O, Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder... consider all the worlds They hands have made......
That song permeated my brain for a few minutes this morning as I came to work for the first time after our Guatemalan trip. The wonder and beauty and diversity God has established in His creation is mind boggling.
I actually didn't take that many pictures. A picture cannot capture it. The varied undulation of the slopes..the steep valleys which merge into the coast of a town on a lake surrounded by mountains, which nestle little towns within theirsomewhat rugged terrain. A volcano here and there, highways snaking around these mountains in their serpentine fashion with busy cars and busses transporting natives to work and back. The people, who, like mountain goats, traverse up and down to get almost anywhere...the flat places are noticably rare. The shanty dwellings interspersed with one another indistinguishable as to where one begins and ends.
The resourcefulness of the native people as they work their plot of ground and raise stunningly gorgeous crops on small plots, some of which have to be on 45 degree terraces is very admirable to those of us who are used to tractors, equipment, and machinery to make the work lighter. Centuries of survival have given these people wisdom about how to get the most out of the least.
Guatemala reminded me a lot of Haiti...it is poor, somewhat trashy, but a notch up from Haiti in many ways.
We worked at Eagles Nest, an orphanage on top of a mountain, about 3 hours from Guatemala City. (3 hours on a good day...it took us about 6 hours going up there!) A beautiful setting. Go to www.eaglesnestint.org to learn more about this orphanage. Larry and Claire Boggs are the missionaries largely repsonsible for this work. They began as missionaries to Guatemala about 40 years ago. God gave her the ministry of looking after orphans. They helped adopt out about 1500 orphans..3 of whom came to two couples on this team. When adoptions were closed by the US from Guatemala, they had to change their plans. Now they have an orphanage, a school for these kids and about 200 local children, and it is run by Americans. A very nice setting and quite organized with a good staff.
illi and 3 others from our team when up to Hue Hue (Way-way) to put a roof on a church. They built the trusses up there and got it on with the tin over it in four days! Incredible! THe place where they went was truly very primitive with no accommodations for tourists...it was REAL Guatemalan life...no running water and no electricity. They stayed at a hotel about 6 miles down from where they worked. The 6 mile 5,000 foot drop of hairpin curves took them anywhere from a half an hour to an hour to negotiate!!! Their truck spun a bit when there was an oil slick one day! It was around 12,000 feet elevation. a came back burnt and he is still peeling!
When they got there they realized they were missingspecial screws they needed. Somewhere one box had been lost...perhaps going through customs? These special screws are not even sold at Lowes or Home Depot. They didn't want to go back down the mountain to see if by some remote possibility they could find them so they went to this little place on the mountain on the far chance they would have some. Sure enough...they had thousands...what a God thing that was!!! Larry testified that the God was the same up there as he is to us down here and he was so encouraged.
The people up there are so poor they can't send their kids to the free school because they can't afford the pencils and paper. They did bring coffee and snacks to the workers and when they were done with that roof there was some tears. It was reported that the coffee was amazing.
Eagles Nest is basically a time share that went belly up and was purchased for this ministry. Thus it has some very nice features...separate apartments, some convention meeting places. They rent out the property for churches, reunions and other uses which helps to fund the orphanage and school. Teams come to work there year around. We painted the apartments. That was the biggest project.Some of the gals on the team played a lot with the kids which is always a thrill. We saw some very cute babies!
I was sick a couple of days so I read the book, No God but One by Nabeel Qureshi. A very good follow up to his book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. After I got better I did a lot of painting from ladders as many people get dizzy on ladders.
The weather was so beautiful. Flowers were blooming along the walkways. A foursome group of ladies from TX came while we were there and we got to know them a bit. One of them is a regular for many years.
While there I was thinking if I would come back again? It occurred to me it would be a great place to bring my grandchildren who would like to come. If they are old enough and the details could be worked out it would be a clean, safe place to get some first hand mission training. They would love the babies and the boys could play basketball and soccer with the kids.
Next year we plan on going back to Lifeline, at least one more time. i don't know if we will go to Guatemala too. Play it one year at a time. illi is considering whether or not to work with refugees this year when we go to France. It would be off of an island in Greece.
Well, I could say much more...maybe another time! Love, Mother