Trip to Guatemala – Part 4

Did I mention that this is a two-week vacation? We arrived August 14 and will return August 27.

It is the first total vacation we have had in the past 14 months. By “total” vacation I mean that I left my laptop at home, informed my missions colleagues that I am not available for contact, and will not read or answer work emails until I get home. This is a refreshing change of pace.

I am able to compose these vacation blogs on Julio and Melanie’s computer.

In a previous blog I mentioned the quetzal bird.
Here is a photo of one, from the internet, of course.

resplendent-quetzalsteven-easley-costa-rica[1]

Yesterday I signed up for five days of tutoring in conversational Spanish at a school called Casa Xelaju (Shay-lah-hoo), within easy walking distance of Julio and Melanie’s apartment. Today was my first session; each sessions is two hours. After introductions I learned the present tense of the regular verbs and conjugation and a string of interrogative words (who, what, where, why, etc.) and how to ask guestions and express answers. Not everything was new to me since I know some basic conversation, but I am definitely moving into new territory. I love it.

This evening we attended a meeting of the Board of Directors of the local InnerCHANGE ministry, with which Julio and Melanie serve.

Julio and Melanie told how God led them to come to this ministry and how they raised prayer and financial support. They showed a video of the shoeshine boys, who are homeless but who earn a little money by shining shoes in the central park that I described and showed photos of, in an earlier blog. Some of the boys sleep in cardboard boxes on the street; several spend the night in a dormitory in the home of Marco Antonio and his wife Maria, who, simply because of their love for Christ, have been providing overnight shelter and breakfast for street boys for 30 years! Usually 20 to 30 men and boys stay there.

For those of us who applaud local initiative, Marco Antonio and Maria are a shining example of what “ordinary” people can do on their own, with God, and without reliance on funds from some wealthy nation.

Then Karla told of the work she and the other InnerCHANGE women do in visiting women in the local women’s prison. Conditions in the prison are not good. The InnerCHANGE women build friendships with the prisoners, lead Bible studies, lead the women to faith in Christ and help them in any way they can. Karla told of “Maria” and her resolve to live a new life. After her release Maria made wise choices, relocated to USA, is married and has a baby.

Next, German (Karla’s husband) told the story of five young men (street boys) whom he and his family befriended over three years. When the boys said they wanted to form a soccer team, he orgaized them and served as their coach. When they decided they wanted to get their education, he helped them to start the process. They come to the InnerCHANGE center three afternoons a week where the staff (including Julio and Melanie) help them with their homework.

It was a privilege to be present at this meeting and learn about the ways the staff here are living out the kingdom of God among the poor and those neglected by society in general.

We have also had the privilege of meeting three of the shoeshine boys. Every morning when JoLene and I walk around the park, we see one of them (let’s call him Manuel) at his shoeshine stand. He greets us in a friendly way and shakes our hands. Today we bought him a cup of coffee.

The core values of InnerCHANGE are: prayer, simplicity, purity, community, humility and service. What are your core values?

How are you living out the kingdom of God in your community?

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