After an early morning breakfast at 6:30am on Tuesday the 5th, we walked to the bus that took us to three of the mountain churches that were an hour and 18 hairpin turns up the mountain.  The best strategy was to keep your eyes on the panoramic view of Lake Atitlan and refuse to look down. Juan González is the pastor of Misión Bethel in Paquip.  He played the accordion while he and his teenage daughter sang for us.  The joy of the Lord radiated from her heart as she sang so loudly and unashamedly. Their church has grown from 6 to 85 members, so after he finished sharing his vision, we walked to the property to pray and dedicate the land where they want to build a larger church. After a tour of their kitchen, sauna room, and the one room where all 9 of them sleep, we drove to Palestina.

We spent some time where the church is currently meeting, and once again walked to the property with the new pastor, his family, and some church members. The walls of the church have been built, however they are raising funds so a new roof can be put on.  After a time of prayer, we headed to Santa Clara to meet Pastor Cipriano Mendoza and hear about their church work.   The church there is larger, and they too are growing and want to repair their existing floor and expand and put a second floor on their building. Another goal for them is growing their children’s ministry.

When we returned to Colegio Bethel, we had lunch with some of the teachers. Afterwards each of us were paired with one of them and headed out to do home visits with some of the students and their families.  Many of us also went to the teacher’s homes and met their families too. We were gone about 3 hours making these visits. The challenge was that we didn’t have a translator this time, so we had to find a way to communicate. I was so grateful I brought a good old paperback Spanish/English dictionary. When we returned, we went around the room giving a one-two minute summary of the child that we visited and the teacher who was our guide. The teacher had to share what they had learned about us.

As you try to communicate with someone in their language, you really have to concentrate to pick up on anything they say that will help you understand the conversation. I found I couldn’t think about what I wanted to say as soon as they were finished speaking, because I was concentrating so hard on what they were saying. I told some in the group, “Wouldn’t it be good if we practiced listening like that all the time with all people!” Hmmm.

Another delicious meal:  pizza!  We felt so American. Then we were off to our rooms for the night.

We decided we wanted to get as many tasks done on the to-do list as we could, so beginning today, Wednesday, April 6th, we decided breakfast would be at 7:30am. Other than mealtimes, we worked all day sanding metal doors and railings, painting the clinic, cleaning out trash, hauling in dirt for the landscaping, repairing playground equipment, designing a watering system for the playground, and working on Ruth’s house. A few of the girls also worked in the kitchen making 60 dozen cookies. It was a productive day, and we look forward to another one tomorrow. Thank you for all the prayers!

To see more pictures from this team, click  here