November 5, 2017
Guatemala Mission Trip Recap
Team members sharing
about their experiences

Guatemalan Mission Trip, October 19 - 25, 2017 Thursday, October 19th, 2017

 

6:50 AM: Left Little Rock via United Airlines

12:00 PM: Arrived Guatemala City, Guatemala. Lunch at Pollo Campero.  Nazarene Seminary - changed money for Quetzales. Traveled to Santa Cruz Vera Paz (near to Caban, Guatemala)

9:00 PM: Arrived Park Hotel, dinner at hotel

Upon arrival at the airport, Jesus Film Coordinator Daniel Herrera from Kansas City, KS met with us. Outside the airport, Jesus Film Coordinator Roger Lemus and his son, Roger, were waiting with vehicles for transportation. Roger Lemus and his family live on-sit e at the Nazarene Seminary and are coordinators for the Jesus Film for Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Travel from Guatemala City to Santa Cruz Vera Paz took 5 hours to go 100 miles. Travel was at night, very

hazardous. We ate dinner after we arrived at the hotel, had pizza cooked in an outside oven along with other foods.

Friday, October  20th, 2017 (Guatemalan Holiday - Day of the Indian Revolution)

8:00 AM Breakfast at hotel, waited for rest of change out  for quetzales. 

Lunch at hotel, traveled to the town of Tactic, and up the mountain to the village of Pambach

Half of our group worked on the construction site and half worked with the children

6:00 PM: Showing of Jesus Film in spanish

7:15 PM : Left Pambach, traveled back to Park Hotel, dinner at hotel

 

 

Breakfast at the hotel was buffet style. Several of the men in our group went to change dollars for quetzales at the MALL. The rest of the crew explored around the hotel area. There were 2 bamboo trees that were probably 3 stories tall. Very beautiful grounds around the hotel. The rooms were nice. Travel to and from the hotel to the Iglesia Del Nazareno (mother church) in Tactic was around one hour each way. From there we traveled to the village of Pambach, located above 5,000 feet in altitude. We traveled in the Jesus Film/Work and Witness van and District Superintendent Victor Bin's 4-wheel drive truck. On the first day, we took the van to the village and it did not travel well up the mountain on the one lane road. As we would go around a curve, it could not get enough speed to keep moving. Some of the guys in our group rode in the back of the truck bed behind the van. A quarter of the way up, we met up with some people that were repairing the road with an old bulldozer and dump truck.  A lot happened during the next 30 minutes - we could not go forward because there was no passage around, the guys in our group got out (Kevin exited the truck in his own way) and pushed the van that kept sliding back down on the gravel. The bulldozer backed down the road toward our van.  You can't imagine the sounds coming from our van when we saw a little dog that didn't look like he was going to move until the dozer was inches from him (he moved), and suddenly the big dump truck came driving straight down at us like there was room on the road for both vehicles (not!). Our van backed down the mountain until Roger found a spot where the dump truck had enough room to pass us. The van was full of laughter, anxiety, happiness, relief, worry, and thankfulness -  all within a matter of minutes.  Roger was calm, as was the case throughout our week.

When we arrived to the village, the mother church from Tactic had just started to work on the construction. It was in the primary stage. We moved a lot of concrete blocks and dug holes in sandy slate rock, sifted it, and the local men mixed water to make concrete mix for the blocks. The same old dump truck came up the mountain to the village and dumped a load of big gravel in the middle of the road by the construction site. We levelled it out.

Pastor Bobby and Shea dressed in clown suits to entertain the children of the village. Pastor Bobby was named Chipilin and Shea was given the name of Estrellita. The kids loved them. They screamed Chipilin all the time. The mother church had an Impact Team of young girls that also worked with the village children singing songs. At 6:00 pm, the Jesus Film was presented. Several children and their mothers came forward to accept Christ.  Watching the Jesus Film felt like you were in a movie theater watching a fil m. The quality and sound are that good.  It is very impressive - much more than was imagined .

 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

 8:00AM: 

Ate breakfast outside on the porch area, went to the town of Tactic to purchase tools for the construction  site - shovels, concrete tools

Arrived at the Iglesia Del Nazareno {mother church) in Tactic, left to go up mountain Worked on the construction site and helped with the children, ate lunch in classroom

6:00 PM: Showing of the Mary Magdalena Film in the villager's language of Pokomchi

7:30 PM:Left the village for Park Hotel, ate dinner at hotel

Upon arrival to the church, we saw several of the women from the congregation making tortillas outside in large skillets with hot oil. The smoke was strong and stung your eyes.  Children were running around - all of them seemed to be laughing and smiling. There is a huge avocado tree with hundreds of avocados growing in the yard of the church. Some of us went on up to the village while some went to purchase sandwich foods for our lunch.

 

The construction crew worked on rebar, creating hooks and wiring them to the rebar {28, 29 30), dug more rock, sifted, and moved more blocks. Some of our group walked down in the valley to go to the spring that the village used for drinking water, washing clothes, and bathing. On the way, Riley found a pig tied to a tree and Sharon took pictures.   Our clowns and group worked with the Impact Team of young girls to entertain the children, playing and singing songs.  Sharon and Riley worked with puppets for the kids. The rain poured very hard for 4 hours from 3:30 to 7:30 pm. The showing of the Magdalena Film was in the villager's native language of Pokomchi.  We all prayed that the rain would stop for our safe travel back down the winding one lane road. After the film, several children and women went forward to accept Christ that night. Right before the movie ended, the rain stopped!  Praise the Lord - we were a little nervou s.  We got in the back of a 4-wheel drive truck, held on while standing up, and sang songs all the way down - everything from Blessed Assurance, Onward Christian Soldier, to Found a Peanut!  The lightning flashed in the distance, but we were safe.

 

Sunday,October22,2017

 

8:30 AM:          Breakfast at hotel

9:30 AM:          Left for Tactic to worship at the Iglesia Del Nazareno

10AM -12  PM:  Worshipped at church, ate lunch

Returned to  church and traveled up the mountain to the village. Left the village for the last time to  return to  the Park Hotel, dinner at hotel

 

A sweet little girl meet us when we arrived for worship. She hugged each of us and during the worship service, walked all around us, smiling all the time. She sat with Marsha for a while. We sang Amazing Grace at the church accompanied by Roger on the piano. Roger preached the lesson on 1 John chapter 2 verse 6, "Whoever Claims to Live in Him Must Live as Jesus Did", and Daniel simultaneously translated it to us. The congregation sang songs that sounded familiar but they were in spanish (Onward Christian Soldier). The church presented a beautiful tapestry, hand made by the women of the congregation to Pastor Bobby who in turn took his Little Rock First Church shirt off and gave it to the church pastor.

 

After lunch, we changed our clothes at the church and went up the mountain to the village. We again traveled in the back of a 4-wheel drive truck. There was a celebration for the village children that involved some of our group, the Impact Team from the mother church, our clowns, and several others who worked with the kids.  They had pinatas for  the celebration.

 

The construction crew worked again, sifting for concrete among other things. Mary Alice and Cindy went down the valley to fill up jugs of water to make concrete with the women from the mother church. They asked what the word for "vamos" was in English. We told "come on" and they had a blast saying "come on" over and over. Varnes actually translates to "let's go" but they loved saying "come on".

 

We left the village feeling very special. We were sad to leave. Everyone gathered around our truck waving, smiling, hugging, laughing.       Vaya con Dios!  The man that seemed in charge of the construction site put it in perspective for  us.  He was a member of the mother church at the base of the mountain.

When Juan Carlos said his goodbyes to him, he stated, "if I don't see you again in this life, I will see you in heaven".

 

Monday, October 23, 2017

 

Breakfast at hotel

Checked out and left Park Hotel

Went on waterfall nature hike outing at a nature reserve, ate lunch Left towards the Nazarene Seminary in Guatemala City

Ate Pizza Hut at Roger's house for dinner

 

Stopped on our way back to Guatemala City to hike at Ram Tzul Private Nature Reserve . It was awesome. We walked through a bamboo forest, beside a waterfall, and then continued to a large waterfall at the base of a valley.  Very beautiful.  We ate lunch at the hotel ar ea.  Again, it  took us several hours to travel the main road from Coban to Guatemala City because of traffic. The highway is blocked at times during the day to allow construction crews to work. That night, we ate Pizza Hut delivered to Roger's home. Slept in dorms at the Nazarene Seminary.

 

Tuesday,  October 24, 2017

 

8:00AM:             Left Seminary, breakfast at McDonald's, traveled to Antigua for the day Lunch at Restaurante Fonda Calle Real

Left to return to the Seminary, ate dinner at Los Cebollines Arrived to Seminary

 

Beautiful day. Shopped in the Colonial Capitol. Went on a tour of a Monastery. Antigua was founded in 1524 and was subsequently destroyed by fire, as a result of an uprising of the local indigenous

population and then re-established in 1527. In 1541, the city was completely destroyed by an earthquake and avalanche. The 3rd location, in the Valley of Panchoy, was established cerca 1543 and survived many natural disasters until 1773 when the Santa Marta earthquakes destroyed most of the city.

 

Wednesday,  October 25. 2017

8:00AM: Left the Seminary, breakfast at McDonalds, on to airport

12:15 PM: Left via United Airlines to Houston, TX and then on to Little Rock, AR

 

The Guatemalan people very graciously welcomed us. The sign for the village of Pambach states "ALDEA PAMBACH" which basically means it  is a village and not  a pueblo.   A village is smaller than a pueblo.  (ALDEA  means village)

 

There is no running water in the village. If you need water, you walk down to the spring and climb back up the steep hill with heavy jars. Some women carried jars on their heads. The same spring is used to wash clothes and take baths.  Someone has built a concrete type of cistern so that the spring flows into it.

 

The bathroom in the village was by the school. No water in the pot. Toilet tissue is placed in a trash can by the pot. Most toilets in Guatemala are not able to process tissue.  All tissue is placed in a trash can - not flushed.

 

Every inch of land is utilized to grow crops. The ground is so steep in areas that it is hard to imagine how someone can walk it, much less grow a crop - but they do and are very successful from what we witnessed.  They grow vegetables, fruits, coffee, etc.

 

Woman wear the same style of clothing- a skirt and blouse Children are everywhere -  running, laughing, looking

Transportation - There is a one lane road going up the mountain to the village of Pambach. It was built in 1997 (20 years ago). Some of the villagers have trucks and drive back and fo rt h. They seem to give everyone a ride in the back of the truck standing up. It is very normal. Before 1997, the villagers walked down and up the mountain. There are several villages in the area. Google Pambach to read a very sad story of a massacre in 1982 involving the military and the men of Pambach. You will find pictures of the funeral services held in 2014 inside the school where the lab remains of victims were taken in coffins.

The same school where the Jesus Film  was shown.

 

The school - has classrooms with an open area in the middle. It was also built in 1997 and supports small children up to about 6 years old.

 

Animals -  saw lots of  dogs, a pig, some cows, and a couple  of goats

 

The construction of the two room classroom for older children is overseen by the Iglesia Del Nazareno in Tactic.  They are constructing the building in hopes of eventually holding church services on Sunday in the building. It was impressive to see the church working on the construction of the building.

 

There are several things we found out about each other while together- Kathleen loves dogs and will feed them all if she can, Kevin keeps everyone laughing, several are seriously addicted to Diet Coke, Pastor Bobby is a natural clown and the children love him - but most of all, we found out that we really enjoy and support each other as a church family .

 

And last of all, we cannot thank Roger Lemus, his son Roger, and Daniel Herrera enough for taking care of us for the week - it was a big job and they were very patient and kind to all of us. They took care of every detail of our trip.

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1200 N. Mississippi St

Little Rock, AR  72207

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