Raise your hand if you used this in your Sunday service. Everyone in the Groundwork Guatemala house is waving both in the air. Praise the Lord for the awesome worship opportunity we had this morning at Minesterios Senderodelacruz!
We started the day with a hearty breakfast of eggs and toast, cooked by our lovely hostess, Ginny. We also had some of the best coffee I've ever tasted, yummmm. After breakfast we practiced some of the songs that we will be singing throughout this week as we get the chance to visit with more Guatemala. At the start of our trip our band consisted of Paige on the guitar, Lauren on the ukulele and many background singers. Today it grew to include Mars on the auto harp (Google it! We tried to find you happy people a picture, but our Guatemala internet went bonkers.) as well as Lauren on the harmonica, and a few new friends learning the ukulele. After jammin' out, it was time for church.
Everyone was super welcoming at church! We had the chance to talk to some students that Groundwork Guatemala sponsors and learn a little more about their lives. From the outside, you would not have guessed that the building was a church. Upon entering, God's presence was evident, and a cultural experience was had by all. The service began with an hour of praise music, followed by three Bible readings. After each reading, an elder from the church explained them in depth. There was a time for prayer, during which people got very emotional. These people, despite the economic and physical trials they may be facing, truly embodied their faith and welcomed us with open arms. The service included liturgical dancers and many musicians including trumpeters, singers, and ram's hornists that created a very different atmosphere from our traditional way of worship. It was very sentimental, and time was not a constraint on the length of worship. The heart language of the people we met today was very different that used in the hymns of American churches, and seeing how moving the service was for everyone showed us that the message of the Gospel is universal. Regardless of the language barrier, it was obvious that the Gospel transcended culture but still was conveyed through this culture (citation: Pastor Jeff =D).
After lunch we had a rundown of what to expect for the week, and a few procedural things to get through. While Ginny was explaining these things a visitor came. Maritza and her two daughters, Adi and Glendi, came to welcome and encourage us. This proved to be another example of how devoted these people (that we are just meeting) are to building relationships with us. In this case, Maritza and the girls spent two hours cooking us tamalitas, a celebratory Guatemalan meal. After prepping, they spent an hour and a half on a bus just to come visit with us. Although there was a language barrier, we were able to connect and share laughs with these women.
After the visit, our team finished up some last minute preparations for our crafts/ music/ skit for the week. We got to spend some time outside on the roof as we practiced our skit, and saw some views of the surrounding neighborhood.
For dinner, we ate some delicious homemade vegetable soup and guacamole. We learned from our host, Kevin, that our guacamole was made from avocados that Manuel (a missionary from Guatemala living in this house) just got from Buena Vista. Manuel brought back 1,600 avocados. How does he store them in his small apartment you ask? We'll tell you. They are kept in his bed for safekeeping, just in case the avocado fairy comes calling.
We concluded our day with a Bible study. Kyle led us in a debriefing of our time here, giving us time to share our experiences. We read about Paul and Barnabus' work spreading the Gospel during the time of the early church. It was encouraging to see how God worked through these men, giving them the words and knowledge they needed at the proper time. We are excited to see how God will work in Guatemala this week! Right after this, we continued our discussion on encouragement and brainstormed ways to incorporate it into our faith lessons that we will be using with the kids we meet this week. Stay tuned to find out how it goes!
Shelle-Shelle and Han-Ban
For our prayer tonight, we'll leave you with a hymn:
O Christ, who art the light and day
Thou drivest night and gloom away;
O Light of Light, whose Word doth show
The light of heav'n to us below.
All-holy Lord, in humble prayer
We ask tonight Thy watchful care.
O grant us calm repose in Thee,
A quiet night, from perils free.
Our sleep be pure from sinful stain;
Let not the tempter vantage gain
or our unguarded flesh surprise
and make us guilty in Thine eyes.
Asleep though wearied eyes may be,
Still keep the heart awake to Thee;
Let Thy right hand outstretched above
Guard those who serve the Lord they love