Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Ending of a Year and the Start of the Next (Day 437)

(Admittedly, not one of my better titles.)

Here I sit on New Year's Eve posting an update from the frigid north of my parents' house.  Due to a various number of factors, it was decided to spend the holidays in the States this year.  I head back to Guatemala on January 11th.

Today marks the completion of my first calendar year in Guatemala, and in just a few days, we'll mark the one-year anniversary of my work in the department (their version of "state") of Sacatepequez.  I have learned a lot in the past year: how to navigate Antigua, how to speak Spanish fluently, how to ride the bus all by myself (to Antigua, Ciudad Vieja, Santiago Zamora, and San Antonio), the cost of bread, how to make friends, how to drive a motorcycle, how to run my own home, and how to teach English (I think).  There's still a lot I have left to learn including cooking Guatemalan cuisine, telling off men, finding a good housemate, taking care of a chicken, and raising more support in the States as--since the debacle with the hogar--I have relied almost completely on my grandfather's church, small as they are.

Not every battle is an uphill one.  There are some things I take to more easily than others.  I believe that learning to cook Guatemalan food and raising my chicken will be the easier of my list of five things.  But I struggle with asking people for money, getting along with people who don't have the same logic-directed mentality that I do, and hurting feelings.  So, my prayer wishlist for myself for the next year contains all these things.  Thanks for your continued love and support.  Happy New Year (and a belated Merry Christmas)!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

God's Puzzle Coming Together Little by Little (Day 424)

It's amazing watching God slide all the pieces into place.  What happened last night was a puzzle at least 4.5 years in the making, but even with how I write, I'm not sure I can articulate exactly what happened using my normal writing style.  Sorry.

Who (major characters):
Annalisa--yours truly
Christina--A friend I worked with during my first two mission trips to Guatemala (2007 and 2008) who needed to do an internship in a foreign country and is currently staying at my house while she does said internship here in Guatemala
Mama Conny--A woman who lives in San Antonio where I live and works at Caoba Farms in Antigua...where Christina is doing her internship

Mama Conny has cervical cancer.  She needs to have a hysterectomy.  She found someone who can do it for Q5,000 (about $650).  She earns about Q60/day (according to Christina) and works 6 days/week.  (Although, based on my own calculations, I think she makes closer to Q90/day.)  She plans on losing her job based on the minimum 8 week recovery time.  So, this woman has been saving up her money for months to have this surgery to be saved from cancer with the expectation that she will be unemployed afterwards.

God sliding pieces:
Christina struck up a friendship with most of the people at the farm.  Conny invited us to dinner the other night.  Christina invited Conny and her youngest daughter for tea and bread last night.  I happened to be in the house but hiding out because I wasn't feeling well.  (I've got a sore throat and other fun symptoms of the dry season.)  However, I overhead the word matriz.  Now, I've been helping out Henry and Children of the Americas enough already that I know that word when I hear it.  I'm a massage therapist, not a gynecologist, but this is a word I recognize in Spanish.  I didn't hear all of the problem (as it is listed above), just that she had plans to get this surgery but was saving money for it.  I came out of hiding and asked some questions about when she was planning on having it done.  Where?  How?  Henry told me to be on the lookout for anyone who needed help.  Conny definitely qualifies.  I got online to send him a message and ask about details, and he was here online.  Mama Conny will be going to Zacapa in January to receive a free hysterectomy by some of the top doctors in the United States.

Yay God. :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Safe and Sound (Day 415)

This is just a quick update to let you know that I have returned safe and sound from Caserio El Paraiso.  I've been spending the last few days busy with other things and today I worked on editing some of the film I shot to have English subtitles.  Tomorrow I will likely post a much larger entry about the place, but I still have a lot of research to do and will likely travel back to the caserio (hamlet or country house...that gives you an idea of how small these "villages" are) once more before I head back to the States.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Please Help Us" (Day 408)

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet the parents of the young man--Edgar--who sells me cat food in the market.  His parents, Camilo and Cristina, as well as the rest of his family are from Casario el Paraiso in the department of Solala.  Because I am operating under the title of "missionary," his parents, who are pastors, thought that I might know more missionaries to help out their ever-growing ring of villages with needs.  In all fairness, I believe this couple could be called "missionaries" in their own country, their own department, their own village.

And I do know missionaries, but most of them are already doing some sort of mission where they are and aren't really looking to expand to other locations (just because it's hard to be in two places at once).  So, we got out into the parking lot of the market to have a chat away from the prying ears of the market. (Interestingly, one of my current English students saw me and asked me today all about the people I was with in the market.  So much for privacy, huh?)  They told me about the conditions of the people in their area and told me what their dreams were for these people.  I finally had to stop them and ask some specific questions.

A: How many families are we talking about?
C&C: 5...10...probably 50.
A: How do you get from 5 to 50 so fast?
C&C: Well, it's about 5 families in each of the 10 communities. (They had been multiplying...not counting.)
A: So, what you're looking for is essentially a 2-step process.  First, you're looking for money to meet the immediate need of malnutrition...
C (hesitantly): Yes.
A: And second, you're looking for people to come in and teach these people skills that they can use to raise money?
C & C: Yes

They went on to tell me that they were the people everyone came to when they needed help: rides to the hospital--very far away--to deliver babies, stomach pain, etc.

A: There is no doctor.
E: No.
A: There is no dentist.
E: No.
A: Like...none at all?
E: No.  There is no one with training.

And, of course, I can go and teach massage therapy which is what I will likely do for at least one woman in each community.  (Praying!)  However, they need much more than that.  There is, however, a very big problem.

A: The people in the community...they only speak Kachiquel. (This was a statement/question which arose from the observation that even though both his mother and father could speak Spanish with me, they sometimes directed their response to their son in Kachiquel who would then tell me in Spanish.  It indicated that while they could speak Spanish, they were much more comfortable using a translator.)
E: Yes.
A: They don't speak Spanish?
E: There are some that understand Spanish mostly, but they only speak Kachiquel.

This presents an obvious problem.  Even if I can bring in Americans/foreigners to work with this village, the number of people who are fluent in both Kachiquel and English are very limited.  I know two (and I know of a third).  The number of professionals who speak both English and Spanish (and would want to take on something like this) is pretty limited as well.  Therefore, to train these people to either have a new skill or turn an existing skill into a business would be quite complicated:
The professional would explain something in English. Someone would translate that into Spanish.  Someone else would translate that into Kachiquel so that the person would hopefully understand.  If the trainee had a question, they would ask it in Kachiquel.  Someone else would translate that into Spanish.  Someone else would translate that into English, and the professional would answer what we hope is the question after a multi-lingual game of telephone.
To have someone who could translate from Kachiquel to English (and viceversa) would be incredibly useful in a situation like this as questions for clarification would not get lost in translation.

I currently have a vocabulary of about 20 words and phrases in Kachiquel.  Edgar's English is a bit better, but not by much.  (Spanish is a second language for both of us.)  So, for the next 18 days--until I fly to the United States--we are committing ourselves to learning the native language of each other.  (I will obviously not be fluent at the end of this time, but I certainly hope to be able to hold my own in idle chitchat.)  Furthermore, I will be traveling to Casario el Paraiso on Tuesday to meet with families in 5 different places, to discuss options, hopes, and dreams with them along with taking photos and cataloging some stories.

What I need from you:

  • Prayers of safe travel for Tuesday
  • Prayers for the people in this area
  • Prayers for volunteers from the States who are interested in committing time to teaching these people
  • Prayers for the language studies of Edgar and myself
  • Ideas and options for the people of this area
  • Use of whatever contacts you have to try to identify people who would/could commit time to teaching these people
  • Share.  Share this journal ( and share this journal entry.  Get the word out.

Man on the Bus: Day 408

(I'm already deciding that I'm not fond of blogspot.  I wrote this whole entry once already and blogspot lost it.  It just means that I'll have to take more precautions.)

Yesterday as we left San Antonio and headed for Antigua, there was a man on the bus who walked up to the front where the driver is.  He didn't walk like most of the rest of us walk; he was sort of dragging his legs and used his arms a lot to keep him upright.  I suppose he could have been drunk, but I think he more likely had some sort of motor problem.

Upon arriving at the front of the bus, he proceeded to block the stairway, talk to the driver, and mess with the instruments that he could reach...and even some that he couldn't really reach.  This bothered me.  I live in the highlands of Guatemala, 4000 feet above sea level.  It is one thing to put my life--on these mountainous windy roads--in the hands of two--the driver and his helper--burly Guatemalan men.  It was another to unwillingly have my life put in the hands of a man who lacks motor control should he suddenly grab and yank the steering wheel.  To be honest with you, I was scared.  To be further honest with you, I was hoping the driver would kick the man off the bus.

However, as we reached the entrance/exit to San Antonio, the driver stopped the bus and wrestled the man off, and we drove off, my feelings slightly changed.  To see the man laying there on the ground holding his knee, I wondered if the driver had even tried to explain the dangers that this man was putting us all in, that the man needed to sit down (as there were seats available).  I couldn't help but think that maybe the man wasn't treated fairly.

But I was glad that my life was back in the hands of people I more-or-less trusted.

Journal change

It's not so much a change as a backup, a spare copy.  Today I have had considerable trouble trying to get on livejournal, and in the interest of not losing at least my posts from Guatemala, I've decided to start blogging in two places when possible (and filling in the gaps later when not possible).  So, from here on out, I will try to maintain my previous blog at and this journal.  The format will be a little bit different with this blog and may be easier to read, but I'll leave that up to you to decide.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jonathan's first birthday party (Day 392)

I once had to do this thing about strengths and weaknesses for a class.  We were supposed to make our own lists, and then we were supposed to ask a family member, a friend, and an acquaintance to make lists about us as well.  On my mother's lists--yes, both of them--she put the word "sensitive."  I suppose I am.

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the 1st birthday party of a little boy.  He is the grandson of my ex-next-door neighbor.  (My ex-next-door neighbor is an amazing woman, by the way, but because of the economy, she had to go live with her daughter.)  Now, the boy's mother has four children.  Her husband vanished on the family about a year ago, maybe longer.  Anyway, I have worked hard to develop a good relationship with the family, especially Jonathan David (the baby).  At first, I was this scary white person, but after a while, I was the only one--besides his mother--who he wanted to spend time with.  The family started calling me his madrina which literally means "godmother."

So, last week, they invited me to his birthday party, and my ex-next-door neighbor/good friend, Donya Juana, told me (in Spanish), "Come here right after church. Don't even go to your house first."  Ideas: (a) They are excited about the party and church in Antigua goes a little late, (b) They are going to rob my house, (c) The party was actually for me at my house and they wanted some warning before I got there by sending me hiking up the side of the mountain first.  And, yes, the ideas actually came to me in that order.

So, I headed to Antigua early yesterday to buy a present for the boy before church.  It was a blue toy motorcycle, and I paid Q30 for it (all wrapped and with a bow).  Besides my bus fare home, it was the last of my money for quite a while.  But was it ever worth it...

When I got to the house, I found out it was the first present that the baby had ever received.  (His sisters would go to look for something else for him later that evening as they walked me home.) But what got to my sensitive side more than that was that the baby's mother didn't have any pictures of her son.  I had brought my camera, and she became very interested in this.  "How do you get the pictures off of the camera?"  She has pictures of all of her other children, but none of her baby boy.  When I think of some of the people I know who have monthly facebook albums of their kids as babies or when I even consider my own babyhood, I found this really striking.  I must have taken 20 pictures of little Jonathan yesterday as well as at least one good picture of each of his siblings.

Yesterday's mission job: photographer
And if there was any doubt in your mind, yes, the family is receiving pictures for Christmas.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Guatemalan Elections (Day 385)

This is my second post today.  Look for the other down below.

This post is actually a two part post as well.  The first part I wrote on September 12th or so and never posted.  The second part, I'm posting live-ish.

September 12
"Guatemala had its first round of presidential elections on September 11.  The idea of voting on a Sunday seemed quite odd to me at first, but I suppose it is when the most people have to opportunity to go to the polls.  There is no absentee voting, and people sometimes wait in line over 3 hours to vote.  Due to the number of political parties here in Guatemala, these were just the presidential primaries to narrow the vote down to two candidates, but for other offices (mayor, congressperson, and delegation to the Central American convention, among others), this was it.  Those of us who could not vote, prayed.  We prayed that the Guatemalan people would make the right choice for this country, that the polls would not be corrupted or compromised, and that no violence would break out.  But to be fair, perhaps the most wonderful part about elections is that the political ads stop."

Yesterday, we had the final elections here in Guatemala.  Again, those of us who could not vote prayed.  We prayed for safety, honesty, fairness.  And we prayed that God's will be done at the voting booths.  People held very serious concerns about both candidates.  They said that Otto Perez Molina was going to bring back the killing of Mayan people, and they said that Manuel Baldizon is receiving money from drug cartels and would do nothing to stop narcotrafficking in Guatemala.  An article I read said that with 96% of the votes counted, Otto Perez had 55% of the votes.  For further details, I'll provide the following link: (I would like to point out that the reporter's name is Perez.  I'm hoping it's just coincidence.)

A Perspective on Living in a Third-World Country (Day 385)

Just to let you know, there will be another post later today as well.

Someone asked me last night about my perspective on living in a third-world country, and to be quite frank with all of you, it's probably not the image most of you have in your head.  Yes, there is extreme economical places of the country.  However, there is also economical wealth.  A Guatemalan fellow who I went on a pair of dates with is currently on his family's annual trip to Disney World.  That's right...every year, the family (somewhere between 6 and 10 people) gets visas for the United States, buys plane tickets, and stays at Disney World (yes, Florida) for a week.  But it can be more subtle as well.

As told to D.D. last night: "I have a large metal double door to my house. That door leads to a corridor with the door on one end and a gap to my courtyard on the other, an 'exterior' wall on one side, and three rooms on the other side. Each room has a stained glass window and a door. The roof over the three rooms and the corridor is lamina, and I have red clay floors. I have running water, a heater in my shower (although, it's currently broken...should be fixed tomorrow), electricity, and drainage.
My next-door neighbor has two 'walls' of lamina around her property (one of block, the one she shares with me), and I'm not sure if she has a wall along the back of her property. Her floors are all dirt. The walls of her actual house are made of sticks as is her roof; rain regularly enters during the rainy season. She has electricity and cable TV."  I imagine she has running water as well, but I don't know that for a fact.

Now, that's here in San Antonio Aguas Calientes, a 30-minute bus ride (direct) from Antigua where all the tourists are.  We have water 24 hours per day and 7 days per week.  If you go 30-45 minutes north of Antigua to Santo Domingo Xenacoj (does not have a direct bus connection to Antigua), they do not have water 24 hours/day, 7days/week.  I believe they only have water in the mornings and for an hour in the evening, but I'd have to get that verified; I know it's not 24/7.

Up in villages near Coban--I couldn't even tell you how far from here that is, maybe a 6 hour drive in a private shuttle?--I met a girl who didn't wear pants to school because she didn't own any and the family couldn't afford any.  So, she went in a t-shirt and underpants.  I met a woman who cared for her three grandsons.  Every day, the family had a "soup" made of 3 beans and a grain of rice.  The woman gave each boy a bean with his "soup" and ate the piece of rice with hers.  Yes, I've personally met hunger here in San Antonio, but the idea of that sort of self-control when one has so little in their stomach is awe-inspiring.

"Now, in a week or two, I'll be heading out--well-chaperoned--to Zacapa. I'm not sure what conditions I'll find out there. However, the farther you get from the tourism centers, the more obvious the poverty becomes.  Yes, I live in a third-world country, but I have electricity, internet, running water, etc. If I had a TV, I might use cable TV (but I just don't watch much TV)."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Change (Day 380)

When I came to Guatemala, I was not a teacher.  When I came to Guatemala, I didn't speak Spanish all that well.  When I came to Guatemala, I was not entirely comfortable with the idea.  (However, I was sure that it was the direction for my life.)  When I came to Guatemala, I could count all my Guatemalan friends on one hand.

Besides being sure of the direction of my life, all that has changed.  I'm proud to be a survivor.  I certainly couldn't have done it without the support of all of you, and I certainly couldn't have done it without all the good people that God has put in my life down here.  I'm still not entirely the person I need to be, but I'm working on it.  Thanks for your confidence in me and your love for me and your faith in God.  (Or, for those of you who read this and aren't the least bit religious, thanks for believing I could make it this far.  I love you guys too. :) )

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Revelation (Day 376)

I seriously didn't see this coming, but it has hit me, and I'm not 100% sure how I feel about it.
I am a status symbol.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I mean, I didn't notice it in the last year, but today something happened that really made me take note.  I had a co-worker offer to take me home on his motorcycle.  Since I barely have enough for bus fare until Wednesday when I will cash my check from today, I accepted.  (Hey, that's 9 more pieces of bread and 2 tortillas! Or, if you want to split it up more evenly, 6 pieces of bread and 6 tortillas!)  He offered to take me home--to my house--for lunch during the middle of the day, but I turned him down for various reasons.  However, when he took me home after work, I noticed something funny.  I had never ridden with this guy before, but every time that he passed a group of people (especially males), he would give them a thumbs up.  I've only ever seen this when people are taking pictures.  However, his thumbs up was a little past center, as if he was pointing behind himself with his thumb.  And when we got to San Lorenzo del Cubo where he lives, he wanted to take me to see the church in the center of town...even though I've been to San Lorenzo once with my Guatemalan brother.  When you add it all up: He wanted people to see me on the back of his motorcycle.  I won't be riding with him again since the school where we both teach closed today, but he still wanted to be seen with me.

I am a status symbol.  And there's no good way to explain how I feel.  It's not that it's okay with me, but it's more that I just don't mind or don't care.  If it is important to them, fine.  It's not important to me, and I think I should probably go back to being oblivious to it (while still understanding that it exists).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Special Anniversary Post (Day 372)

I know this is a bit delayed; however, there's a good reason for it.  Sadly, it's going to be a bit more delayed while I go and get the bread for my dinner.  But there will be a real post here by tonight.
Apologies.  The neighbor boy came over and wanted to debate with me for...2.5 hours and then go home and debate by phone for an hour.    You can expect this update tomorrow sometime.
Okay, here it is. (FINALLY!) The past year has been a grand learning experience for me hashed out of a lot of good experiences and a few bad experiences.  There are lessons that I have learned but still haven't applied, and there are lessons that I have yet to learn as well.

Worst moment of the past year: Being told that I would receive nearly nothing of the money I raised for my upkeep when I was asked to leave the Hogar.
Best moment of the past year: My students.  (Is that not a moment?)  I hear very often that they want me to continue as their English teacher.  However, I suppose the best moment was when I was working with my normal group of missionaries in the school where I normally teach every week.  I took a few weeks off to translate for the group.  And in the school where I work, they customarily give each person on the mission team a few gifts to remind them of the country/their time here/ect.  I received only one gift (while most people received 5-7 gifts).  I will admit that I was a little upset.  I mean, there's a lot that I don't have here in Guatemala, and I could really use some help every now and again.  I thought if anyone was going to help me that it would be my own students, and when they gave me just one thing, I felt like they didn't want me there.  However, after I finished translating, the head principal of the school came up to me and let me in on a little secret: the students didn't want to give me anything.  It wasn't because they didn't like me; it was because when they give things to the people in the missions groups, those people leave.  My students actually asked if they could give me nothing because they didn't want me to leave.  (They were overruled because the principal didn't think it would be fair if I received nothing while I had worked all week.)

Best take-away lesson: I'm now bilingual.  Granted, I speak my second language like an 8- or 10-year old, but it's just missing a few pieces now.

Worst take-away lesson: My English (spelling) has suffered.

My typical day/week: There's really nothing typical about it.  I came down here to do one thing, and then life changed.  So, I just sort of made myself available where needed.  One day I can be introducing two similarly-focused missionaries to each other so that they can help one another out.  Another day, I can be picking oranges for a neighbor.  Another day, I might be debating the finer points of the Bible (in Spanish!).  Another day, I might be untangling thread for a different neighbor whose eyes are too bad to see anything smaller than her weaving.  Another day, I might be translating for a mission group.  Another day, I might be giving massages.  The common thread to all days is that I'm typically teaching English.  So, baring incredible amounts of irregularity in my schedule, here is my "typical day."
6:00 am: wake up, get water heating up for breakfast, let my chick out into the courtyard so that she can look for bugs and other interesting things to eat, wash some clothes and hang them on the line so that they'll dry by mid-day
6:20 am: shower
6:45 am: dry off, get dressed
6:55 am: make milk (remember that water I was heating up?), eat breakfast of hard cookie-like bread and hot milk, put the chick back into its box in my room, let the cats out, feed the cats and dog.
7:00 am: go to the bus to go to work (when I'm working in I said, there is no "typical"), do my daily devotional on the bus
7:50 am: buy the newspaper
8:00 am: start work
11:00 am: finish work, run errands (if in Antigua)
12 noon-ish: catch the bus to San Antonio Aguas Calientes (a.k.a. "home"), read the newspaper
12:45: arrive home, start soup cooking, take a nap
2:15 pm: wake up from nap, eat lunch (soup)
2:30 pm: Find a neighbor who needs help (usually, they find me)
4:30 pm: walk the dog/buy bread for dinner and tomorrow's breakfast
5:00 pm: return home, spend some time reading the Bible
6:00 pm: start cooking more soup for dinner, play computer games/knit/sew
7:30 pm: eat soup (dinner) with bread
8:00 pm: debate theology with the neighbor boy (this has become part of my "typical" day within the past week)
10:00 pm: send the neighbor boy home because his mother has called and is worried about him, check e-mail, catch up on facebook, sometimes read news in English
12 midnight: SLEEP!

This is actually more like a Frankenstein's monster of my typical day, but it will have to do.  And, of course, whenever I find just a spare second in my day, I'm hoping on the computer so that I don't stay up so late at night.  That 1.5 hour nap in my afternoon is because I only get 6 hours of sleep at night!  (FYI, I'm skipping dinner tonight so that I can write this, and I'm hoping that the neighbor boy's mother sends food with him.)

This year, I've also learned what hunger actually feels like.  I really don't recommend this to anyone, but it is quite the experience.  Last weekend, a missionary friend gave me breakfast and took me out to dinner.  I said, "Henry, this is crazy.  I have just eaten more calories in one meal (dinner) than I typically eat in one week...maybe two."  And yes, I felt really sick the next day from eating too much food.

My students graduate tomorrow.  I'm excited...and proud.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mission Moment: October 2011 Newsletter

At the time of writing this, I have been back in Guatemala for about two weeks, and it has been quite a wonderful two weeks for quite a few reasons. First of all is due to a new partnership that I have. Back in 2004 (September 8 to be exact), I started reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, a 40-day journey into figuring out what God has planned for your life. My reading partner was my then best friend and later fiance. However, sometime around day 17 we had a fight and stopped reading/discussing with each other. I don't know if he ever finished the book; I know I didn't. But then in late July, I was at a book fair in Antigua, and I saw the book for sale in Spanish. I have a friend, Clemente, who often talks about how God has a proposito (plan or purpose) for each of us, but I had a feeling that he didn't really know what his was. While I was in the States, I bought Una Vida con Proposito (the Spanish translation of The Purpose Driven Life) for Clemente. September 4, 2011, nearly 7 years after my first attempt, Clemente and I began reading the book; he, in Spanish, and me, in English. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue on this journey.
The second reason that this time has been wonderful is that I have really gotten settled into my new home in San Antonio Aguas Calientes. The people here have been very welcoming to me. One neighbor showed me where I should buy bread and later let me know that the people charged me what they charge her. For me, that is extremely heartening as it means I am not viewed as an outsider in the community. Although, I will admit that I overheard my neighbors telling all their friends about the new canchita (light-haired person) living in the neighborhood. I have had a few visitors, and I hope to open a little English school on the 20th of September. Please keep the success of my school in your prayers as well. English provides opportunities for better employment to the people of San Antonio which means better nutrition for their children and, ideally, the opportunity to have a sabbath day.
Finally, Guatemala celebrated 190 years of independence yesterday (September 15, 2011). On the 14th, my students had a program where we celebrated all of this. We had a civic portion of the program where we sang the national anthem and said the pledge of allegiance. We recognized the students from every grade—preschool to 9th grade—who had worked hard to be good students, upstanding citizens, and people of good character. Afterward, we had a cultural portion where the students presented songs and dances of Guatemala. The 9th graders even presented a dance from the Garifuna culture, the Caribbean Africans who live near Livingston, Guatemala.

Please keep Clemente and I in your prayers as we continue on our 40-day journey. Please pray for the success of my little English school in San Antonio as, with God's help, I try to reach the people of San Antonio who need help the most. Please pray for my regular students as the end of their school year draws near. And finally, please pray for the recent elections in Guatemala as the new mayors and congresspeople prepare to take office and we enter into the second round of presidential elections.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Still not sure of the day...somewhere around 75.

So, here's the story:

I have left Hogar Miguel Magone. There are lots of versions why, but the one that makes the most sense to me (and will sound the most believable to friends, enemies, and complete strangers alike) is that the Hogar brought me there for one reason and I went there for another. When they found that their reason wasn't a priority on my list, they asked me to leave (rather than ask me to make it a priority). So, I am now in Antigua, Guatemala, the most cosmopolitan city in Guatemala; English is almost just as widely spoken as Spanish. So, I'm here, and I'm alive.

I'm looking for work or even somewhere to regroup. I have some funds still; I'm not completely broke. Something happened with the money, and the Hogar felt that they should be paid for every day I was there (like a hotel). They seem to be discounting the work I did every day while I was there.

Anyway, I have no hard feelings with the Hogar and hope to visit them from time to time if time and money permit. I suppose a great deal of it depends on where I end up. I still have a few leads to follow up on.

Please keep me and my work (or current lack thereof) in your prayers this next week (if you haven't been doing so all along).

I love you all and am praying for you all as well.