Gabby's Entry #8
"Dios esta aquí"
I see it everyday here. Guatemala
is a place of poverty and suffering but at the same time it is a
place of great wealth -- of spirit.
There is a grace for receiving and a joy and love for the
Lord. Everywhere you
look you can see and HEAR signs of His presence – from the
inscriptions on back of microbuses to the hundreds of churches with
giant speakers blasting the word of God across the countryside.
group of 12 from Madison, Wisconsin felt His presence here, with us.
Many things happened on this trip, not all of which I will be able to
tell in one sitting, or maybe ever. Not because I don’t want
to but because it would be really difficult to express all that I felt
and experienced on this trip.
biggest difference with this trip than others, I think, was the level
of challenge the group faced almost immediately upon arrival.
shuttled them up to 12,000 feet where the altitude made it was
difficult for them to breathe. They
were then ushered into a hotel, the finest San Juan Ixcoy had to
offer, that was less then they expected. There were shared
double beds for the women and one hot shower per floor in the shared
bath at the end of the hall complete with urinal in the open.
And no heat with nights in the 30s and 40s. The next day, we went to breakfast, had a bible study and
headed down to our worksite. A
30-minute walk, we were told by our Guatemalan brothers.
For them, sure! For
us gringos, not so much. Two
hours later, we arrived, after an exhausting HIKE through mountain
terrain. There were
boulders to cross, holes to avoid, logs to step over or around, steep
grades and thin paths all along this beautiful countryside.
I think for many it was hard to see the grandeur during this
The 30 minute walk that took us 2 hours
The mountainside worksite
as if this weren’t enough, God decided we needed some more
One of the people in the group (let’s call him Bob) has been
through three kidney transplants.
He became dehydrated and unable to drink more fluids because he
was nauseous, probably due to altitude sickness and exertion.
The group worried and prayed.
Another person was sick as well, unable to eat and feeling
as a family, Guatemalans and North Americans alike, we persevered and
hiked back from the mountain worksite on a trail possibly more
treacherous than the original.
All intact, all tired but all relieved, we survived this day.
we couldn’t be sure of his electrolyte levels and the nature of his
health, the decision was made to take Bob to the hospital.
Simple enough, right?
It was nighttime, in the mountains, in a remote town.
The clinic was closed.
There is no doctor available.
So Charity and I went to seek advice while Selena did the same.
We asked the local Peace Corps. worker, Jordan, if he knew of a doctor
He took us directly to the Mayor who recommended two clinics in
Soloma, a town 20 minutes away.
The mayor didn’t have the numbers so he suggested we go to
the police station.
We arrived to find Selena already there, getting help and
We called the clinic.
The doctor agreed to return with Martin, our driver, to San
An hour later they had returned with the doctor and a nurse.
After administering an IV and assessing his health the doctor
recommended we take Bob to the hospital.
A police escort was arranged due to the late hour but they had
no lights on their truck.
So Selena bought some.
The nurse agreed to accompany Bob to the hospital in
Huehuetenango, two hours away.
God traveled with them too, but it was God that stayed behind
with the rest of us as well.
stories you don't hear in the US papers are the ones like these.
When someone dies, it makes the papers. When all things fall
into place and someone LIVES, through the grace of God in the hands of
others, you can't read about it in the morning paper or on the web.
Where do you read about a doctor who left his home at 7pm at night
from a town 20 minutes away, who was so touched by what the group was
doing to help his people in Guatemala, that he refused to accept
payment for his services, his time, or his 20-minute cab ride back to
his home? And the nurse who traveled for two hours to the
hospital, stayed the night and didn't return home until the following
day? These acts are newsworthy but they often only remain in the
hearts of those that experienced it.
the same time, those of us that stayed behind were bonded by this
experience -- the whole experience. We felt the love and support
of our Guatemalan brothers and sisters who assisted us in our mountain
hikes to our water project worksite. And we felt a special love for
each other. Without the Guatemaltecos we would not have been
able to make it. Literally. The second day only two from
the group went back to the worksite and the third day, one. But
God had other plans for those that stayed remained in the aldea (tiny
village) of Yulguitz. His plan, while different from ours, led
to greater understanding of culture, stronger friendships, shared
moments and appreciation for the work the women do daily.
God guides our path and leads the way, a Vietnam vet and a draft
dodger roomed together because they both snore. Conversations
happened that otherwise would not have. A favorite food in a
tube became sustenance for the tired and the sick on that first long
hike. Two women that didn’t know each other from Adam before
this trip spent many nights up late talking in their shared bed and
tiny room. A Guatemalan baby was named after a pastor and a sick
man. A Guatemalan student became a leader, friend, brother and
guardian angel. A mother watched her daughter communicate in
ways she had never seen before. A man depended on others as he
had never done before. Guatemalans realized that sometimes, they
are stronger than those from the North. A pastor was given a day
“to be” in the presence of God and his fellow man. People
sang this song, led by Guatemalans. Charity and I liked it so
much, we translated it, in the mountains at the worksite where our
Guatemalan friends were mixing concrete and creating a water source
for their village some five miles away. I think it’s a great
way to end this journey. A tale of a family created in the love
Dios esta aquí
cierto como el aire que respiro,
cierto como en la mañana, se levanta el sol,
cierto que cuando le hablo, El me puede oír.
know God is here
sure as the air I breathe,
sure as the morning, when the sun comes up,
sure he hears the words I speak.
In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He wsa with God in the beginning. Through him all things
were made; without himnothing ws made that has been
made. In him ws life, and that life was the light of
men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness
has not understood it.