|At the McDonalds In Antigua|
The first day in Guatemala is always a day to get acclimated to the climate and the altitude. We are at elevation 5,000 feet in a drier, cooler climate than we flatlander Floridians are used to. The sun is bright and because the temperatures are cooler, deceiving. If we do not stay hydrated and wear sunscreen, we can easily get sunburned and start feeling ill. In addition, though it is only a two and a half hour flight from Miami, the travel, particularly the winding hour long ride from Guatemala City to Antigua is draining. So, the first day is spent sightseeing and getting ready for the real work which begins tomorrow and that we are all eager to do. With daylight savings time beginning last night, many of us who use our cell phones as alarm clocks woke up an hour earlier than we had planned. There were no tardy team members at breakfast this morning! After a delicious buffet that included tortillas, black beans, eggs, plantains and fresh fruit juice, we enjoyed our worship time as we begin to build the bonds of family that will be forged tightly this week. We are a mix of folks from our church, two other churches in Florida and the “Texas five” who joined us after flying in from Houston. After worship the twenty members of our church scurried in place to Skype into our home church’s worship service. With the miracles of modern technology our congregation, many of whom financially assisted us to come, got to be a little part of our experience as three of our team members answered questions about the work that we will do. We closed with all of us shouting “Adios”, and then, gathered our things to hurry off to the converted army trucks that transported us to the Coffee Plantation. Most of our team members chose to zip line, while a few others toured the coffee plantation and learned how hard it is to grow coffee. Everyone who loves that beverage really ought to take the tour and appreciated the drink so much more. Four of us who have done both activities gathered on the shade of a porch and enjoyed a snack and visited. I was among those as after a hard week at work last week, I needed to rest. Once everyone was back from their excursion, we had lunch at the Guatemalan McDonalds, same menu, much different environment, and went to the market to shop and barter with the merchants. I chose to come back to the hotel and continue resting, while other went to see the Easter procession which is held weekly until Easter. I had the opportunity to do that last year so felt like I could skip the experience which includes a lot of crowds and a long walk. Tonight, we will divide up into groups to talk about our work this week and begin our preparations. For now, I sit with a cool breeze blowing in my window and contemplate how blessed I am to serve the God of the Nations Who also knows me so intimately that He draws me to be still and rest in Him.