Welcome to Guatemala
October 1, 2013

So here we are in Xela (pronounced SHAY-lah) the local name for the city of Quetzaltenango, where our daughter Melanie and her family live and serve as missionary workers among the poor.



You are now in Central Park in Xela, looking at the flag of Guatemala on the left and the flag of Xela on the right. September 15 is Independence Day for this nation, as they gained their independence from Spain on that day in 1821.



Facing Central Park is the ancient cathedral, the Church of the Holy Spirit. The banner mentions that “We are celebrating the Year of Faith.” It also mentions 30 years and a Papal coronation, a reference I do not understand since 30 years ago ago was several years into the papacy of John Paul II, who chose not to have a coronation but simply an investiture. The banner also shows the Virgin of the Rosary, one of the titles the Roman Catholic Church gives to Mary. The feast day for the Virgin of the Rosary is October 7.



Here you see two lovely girls posing in Central Park – Samaya, age 6, and Genesis, age 4.



And here is the whole Avila family, with baby Kayla Jolene, born  August 1 of this year.

On Sunday, September 29, we had a baby dedication for Kayla at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Melanie and Julio’s home church here in Xela. Pastor Moses had asked in advance that I would conduct the dedication, which I was honored to do. He had me explain briefly the meaning of baby dedication since the Presbyterian Church normally practices baptism for the children of believers, so I commented briefly on the Anabaptists and believers baptism and the significance of baby dedication.



Here is Kayla, relaxing on her mother’s lap during the service. Kayla had a serious crying spell (she may have colic) before we left for church, and then she slept peacefully through the service and dedication and Sunday school, much to our relief!



And here is our whole family after the service. For those of you who are interested in historic details, the shirt I am wearing is the one I first wore at Melanie and Julio’s wedding in Los Angeles in 2005.


Guatemala – Sunday, November 21, 2010
November 22, 2010

The Scripture I read this morning included Colossians 1:12, “…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

How we celebrate what God has done in giving us a rich, holy inheritance, not of our own deserving but of his grace and mercy! Today is my birthday, and while I have been blessed with many good things, my greatest privilege is that of being part of the kingdom of God, a kingdom of light in this dark world.