Wednesday, 2 October 2013

They've Moved On to the Cinnamon Buns

As promised, and only slightly behind schedule, here is a summary of Spanish school and youth institute… and more.

In A Nutshell…

From Monday to Friday (September 9th to 15th) I planned to study Spanish at “La Enseñanza” in Antigua. I left El Chal on the night bus on Sunday evening planning to arrive in Antigua by 8:00 for my class the following morning. I knew that it would be pushing it a little bit to make it by then, but what’s the fun in giving yourself enough time? I traveled on the “Maya de Oro” bus line. If you know anything about Guatemalan bus lines, you’ll know that when travelling with “Maya de Oro,” it’s not uncommon to wake up in the middle of the night to find that the bus is stopped. However, when you wake up and discover that the bus is stopped, go back to sleep for an hour and a half, then wake up again only to see that you’re in the same spot… you know you’ve got a problem. The double-decker bus that I was riding was obviously not going anyplace soon, so another bus had to come pick us up. A fairly nice looking bus showed up and all the people that were sitting in the bottom of the dysfunctional bus hopped in and left. Those of us in the top waited until an old, rickety, bus labeled “Fuente del Norte” showed up. It was hard to find the door to get in due to the cloud of black smoke that constantly hovered around the bus. Surprisingly enough, this bus got us all the way to the edge of Guatemala City, where we switched busses one more time before finally arriving at the station, a good three hours late. Tim Korver and Harold Kaufman were waiting for me and took me to mission headquarters, where I caught the chicken bus to Antigua.

La Enseñanza

I arrived at the school right around 10:30. The Spanish practice started right away, because I had to explain to her in Spanish why I was late. They were really nice about everything, though. They even offered to do an extra half hour each afternoon to make up of the lost time. I took them up on their offer. I definitely enjoyed my week in Antigua, and I think I even learned some stuff. It was nice being the student for once instead of the teacher. I also liked walking through the streets of Antigua in the afternoons. The small city has many cobblestone streets, old buildings, beautiful parks, and a McDonalds. Another thing that was different from what I am used to was the climate. It wasn’t scorching hot all the time. In fact, it even got cold! Thankfully, I had my under armour sweater along.

After the week of Spanish school, I went to Sumpango for the youth institute. It was encouraging to see quite a few young Guatemalan youth that I hadn’t met before. Besides lectures, there were a few “workshops” as well. The boys had a class on electricity and the girls learned how to make tamales. There was also an music class taught by Stephan. It was a good weekend for me, and I think that everyone learned a lot. I know that I did. On the last evening, Stephan talked about his “Secrets” to living the Christian life. He mentioned a lot of helpful, practical ideas. I was reminded throughout the weekend that I still have some things to work on. You can keep praying for me.

The week after institute was the last week of English classes in fourth and fifth grades. After those classes were done, I had some more time to help make windows and doors for a new classroom. Danny Beachy’s son Marcus was in Petén for a week or so to help Neil with the windows and doors as well.

Two new doors and a refurbished door!

Another thing that I have been helping out with is the movie of the story of Joseph that the basico classes (grades 7 and 8) are making. I’m doing some of the filming as well as the editing. They are doing an excellent job! It has been a lot of fun going out to fields outside of town with views that look similar to what it might have looked like in Bible times. The basico classes are full of talented actors.

Jacob's large family
Simeon and Judah

Top 5 Highlights…

>>Burgers at Stephan’s. Brenda invited me over to their house for supper one evening because they were having hamburgers and she knows that hamburgers are my favourite food. I’m thinking I should find more favourite foods!
>>Finishing English Classes. I really enjoyed teaching English this year, but it will be nice to have a break from it, too.
>>Buying a plane ticket. I’ll be home for Christmas!
>>Skyping with my family. I like technology. There’s something about being able to see their faces that makes it seem like your just a little bit closer.
>>Mcfluries from McDonalds. I had to get at least one Mcflury when I was in Antigua. Okay… maybe two.

Top 5 Quotes…

“Ricky, I don’t know what I’m going to do... I can’t find my shoehorn.” – Craig

“If the power ever goes out for a month… we’ll be prepared.” – Brenda (while taking a huge candle out of a box)

“Ricky, what will be the last name of your future wife?” – Harold Kaufman

“What do you mean? We haven’t had an unbearable day yet. We’re still here. We beared them!” – Neil

“Buy PC! Half the price and the webcam works!” – my uncle Todd (he found it funny that the webcam on my MacBook Pro was experiencing technical difficulties)

Spanish Vocabulary…

Escape (es CAH peh) – it means “exhaust pipe” …or “escape”

Memory tool: I just think it’s cool that “escape” and “exhaust pipe” are the same word. I mean, why not?

Fun Facts…

>>The mosquitos here in Petén have apparently exhausted the supply of blood in humans. They’ve moved on to the cinnamon buns.

Just in case you thought I was lying...

>>If a guy comes to the gate wanting to borrow 100 Quetzales, and says that he’ll leave his belt here for collateral and return the money tomorrow, and you take him up on his offer, you probably just bought a belt.

>>October first is “Children’s Day” in Guatemala.

>>I honestly can’t think of anything else to say about Coke.

More to Add…

One of Stephan’s “secrets” to living a successful Christian life was “Spend your entire day with God.” For me it’s easy to think that if I read the Bible and pray for a while in the morning, I’m good to go for the rest of the day. But God wants us to be with Him every minute of every day. He wants us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17). This is something that I want to do better at, and I challenge you to do the same!

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