Today I had a unique experience, something the American couldn't compare to. (Even if I am, myself, an American). A Guatemalan church service. They are longer than the ones we are used to, for sure. For me, even though I didn't understand because of the language barrier, I understood they were reading Psalms, which part of it I don't know exactly. But the pastor who was teaching today really made me wonder what the lesson was. When he talked he seemed slightly tense with his facial expressions and hand gestures.
We soon left service to the outside of the building where there was many, many children hanging around. What touched me the most at that moment was when I saw Katie on her knees in a skirt in the dirt playing tic-tac-toe with some of the kids. Even though there was a language barrier, the fact that the kids and her were enjoying the game as if there was none. Also while waiting for our bus, I met a little girl named Liliana and she is 5 years old. Together we played peekaboo and I had her practice numbers. I would show an amount on my fingers and she would try to copy. Despite the fact we hardly know each other I feel like I really know her, as if I knew her before the trip.
Besides the church, we did go shopping today. The culture here is definitely held close to their hearts. You can tell in their wide range of handy-work. Their hand carved wooden boxes and containers, the hand stitched bags and clothes, the beaded jewelry, and so much more. If your a shopper, I recommend coming here. This is by far, way better than any shopping mall. Your interacting with locals who created the things they are selling, not store made but hand made.
The Guatemalans have a great eye for the natural beauties of their land and I envy it greatly. The place where we are staying has an indescribable view of the volcano, San Pedro. The lake beneath us is outstanding as well. For the artsy person I am, this is heaven to me. All the beautiful flowers and plants, the many hand made items, to the people. If only this was our daily lives.
On the trip so far, I have been stepping out of my comfort zone by trying new foods. In case you didn't know, I am quite picky on my food choices. Here, there is always meat with your meal, and I am not a big meat fan. But we had some in a restaurant we stopped at on our way to the main hotel that I absolutely loved. We had ordered two platters of chips and meats, I had the beef steak with rice. Let me tell you, that is THE BEST steak I have ever tasted, let alone the best beef I tasted. (Sorry Dad!) Besides meat I have tried guacamole, dragon fruit, hibiscus tea, various flavors of chicken, and various soups and pancakes.
All in all, the beginning of this trip as been amazing and I have loved strengthening our bond between the team. We have already had some tears shed and laughs laughed. I look forward to teaching the teens with my fellow small group leader, Jenn. I also look forward to construction on Tuesday. I love you all and I hope all is going well with you back at home.
May God bless you,