It's our last night in San Marcos. We had a later night again tonight. We had some good team time after dinner (Victor, one of the translators from El Salvador, did a teaching on John 13-14), and then we had the official good-byes from our host churches. Interestingly enough, the good-bye included 3 pinatas. Eric, Bridget and Bryce drew the honors of smacking the respective pinatas, and everyone enjoyed the pieces of candy that came out.
The teams had good service days today. The weather was nice early on but turned cloudy before noon and rained off and on the rest of the day. Service completed their work on the playground structure (a jigsaw puzzle of over 200 parts and additional hundreds of nuts, bolts, screws, washers and some things no one knew what to call) and painting at the school. They also found time to play some soccer with the school kids during their recess time. Drorts was on the road again, visiting schools in the outer reaches of the San Marcos district. They had good crowds again, but mixed it up a bit by playing both soccer and basketball- I don't think it was at the same time, though. They got rained on at their last location, but that just made basketball on a dusty concrete court that much more entertaining.
Medical, Childrens and Mime started out at the same location, a small, rural town about an hour southwest of and a thousand feet higher than San Marcos (which is itself at nearly 8000 feet!). The townspeople were excited to have us come- they had the mayor out to welcome us and a 7 piece band to play some rousing welcome music. Once we got through the opening ceremonies the childrens team set up in the town square and performed their program as the clouds swirled around them. Needless to say, it was cold and damp, but there was enough activity that everyone stayed reasonably warm. After the childrens program the mime performed in a nearby church to a crowd of several hundred. While all this was going on medical had set up and started a clinic in the school located between the square and the church. It was a nice location for them, with lots of rooms and lots of covered areas (protection from the passing showers). They also were blessed with the presence of a local nurse who was also able to see patients. As a result they had 5 clinic rooms going and ended up seeing nearly 300 patients, their second-highest number. They had actually seen 340 patients the last day in Malacatan.
After the mime program finished all 3 teams were treated to a wonderful lunch prepared right there by ladies of the town. It was grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables and of course tortillas. It tasted really good to all since we were getting a little chilled in the damp. Refreshed, mime headed off to their afternoon program at another town up in the mountains surrounding San Marcos, childrens headed back to San Marcos proper for their afternoon stop, and the medical team went back to seeing patients. By 7:30 all the teams were back in the host church and finishing up a lovely dinner of carne asada (grilled beef), refried beans, rice and tortillas. And lots of the cinnamon tea the church always had brewed for us (that tea is amazing in how it warms you right up!). Which brings up back to the beginning of this post with the worship and teaching time.
We have had a good stay here in San Marcos- it has been refreshing to both body and soul. So it will be a little difficult to leave in the morning, but everyone is excited to be able to spend time with the kids at the orphanage in Solola. We plan to leave about 8:30am so we can get to Solola by lunchtime and have the afternoon to be with the kids. We will stay there tomorrow night and then move on to R and R the next day. Our prayer requests for the coming days are (1) for safe driving and good roads; there has been a lot of rain (to which I understand you all can relate all too well) but we have not heard of any roads being closed along our route, and (2) that the students will process what they have experienced and not forget what God has done in and through them.
The Word for today comes from Victor's teaching. John 13:34-35 says "A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
As our trip draws to a close we pray the students will continue to build on the bonds that have been developed through both fun and tough times, and that their lives individually and collectively will give clear evidence to the fact they are children of the Lord God.
If there is any internet access I'll post an update from Solola tomorrow. Until then, thanks again for your prayers and support.
Here is some additional input from students:
Yesterday we went to an orphanage in San Marcos. I bonded with some middle school-aged girls as we drew pictures and wrote our names in chalk on the ground. In our children's program, there is a song we always sing that has the lyrics "Dios es mi papa" which translates to "God is my Dad." Being at the orphanage with kids who don't have a mom or a dad present in their lives changed the way I think about these words. We have a heavenly father who cares uniquely for each of us. It was so hard to leave the kids at the orphanage after our time there was over. However, it's reassuring to remember that the children there have an eternal father, even though they lack earthly parents.
Hola from Guatemala! Med team has been AMAZING!!! We just got back from our last full service day. We had one service day in Guatemala City, two in Malacatan, and three here in San Marcos. Med team has served over 1200 people...crazy and exhausting but so worth it. It has been cool to see how God has brought our team together and used everyone's gifts to create an awesome environment. I love everyone on my team, we've gotten super close. I have to go eat dinner now (believe it or not mom I've been doing great with the food) but thank you for all the prayers and support. It really has been one amazing trip. Missing home but loving Guatemala too!
-Peace, Love, and Ibuprofen- from the entire med team!
Valerie Cross and Alannah Beck
HI FROM SAN MARCOS!!! I, (Caroline) have had so much fun helping patients on the med team! Malacatan was challenging, but the patients there have taught me so much.
I am now fluent in spanish, shout out to my swaggy spanish teacher. I don't want to leave; it's so pretty here, I love the mountains. k, bye
Caroline Liang and Peyton Maddern
HidyHo from San Marcos! I'm so happy that I've had the opportunity to serve with the service team here. Since we arrived in San Marcos we have had the opportunity to serve at a pastors house and a christan school up in the mountains. While at the pastors house we knocked out a few walls to make room for a driveway and wheelbarreled mountains of dirt out of the house. Although it was hard work and heavy lifting, our team still had a stellar time doing it. The tedious work of painting walls and building a play-place was more enjoyable with the amazing view that we had. The team even had the opportunity to work in the clouds(literally), be interviewed on the radio, and have fresh fruit for the first time in who knows how long. On our last day here in San Marcos we got to end our day of hard work with a game of soccer with the school staff. I've really enjoyed my time serving here and I will really miss the amazing people I have met, but I could really go for some Chipotle right now. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!
!Hola! from San Marcos! I've been having an amazing time! I feel rejuvinated,being way from reality for such a long period of time. It's so adventurous out here and every single view I see is breathtaking. Guatemala is honestly the most beautiful place I've ever been. I've been working in the medical clinic and the people of Guatemala make it that much more amazing. I have met so many amazing people, I have served so many amazing people and I have had compassion I've never felt before, and I know that is all part of God's plan for me on this trip. Even times that I have felt sick or discouraged, God has shown me that he has a plan for everything I do. I can't fathom how amazing and peaceful this trip has been for me and I know I'm gonna miss it greatly when I come home.