School Visit and an Adorable Primary Program
GUATEMALA TRIP DAY #6
We went to the market this morning along our hotel’s road. It was packed and a little overwhelming (but nothing like Ghana thank goodness) so we had a good time. Mom loved it - especially the material for sale. I bought a green Guatemalan bag for church!
Thanks to Megan for taking this photo of the material in the market!
We then drove up to the TOPS of the mountins - literally where both sides of the roads were sheer drop offs - we rode the ridge! The views were out of this world. Again, the tiny village we went to was incredibly remote and the people unused to visitors (but more so than in Canlun yesterday).
Cliffs on either side of us!
We came to a TINY chapel. Mom told me that the baptismal font was located beneath the pulpit - you just move aside the pulpit to do baptisms! :) Mike called the area, the "Utah of Kekchiland" because nearly everyone was LDS.
Branch president's home. View from on the steep trail.
We went with the branch president to 3 homes. It was HIKING - up and down steep and muddy paths to each home. Their homes were dirt floor, thatch roofed homes. The last home was owned by an elderly branch president - he and his wife greeted us with hugs as we climbed up the stairs cut out of the mud up to their little home. He had served as branch president twice and looked like he was in his 80s or 90s. They were so sweet and kind. It was a tender moment when he went inside his home and loaded out benches for us to sit on - he was so frail but a man of service - and then he sat on the ground and sang along with us to the Christmas songs. As we sang Silent Night, his wife cried and he sang as fully as he could. It was such a consecrated home and he had traveled that steep path up the muddy stairs over and over to do his calling. He gave the closing prayer - it was such a sacred moment.
Probably the best photo from the trip. Credit: Jared Fadel
The mountains were gorgeous - they looked like the Andes because they are SO pointed. I was so happy and content as we hiked and hiked through the skinny “tunnel” paths made out of the green jungle and bamboo around us. It was just the best day for me - hands down. I could have kept going - my body was working great which is another huge miracle!
We went to a school afterwards - there were 100+ students in the school, but they had to turn away 77 because there are not enough teachers and rooms for more. The president of the school said it was like “turning the children away from water”. Some of the kids walk up to 2 ½ hours to attend school. We did a musical activity with them - divided the kids up into parts and helped them experience (most likely for their first time) harmonies. They loved it and WE loved it - such a fun activity to do together! The girls were giggling so hard they could hardly do the activity and would scurry away when Mike came near (they didn’t want to get chosen). :)
On the wall of the school was written, “Live up to your dreams” with a painting of the UP house with balloons. Mom got a picture of me with the painting to show when I speak at schools. :)
5 little girls (2 sets of twins) rode with us to the chapel in Chulac where we got ready for our next fireside. Walter made an incredible meal - blue corn tortillas, beef, and a fun fruit drink (not sure what kind of fruit). The solar panels for the chapel weren’t working at first so we had flashlights at the ready for when the sun went down - but the lights ended up working which was good because our audience was FULL of tons and tons of kids. They were all dressed up and we found out that their primary program was scheduled for right after our performance (probably wanting to only make families travel once for so great a distance). So there was a lot of energy in the room, needless to say. :) I wish we would have cut our program short because we ended up slipping out of their little program early. :(
Mom bore her testimony in the program tonight in Spanish and then Kekchi. They giggled at one point - we’re not sure if it’s because she made a wink face or because she said something incorrectly in Kekchi, but she did great. :) Paul gave a wonderful short testimony as well - pure testifying.
When we finished our portion, all the kids came up for their Primary Program. They were SO CUTE - Mom was in heaven, of course. :) They muttered during the verses and nearly shouted during the choruses - like everywhere else in the world. :)
We slipped out to the busses where members were giving us drinks and mandarins for our journey home. As we pulled out, members were walking along the road in the pitch black night with the stars gleeming - all the primary kids in white shirts were glowing. We passed a cattle truck FULL of children in their white shirts. Who knows how long they had to travel that night - did they get to eat before or after their journey? How kind they are to us - we who have too much...
We drove through the dark, over the mountains and only seeing a couple of lights in the distance. As we got closer to Teleman, we saw homes with Christmas lights. :) Crazy to think we’re in Guatemala for Christmas - we will remember this every year from here on out.
A great photo of Mom's joy as she took a photo of some children following us.
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