Trip to Guatemala

I got back a few days ago from a two week trip to Guatemala. I thank God for traveling mercies and for an excellent time with our pastors. The first week was spent at a retreat in Guatemala City. It's always a time of refreshment, encouragement and training. Not all of our Central American pastors made it to the retreat but there was a good number. Here some of them are just arriving, it's always a joyous time.
God really blessed us in our early morning prayer times. I think we all felt a special touch from the Lord.
Our theme this year was "Biblical Counseling--Facing Problems with God's Word".  Butch Heath from Hobe Sound, Florida was our special speaker with Philip Burch translating. He gave us some excellent material and insight. We all left challenged to be better counselors to our people.
One of our morning sessions.
The retreat staff did an outstanding job cooking our meals. Just absolutely delicious!
We had a blast playing a game of soccer. Us gringos didn't do half bad.
One evening we spent around a campfire singing and listening to Julio our pastor from Nicaragua tell of the revival and miracles that happened in his village during the Contra-Sandinista War in the 1980's. Awesome stuff!!
What a great group!
After the retreat I went with some of our pastors to Tacaná, Guatemala to spend about 10 days visiting the churches in that region, being part of a weekend revival and a graduation. But on our way north we stopped at Ciudad Antigua. It was once the capital of Guatemala until it was destroyed by an earthquake. It has still preserved much of its colonial heritage. A very neat place to visit.
Some of the ruins of a cathedral built in the early 1600's that collapsed during the earthquake.
We stopped to grab a bite to eat near San Marcos where in early November a 7.4 earthquake hit the region. Behind the metal wall once stood a large building that collapsed. There are still lots of families rebuilding since the earthquake.
A view of Tacaná from the top of our hotel. We were at an elevation of over 7,000 feet. It was sooooo cold. It has been rare but it has snowed here. I slept with 5 blankets and was still cold!!!
There are 3 churches about and hour and a half in different villages outside of Tacaná, so Monday thru Wednesday we went to visit the works. This was on our way to Cruz de Barrancas out in the middle of the mountains. Gorgeous scenery but dangerous roads.
The church at Cruz de Barrancas, they don't have it finished yet but it is looking really nice.
I was invited to share a devotional at a graduation party for a boy graduating from high school. After the service at the boy's house everyone was served a big bowl of beef stew and tamalitos. It was a really unique experience. This was at Cruz de Barrancas.
Outside the house where we ate is where they cooked the stew and also had big pots full of tamalitos. It was really good!
The mountains were gorgeous!
 The pastor's little girl.
Sharing a cup of hot chocolate with the pastors and their families before heading back to Tacaná.
On the way home we stopped to help a family change a flat.
The next day was a trip to La Esperanza where Margarito is starting a new church. Here he is with his mother. They made us a delicious lunch.
Margarito has been holding services here in this house now for several months and already has some families attending!
If you look closely you can see a jug tied to the tree. You probably didn't know this but they told me that if you tie a jug to your fruit tree the fruit won't fall off. They also said, if you have a fruit tree that is not producing anything you have to discipline it, at about 5 in the morning you have to whip the tree and tell it to start producing and before long you will see fruit on the tree. I know this sounds absurd but they told me this in all seriousness and believe it with all their heart!
On Wednesday we paid a visit to René and his family in Tajumulco. They are doing an excellent job.
They had been renting for their church but just a few months ago they were able to purchase a piece of property and build a church with metal sheeting.
I think it's so neat how the ladies tie their children to their backs while they work. So cute to see them peeking over their shoulder.
While visiting at Tajumulco they began to tell me that it is a place full of witchcraft. I witnessed it first hand. We passed this family seated near an altar where witches come to practice their craft. I don't know why this family was here, maybe somebody was sick, but in the baskets are some chickens that they used for sacrifices. They were eating and doing some kind of ritual when we passed by. So sad and just a reminder of why we are doing what we are doing, to bring light to those living in darkness.
Cruz Perez, pastor at Tacaná and president of the churches in Guatemala did a tremendous job organizing the weekend revival. God really helped us!
The services were well attended.
This trio sounded great!
There was plenty of food for everyone!
Juan Cux came from Hobe Sound to preach and the Lord really used his ministry to touch lives.
The Bible Institute in Guatemala graduated Margarito. On Saturday afternoon was the graduation service.
I took a new route home, I came down the west coast and the scenery helped make the 18 hour trip a little easier. The view of the Pacific Ocean was amazing! I was so glad to be home. Thanks for your prayers, the Lord helped in a special way.

3 comments:

Jeanne said...

Very interesting trip..
Country looks beautiful..

Anonymous said...

I don't get to get online very much lately, but I really am blessed to see all that God is doing through you, Hannah and the boys. I know you must get tired at times, but as I was reading this the song came to my mind, "Work for the night is coming" We may get tired but one day we can lay down our burdens for good. Love you all so much.

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