Saturday 10/19/13 – Day 4
We had a relaxing morning. There was nothing on the schedule until this afternoon. Elma thought it would be nice if we went to Zacapa, a town about twice the size of Gualan. Zacapa is a town about 40 minutes to the southwest of Gualan. Needless to say, the mode of transportation was on a bus (a large minivan with no sliding passenger door). Again, we played a lot of musical chairs with people getting on and off the bus. What an experience being able to travel with the local people. I think it is really neat to be able to communicate with people who do not speak English and I sure can’t speak Spanish. Somehow the oral communication barriers are broken and through sign language and body language, you are able to communicate with the person sitting next to you.
When we arrived at Zacapa, we headed toward the Market. There were hundreds of little stall vendors lining both sides of the sidewalk. I would say it was the largest farmers market I have ever been to. I really enjoyed the vendors who had great presentations of fruit, vegetables and spices. It must be my grocery background. After we toured the market and a great cup of Guatemalan coffee, we caught the bus back to Gualan.
Later in the afternoon, Pastor Luis came by the hotel in his pickup truck and all of us headed out to Los Limones to an area where there will be a new Lutheran church. When we pulled up, there were 60 – 80 kids there ranging in age from 4 – 10. There were all waiting for Bible class. There were several students from Los Limones who go to the Lutheran church and school in Gualan who helped out. Pastor Luis led the kids in prayer and song.
Many of these kids cannot read or write so Pastor Luis teaches through oral repetition. They practiced a song for maybe 10 minutes before all of kids could remember the words to the verses. Pastor Luis is a great teacher and highly respected by the kids and the students.
After a few songs and prayers, the kids were divided into two groups. The little ones sat on the ground and were given a sheet of paper showing the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Color crayons were passed out and the kids colored their papers. The older group had a lesson in Luther’s Small Catechism on the Apostle’s Creed. These Small Catechism books (illustrated) were the ones Faith Bentonville sent to Pastor Luis. After the lessons, small treats were passed out to all of the kids. This whole Bible class program was a very heartwarming experience for me (including some tears of joy).
After Bible study, we all piled into the pickup truck for a ride back to the hotel to get ready for dinner with the church council. After we got cleaned up we went to the Pizza-Burger-Dinner via Tuk-Tuk. It was raining which made the ride even more exciting. Dinner with the church council and Pastor Luis and his wife (Nancy) was very enjoyable. Cris and Pastor Luis, with translations from Miles, had a lot of great ideas for future trips to Gualan. After a lot of hugs and goodbyes, we headed back to the hotel.
I am looking forward to going to Antiqua tomorrow after church. The mornings are reasonable cool (75-80 degrees) here in Gualan, but once the sun comes out it is hot and humid. The heat is starting to take its effects on this old man. The heat just drains the energy from you. Thankfully, we have air conditioned rooms which means a good night’s sleep. Antiqua and Guatemala City have a much cooler temperature due to a higher elevation. Gualan is located in a valley while Antiqua and Guatemala City are located in the mountains at an elevation of approximately 5,000 feet above sea level. I am looking forward to going to church tomorrow. The service is in Spanish. Miles said to bring our electronic bibles so we could follow along with the Scripture readings.