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.