“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
I cannot believe I have been in Guatemala over a week already. Time is already flying by. So much has happened in the last few days, but it may be best for me to just recap the highlights.
On Wednesday, October 15th, I left my house at 4:00 AM to catch my flight to Miami. There I met up with Dale Talsma of Global Lutheran Outreach and we flew to Guatemala City. Dale served in Guatemala City and introduced me to many members in the Body of Christ and the work they are doing there. We stayed in Guatemala City till Friday and headed to Antigua for the day. I got to check out the Lutheran Center there. The next day, we woke up at 4:30 AM to the glow of volcano Fuego to head out to Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala.
Once in Xela, I met my host family through the ICA Spanish School here. My Guatemalteco family consists of two grandparents: Marco and Marta, along with their granddaughter Stephani, plus the multiple children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren going in and out. I meet someone new in the family everyday it seems! This is not counting their two dogs and cat. The cat has decided that at night jumping in my window from the roof is the best option. He takes over my bed daily, so it feels like home. But no one tell my cat Wilma in Indiana, she is possessive.
Meals here consist of bread, black beans, eggs, and rice typically. For lunch, soup and meat are thrown into the mix. Don’t forget the tortillas or coffee though! Coffee is all day, everyday it feels like. And the streets of Xela are filled with the scent of tortillas during the three different meal times. Most people do not make their own tortillas because it is so cheap to buy it from the other street venders and others making them. My family has them delivered to the house.
So far my typical schedule is waking up around 6:45 AM for breakfast at 7:00 AM. School starts at 8:00 AM and I have classes till noon. During the afternoons there is typically an activity to see some aspect of culture or see new things, but always practicing Spanish! In future posts, I will let you know specifically what I have been up to, but for now I’m keeping this on point. 🙂
Xela is a very special city to learn Spanish in because most people here do not know English. This is a total immersion setting. Whether I am eating out, walking around Xela, in school, or in my house, most people do not know English. The 8-year-old granddaughter is the most English I have heard in this house because she likes practicing, “Hello!”
The school had five students when I arrived, one just finished his few weeks and now there are four of us. It is nice because then we really get to know each other and the teachers. For my first week of classes my teacher was Edwin. He has been a fountain of information about not only Spanish, but the culture, and sometimes even about American culture.
There is so much more I could say about this week, but I think this is just a good place to start. I will be working on posting pictures, but click here to friend me on facebook to see the ones I have posted now! Overall, it has been an adventure so far. I am learning so much about Guatemala, Spanish, myself, and God. I cannot wait to continue this adventure. Please continue to keep me in your prayers! If you want to contact me, please do. I would love to answer any questions. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much for your support!
Dios te bendiga!