Sunday, 17 November 2013

"Yellow, White. Yellow, White."

In the past month, Neil’s have had quite a lot of company around. That keeps things interesting. Also, Pablo Yoder and Howard Bean came to Guatemala to speak at the General Institute. They also made things interesting. And now that the interesting things are over for a bit, I feel more like I do now than I did when they were happening.

In A Nutshell…

On Friday (Oct 18th) evening, Neil’s family took the night bus into Guatemala City to pick up their son, Tyler. He flew into the city on Saturday, and they got on a bus Sunday afternoon for the return trip to El Chal. Neil called me sometime on Sunday evening and told me that I should go to bed because they were having bus trouble, and wouldn’t be arriving until much later than they had thought. He said he’d wake me up when they were closer. Since I had to take some people to catch the bus for the city late that evening anyway, going to bed would have to wait. After the dropping two different people off for two different buses at two different times I finally got to bed at about 11:30. I woke up around 1:00 AM to my phone ringing. If my phone waking me up in the middle of the night wasn’t a miracle to begin with, then the fact that I talked to Neil, comprehended what he said, and set my alarm for 1:45 AM before falling asleep again, was. At about 2:00 AM an old, junky bus pulled over, and Neil and his family filed out. They all looked about as tired as I felt. All of them, that is, except for Dylan. He came bouncing off the bus and was talking like he’d had twelve hours of sleep. I met Tyler, even though I couldn’t really see him because it was dark. We hauled their pile of luggage home and went to sleep. The next morning at breakfast, everyone looked and acted pretty tired. Everyone, that is, except for Dylan. He was as energetic and talkative as ever. I think he was pretty pumped about hanging out with his older brother again. I could relate with him a little bit, I think. Older brothers are just pretty awesome.

Dylan's "new" room
Neil and Lucinda's "new" room
The first thing we worked on when after Tyler arrived was finishing the work in the two bedrooms upstairs. Just the trim and the floor needed to be finished, so it wasn’t too long before we were done. I’m sure Neil’s and Dylan are happy to be able to sleep in their own rooms again.

On Sunday, (Oct 27th) Neil’s family, a few of the staff girls, and I went to Mopán for the afternoon for a picnic. We all managed to pile into one truck, and although the weather wasn’t exactly ideal, we made it. No one complained… much. We arrived there to see more water pouring over the falls than I had ever seen there before. We ate burgers and hotdogs for lunch. Due to the wet and damp atmosphere, everyone was cold, and swimming didn’t seem like the best idea. But my theory is if you endure the hour-and-a-half long, bumpy, gravel road ride you have to jump off the falls at least once. And if you jump in once you have to do it at least one more time… and so on. Although the water was fairly frigid, I thought jumping in was worth it.
Only a little bit wet and cold
The following Wednesday evening was the “Clausura” or final program for the school students. The evening before we had a church cleaning instead of regular service so that the church would be nice and clean for the program. The only thing that I had to do at the program was show a clip from the “José” movie that I had helped make with the Basico students. It seemed to be a bit of a hit because Wesley got rid of about thirty DVDs after the program. Quite a few people even stayed after the program to watch the whole thing projected on the wall. The students did really well with the acting and Wesley did an incredible job of organizing and directing. Kudos to them!

The whole school singing!
Grades seven and eight… these were my english students this past year
They prefer studying english over singing
"José the movie"

On Monday morning (Nov 4th) I woke up at about 3:00 to get ready to leave for the General Institute. I had to gather a few people around and take them to the mission so that we’d all be ready to leave by 4:00. I was pretty sure that all of our stuff and us were not going to fit into the Toyota van, but Douglas had other ideas. I’ve always thought that my dad is the best at taking large amounts of luggage and fitting it into the smallest amount of space possible. I still think that… but Douglas comes pretty close. For the first half of the trip to the capital, I had to sit on a wooden bench in between two seats. The bench didn’t have a back, which made sleeping a little difficult, but my high levels of sleepiness evened things out. We got into the city at about 1:00, just in time for lunch. I was in charge of a children’s class each afternoon, and Lucio was my helper. We had lots of fun learning memory work, acting out Bible stories, playing games, and doing activities. On the last day, we had a “gum” hunt. The stories were the parables Jesus told about the lost sheep and the lost coin. To illustrate how each one of us is important to God, I didn’t let them eat the gum until every last package was found. It seemed like a great idea, but afterwards, I wasn’t sure if I got through to them because they were to busy chewing gum.

Another really good thing about the institute was seeing Howard and Barb again. They didn’t show up until Wednesday, so I had to wait two long days before I got the package they brought from my family. Howard had one talk in the morning and another one in the afternoon on Thursday. I switched my children’s class timeslot with Gerber just so that I could hear Howard twice. It was really nice to be able to hear him speak again! At one point Howard was talking about examples of church members disagreeing over the smallest things. He told us the story of a church that got into a big argument over whether to paint the new church walls white or yellow. They even called in a third party to “break the tie.” The third party guy thought they should just paint the walls black because of the sadness of the situation. From the audience Byron immediately pointed at the white-and-yellow striped canvas of the tent we were in and commented that those people could’ve learned a thing or two from our church. “Yellow, white. Yellow, white.”

Pablo Yoder from Nicaragua was also at the institute. He is a really good speaker as well. His way of explaining things with stories and illustrations makes him really easy to understand… even for someone who doesn’t have Spanish as their first language. His messages spoke to me, and I came home from the week feeling spiritually refreshed, happy, and just really generally pretty glad that I went.

I got home to a house full of visitors. I actually got home to an empty house but I definitely saw signs of visitors. The house actually wasn’t empty, but I thought it was at the time. Anyway, after I took a nice long nap, Neil’s returned from Ixpanpajul and Santa Elena with Alvin Jr. and his family. That’s when I found out that Lucinda had been home resting because she was sick with Dengue fever. Alvin is Neil’s friend from the states and he brought his family to Guatemala for about two weeks. They have four girls and one boy. It was quite an experience for the children since they had never been too far from home before. The whole family seemed to enjoy it, and I’m sure it is a memory they will treasure for a long time.

Top 5 Highlights…

>>Planting beans with Lucio and Pedro. One morning Pedro, Lucio, and I went out to some field to plant beans. It was an interesting experience! There were no tractors.
>>Empanadas for supper. Neil picked up some empanadas for supper one evening while Alvin’s were here. They took forever to arrive, but they were well worth the wait!  
>>Food at institute. Because food at institutes is always so good.
>>Going to a graduation party with Kevin and Chito. Since I was their dad for a day, I took them to a grad party for someone I didn’t know… and still don’t. We arrived right on time but no one else showed up until almost an hour later… just a little awkward. The food tasted pretty good but left me feeling a little sick. I’m not sure how this made it into the highlights.  
>>Getting a burger from Stephan. Stephan spent most of the week of institute “baby-sitting” the guests at Byron’s house so that Byron could take care of his responsibilities at the institute. Stephan sent me a message telling me how good the burgers were. He even sent a burger for me in a package labeled “Proof for Ricky.”

Top 5 Quotes…

“I don’t know who is your wife, but you are going to be my dad tomorrow.” – Kevin

“A bachelor is someone who washes the dishes right before he eats instead of right after.” – Tyler

“Hey, if you toot your own horn at least you know your batteries aren’t dead yet.” – Alvin

“I never complain either… when I’m sleeping.” – Alvin

“I shouldn’t try to do so many things at once… like wear a pink shirt and pick up a cup.” – Stephan (after dropping and breaking a glass cup)

Spanish Vocabulary…

Peregrino (peh reh GREE noh) – it means “pilgrim”

Memory tool: Pippen’s (from the Lord of the Rings) real name is Peregrin, and  he kind of reminds me of a pilgrim.

Fun Facts…

>>It’s a tradition around here to have pizza on Friday nights.

>>It’s a tradition around here to have pancakes on Saturday mornings.

>>I like weekends.

>>Coke makes a great “treasure” for a treasure hunt (more on this next blog J).

More to Add…

One really awesome thing that happened over institute was Pedro accepted the Lord! That is a huge answer to prayer!
This weekend the youth group from the city came and spent some time with our youth group. It was a lot of fun, and I’m sure the next blog post will have more information about it.
And a third thing… keep praying for me that I’d grow in my relationship with God, and as I relate to and be an example to all the young guys like Pedro, Lucio, Edix, Kevin… (I could go on) that I hang out with.
Dios les bendiga ricamente!

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