It´s after 10:00 p.m. and the day has been long so I´m probably going to be briefer this evening than yesterday. We headed to Tejutla this morning, leaving the hotel and making the hour plus drive through the beautiful mountains and valleys. We began with VBS at the Bethel Baptist Church there. I didn´t get an actual headcount, but guess there were around 60 kids altogether. Because of space constraints, we divided the children into two groups and Allen & Brenda worked with Jacque with the younger kids while Thorvald and Virginia assisted Linda and Susan with the other kids. The rest of us took off to deliver some of the bags of food to needy families and to share the gospel with them. We also got to see a mission point (new church start) of the congregation in a river valley a few kilometers outside of town down a narrow dirt road. The church has built a simple tin roof-covered structure alongside the river on property that has been loaned to them. They have about 40 attending, including children. We also drove a bit further to see the land the church has purchased to construct a more permanent building for the mission. The mission pastor is one of the fellows who has been attending our training sessions in Quetzaltenango every 6 months. He worked in the U.S. in NY for many years and has retired here.
We met back up with the rest of the group for lunch at a small restaurant in Tejutla and went from them to deliver more bags of food. Not wanting to overwhelm folks with a huge group, Rhonda and I went with the pastor while Linda and Carol (our partnership liaison) accompanied another lay leader of the church. We headed back down the same dirt road toward the mission but stopped along the way and walked down a very steep trail (several hundred yards) where each group spoke to two different families--sharing the gospel with them and leaving them food. An older couple prayed to receive Christ with Rhonda and I. Meanwhile, Jacque and Duane had gone with the mission pastor to visit some other families and take them food. They shared tonight at dinner that they also had seen folks pray to receive Christ with them. Once again we were struck with the tremendous poverty in which these folks were living. Most that we saw today lived in simple adobe brick structures--perhaps no larger than 10 ft. by 10 ft. They have to hike up that same steep hill that we climbed back up to get to the main road and go to town.
After the home visits, we went to a small public school in town. The school was much smaller and poorer than the two we had gone to the previous days in San Marcos. They combined the pre-K and K, the 1st and 2nd graders, the 3rd and 4th graders, and the 5th and 6th graders and we once again shared games, a Bible story, snacks, etc. with the children. The director expressed her gratitude for our coming and invited us to share some cake and tea. After that, it was another stop for tea at the home of the missions pastor before heading back to San Marcos and a dinner of tasty fajitas.
After dinner, we sat around the tables and shared reflections on the experiences of the week and the things that had impressed us or that God has taught us. It was a wonderful time of hearing how God has been working in each of our lives this week as we´ve attempted to serve Him here.
Tomorrow morning we´ll journey back to Guatemala City, stopping along the way to see some ancient Mayan ruins at Iximche. Friday will take us to Antigua for some sightseeing and shopping for souvenirs before we wake up bright and early Saturday to fly home.
Thanks to all who have stopped by to visit my blog and for your prayers for our group this week. We´ve certainly sensed them and have been blessed with a strong awareness of God´s presence.