The fourth day of my frist Missions trip. Book of Hope Day 4. Guatemala 2004.
Wednesday, March 10, 10:00 PM
Another day completed. Wow, a lot of fun. After breakfast in the morning and being up at 6 AM as usual we were on our way. Today we did some school that we a little bit poorer than yesterday and one that was the poorest we had been to.
1 st school (1896-1898): We get there and unpack; these are kids in first and second grade. As we are unpacking there is no power cord for the sound system. My responsibility, good job Jason. We were able to borrow a CD player from the school, but we wouldn’t have any microphones for the presentation. We sent back one of the guys who is in charge of this whole project back to find the power cord I carelessly left. I can’t say that there was a lot that stuck out with this group of kids. They responded well and accepted the books.
2 nd school (1899-1916): This school was a lot of fun. The kids were very energetic. We got there during their recess time – maybe 45 minutes before our presentation. So during this time we got to play with the kids. This is the best part I think. I get to ask them their names and ages and such. That is about the extent of Spanish I can really do. Several of them kept offering me some of their snacks, which I accepted and ate even though I didn’t really want to. These kids definitely liked to be in pictures. It’s great seeing the excitement on their faces when they get an opportunity to be in a picture with an American or just any picture at all. I showed them the picture I took with them on my camera. Boy, were they amazed; I had so many of them just staring at the LCD screen and more asking to see. Good thing I didn’t try to show them all of the pictures on my camera. One thing I really like about all of these schools is the uniforms. I know we balk it the thought, but all the kids looking the same makes things so much simpler for everybody. Plus they all look so organized and such with them. This was our first presentation were the kids yelled for an encore. We were planning on doing our traditional three skits that we do for the school with kids this age. So after the first one, they yelled for encore and we told them we would be doing two more. After the second skit, they yelled for encore again even though we told them there would be another after the second one. We did the third skit and they yelled for more. But our time was up and we had another school to get to before lunch.
3 rd school (1922-1934): This was a Christian school that was part of a church, so we went in assuming they all know about Jesus and the like. All the kids were pretty young, probably our smallest crowd yet. These kids did not seem to want to pay attention much or sit still in their seats. I didn’t quite get it, they were constantly turning around look at the back and there was nothing going on in the back. We did our usual younger kid presentation. There was this one girl who had lost both of her legs and was unable to write because her hands were deformed. She was just the sweetest girl as Celeste describers her.
Before lunch we headed to where the “hopefest” would be the next day. I was expecting something that could hold a good number of people and a stage. But we show up to this tiny shack with no windows and one small door in the back, very dimly lit, in a pretty poor part of town. We gave directions out to all of the kids at the schools today and I can’t imagine how they will find it, but I sure hope they do. Even though the conditions are very limited, especially space, I’m excited to see what will happen tomorrow night.
(1935-1954) Now is time for lunch, of course I was excited about this. The food was definitely a bit different, but alright. We were eating in a friend of the pastor’s house. After lunch, Pete tells he is leaving for the rest of the day along with all of the other leaders to go hang out in Antigua . So they drive off in the van and the taxi leaves as well, leaving 9 college students in the middle of a fairly dangerous part of Guatemala City . I wanted to walk around while we waited for the van to return empty, but apparently it was a bit too dangerous for that. Jim and Heidi were quite tired during dinner and decided to take a nap while we were still eating (1935). We got to see a kid named Denis while we were waiting; he lived across the dirt path (road). We just relaxed and goofed around until the van arrived.
4 th school (1955-1975): This was by far the poorest school we had been to. Running outside the school was a ditch dug for sewage; we hadn’t seen this anywhere before. Trash cans were in the middle of the courtyard filled with trash. The courtyard was just a cleared area with some gravel on the hard dirt ground. During the presentation a really skinny dog came in and began to rummage through the trash. The kids were leaning on the trash cans while this was happening and didn’t even seem to notice. This is also the first school were the kids did not have some sort of uniform on; no matching tops or anything. Apparently this means the kids at the school are really poor. As you can see from the pictures, sheets act as doors and windows. These kids weren’t as energetic as we were used to being a younger crowd, but they did show a fair amount of excitement. Bringing them the books and giving them bracelets, I’m sure meant a whole lot to them. To think they may never had a book before, or not one of their own. One of the teachers came and asked for more copies of the book for her kids that she could not afford to send to school. Many of the kids wanted more bracelets to give to their siblings as well. I guess it just goes to show you that when you and your family have nothing, when one gets something, he/she wants to share it with the rest of the family. I wish the American culture has some of the same wonderful qualities this poor people in Guatemala City had. As we left this place it was just sad to see how incredibly poor some people are in this world.
5 th school (1976-1978): We didn’t take pictures at this school; it was the same school as the one we went to first in the day, but with older students. These were all about 15 and 16 years old. I’m always skeptical at first dealing with a little bit older kids, but now I realize these are the ones I can really relate with. These are the ones that understand what I am talking about and have had enough problems to realize that the solutions they have tried don’t work. Jim, Kevin, and I played hackisack with them – well it involved this light small ball rather than a hackisack. This was definitely a good way to break the ice and let the kids there know that we are just like them. After their recess, we were playing some music and sort of dancing around and such as well. I was really hoping these kids would see we are just like them and would take us seriously when we talked to them. Since we were dealing with older kids, I gave my testimony again. It is just amazing to see these guys listen intently to me and my story. After I shared they gave me a round of applause, something I hadn’t received yet. Totally awesome. After the presentation and distribution of books I talked with a group of girls for quite some time. Well I tried to talk to them, I couldn’t understand what they were trying to say or ask me. They would try to explain differently in Spanish, but that didn’t help. It was fun though, they laughed at me a lot and how we weren’t able to communicate. After they ran off to class another two girls came up to me and asked my name and such. Then the one girls tells I’m handsome and she likes me a lot, then giggles and runs off. What fun. But the best part of it was after this, many of the people came up and asked me to write my name on a piece of paper or in one of their notebooks. This time rather than just writing my name, I would ask their names and write “Jason Lund, Jesus loves you, xxxxx”, in English. So I hope they would be interested enough to translate it and when they do they will be reminded of what we tried to tell them today. But the coolest thing was one girl asked for my address and I gave it to her. I really hope that I get a letter from her. I wish I would have been more proactive and got some addresses of the people I talked to for quite some time. Krista got the names and address of about 10 girls and 3 little stuffed animal gifts. I guess it helps if you can speak the language a little. Oh well, it was an awesome fun time at that school. I think the kids really understand what we were saying. The whole team prayed a lot before and during the presentation that something awesome would happen. And something awesome did. We all could see it, and talked much about it when we got back in the van to head home.
It’s been another great day here, I’m so glad I’m not off wasting my money somewhere else. After devotions tonight, I pulled out my laptop so we could watch Jim mess up during our dance for the high school students and then watch my horrible white dancing style. We then went though all 218 pictures and laughed and reminisced a little about each one. It was just a lot of fun thinking back on the four days we have been here and how much has happened. We must have laughed straight for over an hour. Just an awesome time, I wish everybody took an opportunity gets to go on a trip like this.
Helen: Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 4:16-21. Why so much poverty in Honduras ? Why so much suffering? Verse 18 – this is why God created us more fortunate Christians. These people need help and are open to it. Krista: had been having trouble speaking Spanish all day, but saw this girl that she wanted to talk to. She asked God to help her have enough Spanish to talk to the girl. She ended up next to the girl after giving out books, and was able to talk to her about stuff and got her address. What we are doing is somewhat filling the passage in verse 18. Maybe we can give some money to the translators and/or pastors of the churches we have been working with.