FYI - Since we don’t have internet where I am living, I’ll be posting things a day or two after writing them. (There’s WiFi at my school, Centro Linguistico Maya.)
Sunday, June 26: I’m sitting on my bed, listening to Nuestro Dios, the Spanish version of “Our God ”, a Chris Tomlin song based on Romans 8:31. The chorus declares, “And if our God is for us, then who can ever stop us, and if our God is with us, then who can stand against?” What hope and assurance!!
It is Sunday evening, and it’s been an amazing couple of days. I posted a somewhat frantic post yesterday morning (wow, that seems like ages ago!!). Thank you for your prayers! God has answered them in the most incredible ways.
As I was fretting yesterday morning, I got onto Facebook to let folks know my flight was delayed. One of my dear friends was also on. She told me to be on the lookout for those God wanted me to meet through this delay. I am so blessed to have people in my life who point me back to Jesus! I tend to start to worry about the details, and forget that God is ordering my days, even when there seems to be no order at all!
And, she was so right! While waiting for my connection in Atlanta, I overheard a group reading scripture and discussing entering a new culture. I went up and introduced myself. It was a church group from Tennessee heading down to serve in a small community not too far from Antigua. Their church has a real passion for missions, and has sent teams to Guatemala for many years, and also India, Ukraine and Costa Rica. And, they’ve hosted a Perspectives class!
When we boarded, I was rather surprised to find I was in First Class! I guess they upgraded me when my flight was canceled. I started to chat with my seatmate, and he was also with a team going down to do missions. Dwayne was a retired Lutheran pastor whose ministry had been focused in rather rough inner cities in the U.S. He traveled around the world, and had lots of fascinating stories of God showing up in simply amazing ways.
Dwayne had also not expected to be in First Class. He was staying an extra week so hadn’t booked with the rest of his team. He hadn’t requested it and hadn’t even noticed it on his itinerary. He said he didn’t know why he was in First Class. I told him I thought it was because God knew I needed a friend. I arrived in Guatemala City in awe, once again, of God’s love and provision.
I was met at the airport by Fernando (SI-Guat) and Brian (who is going back to SI-DR this summer with his family). We got to Antigua an hour later and stopped by the school to meet the director, Arturo. Then, it was on to my home. The lady of the house is named Dona Cristi. She speaks no English but has been hosting students and others for 40 years. She is a widow, and lives here alone. Four of her five children live on Long Island, and the fifth lives close by. She takes in up to four boarders at a time.
She is very sweet, and very patient with me as I stumble with my Spanish. She is also very encouraging – telling me about other students who had not one word of Spanish but after four weeks could say a lot. She is a devote Catholic, and has lots of pictures of Jesus throughout her home.
This morning I met two of my fellow boarders, brothers who are working at one of the local mission agencies called Common Hope. They invited me to go to Mass with them. Today is Corpus Cristi, the third most holy day for Roman Catholics. The church was decorated with banners and outside they had made patterns on the street with pine needles and flower petals. It was very pretty.
Several of the children were dressed up like angels for the parade after the service. At certain points during the service what sounded like an air canon went off. At other times, large bells were rung by enthusiastic little altar boys. It was beautiful and even though, I didn’t understand most of it, but it was moving to be with the Body of Christ.
I spent some time alone walking around with my little map trying to find back my school. Let’s just say, my total inability to find my way has not been transformed! It should take around 2o minutes to walk from my home to school. It took over an hour! I tried again after a nap, and did better. I’ll try to take some pictures tomorrow to show you the homes and streets.
Tomorrow breakfast is at 7:00 a.m. and then I’m off to start classes! Until next post, Dios Te Bendiga! (God bless you)