Monday, February 09, 2009

Guatemala update

Greetings from chilly Guatemala. The daytime temperatures have been wonderful, but some have felt the evenings were a bit too cool.

Yesterday was a very busy day for us. We all went together to the local prison in the morning. It looked like there were about 35 or 40 prisoners (all men) and the meeting was held in the courtyard under a roof. I´m not sure how else to describe it as it was just a tin-roofed structure without walls. The members of the First Baptist Church here led in worship (acapella), singing some hymns and praise choruses. I knew all of the songs except the last couple of choruses. I preached a 15 minute message to them on Pilate´s questions to Jesus and used those to share a gospel message with them. Afterwards, we helped pass out breakfast to the prisoners.

From there we headed straight to church. They suspended their normal adult SS activities to allow us to share testimonies, etc. Every team member had the chance to share some thoughts with the congregation--ranging from conversion experiences to the awareness of God´s presence with us wherever we might be. Susan, one of our team members played some praise choruses as well on a keyboard and the folks insisted that she play another one at the conclusion of the service. I had the opportunity to preach and shared a message from Acts 2:41-47 about the characteristics of the Jerusalem church.

The church provided lunch for us afterwards and then it was off in the van to Tejutla--over a fairly narrow road with switchbacks and some breathtaking scenery of mountain valleys and villages along the way. Our time there was a bit shorter as we needed to get back to San Marcos for Allen´s evening workshop, but we participated in worship once again, introducing all of the team members and Jacque and Allen shared testimonies. Susan played a couple of songs and I preached the same message there as I had at FBC. While I was preaching, several of the team members met with the children and did an activity together. We´ll be back there on Wednesday for VBS in the morning and speaking in a school in the afternoon. They reversed that schedule on us as the school only meets in the afternoon. The church served us some sandwiches and tamales with hot chocolate before we hustled back to San Marcos.

There were 23 folks last night for Allen´s workshop and a good number of children who came with parents. Jacque and Linda worked with them (without an interpreter even) and managed to keep the kids entertained and do a craft activity while Allen led the workshop.

We came back to the hotel and spent the next hour or hour and a half packaging crayons and candy in zip locks to pass out at the schools the next couple of days. We wrapped that up somewhere around 10:00 p.m. last night. Someone commented that the first day felt like 3 days and yesterday felt like 2, and it was only Sunday. Seriously though, spirits are high and joyous and it´s a wonderful team with great chemistry. Lots of joking, etc. We´ve already had to adopt the slogan of "what happens in Guatemala stays in Guatemala." Just kidding about that of course. We´re looking forward to a few more busy days before we travel back to Guatemala City on Thursday.

We do have internet access here at the hotel which is a big plus.


Kaylor said...

That's great to hear! Thanks for the update. Praying that the rest of the trip will also go well.

John Notestein said...

Thanks for the update, Gary. We continue to pray for you and the team daily back here. God is using you guys in a great way.

Jennifer H said...

Sounds like you are having a great time! Like the others, I'll continue to be in prayer!

Gary Snowden said...

Thanks, everyone, for your prayers for us. We really do appreciate them.