The saga of our Guatemala Volunteer Team from Faith Lutheran Church in Grand Blanc, Mich. continues! The children’s ministry team renewed some relationships from their earlier trip, while construction team members rolled up their sleeves and got busy cutting and painting materials:
Monday, July 14th was our first day at the mission. We were up at 6 a.m. and breakfast at 7 a.m. Breakfast included eggs, beans, rice and the standard fried bananas. At 8 a.m. we piled into the van with 3 suitcases of VBS, JOEL and construction supplies to be used just for the day. The half-hour trip to Santiago Zamora took 1 hour due to road construction. The road to the mission was filled with people walking, bicycles, motorcycles (sometimes with 4 people on them), 3-wheeled carts, horse-drawn carriages, and buses bringing workers in from the many villages.
After arriving 30 minutes late, we were greeted by the principal and staff of the school. We were told that the children were waiting with anticipation for our arrival. About 45 children then filed from their various classrooms and formed a half circle in the outdoor activity center. Many of those who remembered us from our previous visit smiled and waved with excitement. Karter fired the kids up as he ran by giving high fives to each of the children he passed. That was follow by Dar running past the kids; they anticipate another high five but were greeted with a coating of silly string. The laughter and smiles were everywhere–as it appears many of the kids had never experienced silly string. We then were greeted with a hug from each child.
There were opening statements and prayers to start the day. Our group then split into two groups consisting of the VBS and JOEL team and the construction team. The construction team began the process of building the roof structure by cutting the metal support post and beams. Since a grinding tool was used to cut the material, Craig was elected to do the cutting since he was the only one who wore long pants. The rest of us were assigned to painting the post and beams. There was over a thousand feet of support material that needed to be cut and painted. The construction team was being led by a group of 3 young men from the town who were hired to head up the project. We were also assigned a translator by the name of Melissa who was a very important part of communicating with the contractors.
At 12:30pm we broke for lunch for our authentic Guatemalan meal prepared by a several women from church. The meal was cooked over an open fire and consisted of chicken, rice and (Jocon) green tomato soup. After lunch, the JOEL team boarded the bus for a one and half our trip to a middle school where they began the 4-day program with 75 middle school students.
Later in the afternoon painting became a little bit more challenging as it began to rain. As the rain began to let up, we are able finish what little painting remained. By the end of the day, our construction team had cut most of the support structure and painted half of it. The construction team boarded the bus at 5 p.m. for our trip back to the hotel in Antigua. Just as in the morning, traffic was heavy and the half hour trip was once again extended to an hour. On the way back, we made several stops for supplies for the next day.
Both teams arrived back at the hotel by 7 p.m. Over a late dinner, team members shared stories of the day’s experiences. We closed out the day with our nightly devotion and then made plans for the next day. We agreed on a 5:30 a.m. start time for the next day’s activities in the hope of keeping up with the day’s busy schedule.