Our Jobs

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.

Scott will 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!