, 2011

Here and There - 9/11

It is a great day to be a patriot: in the United States and in Guatemala. Today in the States, people are remembering the past events of September 11, 2001, already ten years ago. I think everybody remembers where they were that day. I was in 7th grade, sitting in Bible class. What I remember most about 9/11 was the after effects: people uniting in pride and patriotism for their country, people recognizing the evil that is in the world, and searching beyond for hope.

Today in Guatemala, it is Election Day. People everywhere are headed to their hometowns to vote. They recognize the evil that is in their past: bad leaders, broken promises, and civil war – though it is NEVER talked about – and they are reaching beyond for some sort of hope. While many may think they can find salvation in their next president, we see many believers who recognize that their only true hope and salvation is in Christ.

On Friday, we again attended this church, Palabra en Acción. Today the church was a voting station, so we went to the service that they held on Friday instead. The service was very patriotic, with Guatemalan flags and colors everywhere and on everyone. We even had the pleasure of borrowing a few Guatemalan soccer jerseys to join in the spirit. The service showed us that people were fired up to vote for new leaders, and that they are hopeful for change in Guatemala. The service included so much prayer. People in the congregation were literally crying out to God on behalf of their country. The prayers and message again did not focus on endorsing any one political party, but encouraging people to be the change that Guatemala needs, and praying to God to help their country. Whoever said religion and politics can’t be mixed?

We should find out the results of the election later this evening. There are at least six political parties here. In order to win an election, you need more than 50% of the vote. If no party has that many votes, there will be another election held in November between the top two political parties. A new president does not take over until January. We do not know much about the political parties, except that we are highly encouraged to stay out of it, for safety reasons. So far nothing crazy has happened, but that could change after announcements are made about who wins or who is moving onto the next round of elections. But please pray that nothing crazy starts. It only takes a spark.

This weekend, we also had the pleasure of traveling to Sibilia, Guatemala. Let me explain by first introducing you to our new and very dear friends, Kandy and Christian. Kandy works at our school, and their daughter is in my class of first graders. This family has been such a blessing to us. They have welcomed us and made such an effort to make us feel at home. They answer all of our silly questions about living here, give us rides across town, and make sure we don’t get too bored. They have been a demonstration of Christ’s love to us, and I do not know what we would do without them. They are awesome.

So, again this weekend, they included us in their plans. They invited us to visit their uncle who lives in the mountain county of Sibilia. We made the hour drive through the winding mountain roads, and arrived just in time for a 3pm lunch. People here eat lunch at 3pm. We thought we were eating an early supper. But we ate lunch with a lot of her family: uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, sisters, and such. It was great to be a part of a family atmosphere again. Her family also welcomed us, and put forth an effort to speak to us slowly in Spanish. The food we ate was so good too…rice, potatoes, tamales, and turkey – straight from their back yard, literally. I even had a cup of coffee, which was the first cup of coffee I ever liked. I asked how it was so different and so good. Apparently, they grind the coffee beans with corn, and then roast it. Weird, but so good!

We enjoyed a walk around town, which was much quieter than Xela. No fireworks, barking dogs, or crazy traffic. Before we left, a couple of their backyard turkeys got in a fight. One of the turkeys did not come out so well, and so they bagged him up and sent him home with one of Kandy’s relatives to be slaughtered. It was fascinating.

This week is a short week at school, because it is Independence Day on Thursday. We are planning to head out of town for a couple of days to Panajachel, on Lake Atitlan. Google it, it’s beautiful.

But again, please pray for Guatemala as they go through the transition time of changing leadership. They need it.

Grace and Peace,

 We love Guatemala.
 In Sibilia.
 Another cemetery. It's like a small, very colorful city.
 The beautiful mountains surrounding Sibilia. Credit for photography - Collin.

The turkey being led to the slaughter. It had a good life.