It was touch-and-go there for a
while. Ever since committing to the mission back in April, we
were wondering where in Guatemala we would be spending the next
year. Our suspicion was that we would be in the tropical
lowlands in the northern part of Guatemala. Our site
coordinators in Guatemala had hinted that this would be a strong
possibility. Our friend Carla bought us a Guatemala guidebook
for our birthdays in June. So, in preparation for our trip, we
decided to read up on the country, and, in particular, the northern
part. We open the book to find a section on
"Weather". It reads:
The tropical lowlands of the
north are hell on earth. The heat is unbearable during the
day, and the sun is relentless. The humidity is so high that
sweat never dries, leaving you wet and miserable 24/7.
Wow! sounds like a dream come
true to me! Still, we knew we would be prepared for wherever
God called us to go.
A couple of weeks ago, we received
an e-mail telling us where we would be spending the next year, and
what we would be doing. Much to our surprise, we found out
that we would be in Quetzaltenango, a town in the western highlands
of Guatemala - the same place where our language school is
located! The locals call it Xela (pronounced "shay-lah").
|Xela boasts about
150,000 people and sits at 7,000 feet elevation.
Temperatures will be 60-70 during the day and 30-50 at night (much
better than the alternative, eh?). It's the second-largest
city in the country... so, it stands to reason that Xela has
restaurants, hotels, hospitals, laundromats, and even a
Mickey-D's... or so we've been told. The town sits right in
the middle of green mountains, in the shadow of an active volcano,
Volcan Santa Maria. Check out http://www.xelapages.com
for more info on the town.
||We'll be staying with a
host family. We're not sure yet if they will live in town, or
in one of the surrounding villages. Once we get the details,
we'll pass them along.
Now the question is... what will we
be doing there? Well... after five weeks in language school at
Centro Maya de Idiomas http://www.centromaya.org/idiomas/
we will start our jobs full-time (we'll likely be doing some
part-time stuff while attending school). Ironically enough,
the skills we need to do our jobs in Guatemala won't be too far
afield from the skills needed to do our jobs back in the U.S....
minus the whole "language" issue.
be working for CESSMAQ (pronounced "sess-mock"), the
Evangelical Committee For Service and Support of the Maya Quiche
Presbytery. (I know... the words don't match up with the
acronym, but I guess I'll figure out the real Spanish words when I
get there). Anyhow, CESSMAQ is a tremendous ministry group
that serves a group of churches populated by the Maya Quiche
people. The Maya Quiche are one of several dozen indigenous
groups still keeping there culture alive in Guatemala today.
CESSMAQ works with the Maya Quiche to to build new churches in
unserved villages, improve literacy, lead community health projects,
and assist in agricultural and economic development. Scott's
job will be as a teacher. The subjects are far-reaching, and
could include topics such as business skills, English, teamwork,
music, and health. He'll also be working with the youth of the
area. The Maya Quiche Presbytery is scattered throughout the
highlands, so there will likely be some travel.
Gabby will be working for PRESGOV
(pronounced, "prez-guv"), a branch of the National
Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala. PRESGOV's job is
to receive and facilitate mission groups that are visiting the
country from churches in the U.S. Half of Gabby's job will be
coordinating the mission trips for these groups that come down for
one or two weeks at a time. She'll be organizing travel, as
well as working with churches in villages all over the country to
discover what the greatest need might be at any given time.
Once she has uncovered the need, she'll have to come up with a plan
as to how a particular group will address a given need. Once
the plan is in place and an itinerary is developed, she'll be
accompanying many of the groups on their missions as a "tour
guide" of sorts. Her job description is INCREDIBLY
diverse, requiring business skills, as well as good ol' fashioned
elbow grease! Gabby will certainly get to see the ENTIRE
country by the time the year is up. Scott just hopes to be able to
accompany her on some of the adventures.
The year promises to be both
enlightening and challenging! We can't wait to get
started! Until next time... say some prayers for us!