Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Guatemala Trip, Part 1

Me and Jesus one of the boys at the orphanage
This Church had been rebuilt after it had been blown up during the years of violence
Me picking up garbage at the camp

SO I can not say enough about my trip to Guatemala. It was the amazing experience I have had. The people there are just amazing. They are so welcoming and so grateful that we would come to their country to offer them support.

When we first arrived in Guatemala and we were waiting outside the airport I was amazed at the number of Mercedes and BMWs that I saw. I know it was being stereotypical but I just wasn't expected the luxury cars. Although sadly only a very small % of the population have that wealth. We also saw a Burger King and a Chuck E. Cheese right away.

The first night we stayed at Seteca which is a seminary in Guatemala. We stayed there a couple of other times through out the the trip ( it was stop over as we traveled through out the country.) The last time we were there a few of us talked to some of students. There seminary experience is a bit different from our experience here, but there were a lot of similarities. There are still a lot of second or third career people, but there program is an undergraduate degree. The class body was about 50/50 men/women. Their was a wide range of religious backgrounds there with all kinds of ideas about what they would do with their degree. There is a huge focus on mission work, which is something fairly new for Latin students, according to them.

While we were in Guatemala City we went to a daycare center that was originally started as a street project int a local park. Their weren't children there when we visited but we heard their story. Originally Jamie started the project we he saw a lot of children unsupervised in the park. He gain their trust and started organizing plays and painting the children's face as clowns. The Queen of Spain eventually bought them a building, (I'm not clear on how she become involved.) and the project moved there. Many of the children are there to escape their houses where their mothers are prostitutes. The older children attend school and will come to the center for lunch and for after school. A lot of the daycare does is about building the children's self-esteem through art and also Jamie is hoping to bring in speakers about different jobs that the children could pursue if they stay in school. We had brought them a lot of school supplies and craft supplies.

Next we headed to Antigua to do some sightseeing and shopping. It was the halfway point to out nest stop in the mountains. The view was beautiful. And there were a couple of beautiful churches. One of which had been a destroyed by an earthquake in 1772 the ruins were pretty cool to see. While were there we stayed at this beautiful Lutheran Retreat Center.

The next stop was a Methodist church camp up in the mountains. It was quite was a little chilly there. Especially at night. There we did work around the camp. We painted beds, painted the support beams for the roof, picked up garbage, and also a couple members on the trip did some work on lake rehabilitation. We also visited a nearby orphanage there. There children were just amazing. Smart, and responsible (they all had chores to do). Many had lost their parents to the years of violence or their parents couldn't support them.

More to come....


Judy Callarman said...

This is very interesting. I went on several mission trips to Mexico a few years ago, and I was struck by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the Latin people and how it showed in their faces. They were very different from Americans.

I hope that through your generation, our mainline church (UMC) can survive to fulfill its mission (make disciples of Jesus Christ)! I'm sure there will be changes; I think the church is kind of in agony over the coming needed changes.

My son is also in seminary--a Baptist one. He loves it. So I am interested in reading your comments about school.

Kristen said...

I odn't know what happened to the pictures

grh said...

I just came back from a language learning trip to Guatemala with a group from United Methodist Volunteers in Mission. I kept a travel blog during the trip. It was truly an amazing place.

Kristen said...

Ok so the pictures are back... gotta love blogger