After a very lengthy day of travel on Friday, our first Guatemala team arrived safely in Sololà, Guatemala. A 5:00 AM check-in time at the airport, 2 flights and a lengthy bus ride left everyone ready for a good night’s sleep.
Saturday, we took a boat to another village located on Lake Atitlán called San Antonio Palopó. Here, we toured a cooperative that makes beautiful, hand-crafted pottery and tapestries. The project is funded in part by USAID and by adhering to fair-trade practices, it offers many families in the village steady employment, education and freedom from poverty. This community of artisans provides evidence of the power of fair trade practices and micro-enterprise in combating poverty.
Our walk through the village, up countless steps, along the narrow passageways that wound through neighborhoods, and along a corridor of shops gave us all a first-hand look at village life…a way of life that has existed for hundreds of years. We even visited a colonial church which has been a main place of worship in the village for over 500 years.
We also witnessed the site of a recent tragedy in San Antonio Palopó. On May 31st, torrential rain from Hurricane Agatha caused a mudslide in one of the village's neighborhoods. The mudslide happened at around 6:00 PM while many families were home eating dinner. In less than 20 seconds, a large chunk of earth from the slopes above the village came loose, destroying dozens of home and killing 20 people in it’s path. On the day of our visit, over a month later, groups of friends and family members were still digging by hand through the rubble, looking for usable household objects and two bodies that have not yet been recovered. Please pray for these people whose lives have, literally, been torn apart.
While there was nothing we could do or say to ease the pain for those whose loved ones were lost in the tragedy, we were able to bring some relief in the form of shoes. Our team member Amber has spent most of the year collecting shoes for our trip. We donated two large bags of those shoes to the people of San Antonio Palopó.
After our visit, we crossed back over to the village of Panajachel where we were able to do some shopping and enjoy a wonderful dinner.
Sunday we worshipped alongside some villagers and children’s home workers and children. There is something special that happens when people from different cultures and tongues come together to worship. We were able to get a little glimpse of what heaven may be like when people of every nation, tribe, people and language will worship the Lord together (Rev 7:9).
We have a busy week ahead of us with ministry and work projects on the schedule. Please continue to pray for the health and safety of our team. Also pray that we will continue to make Sprit-led connections with each other and with the people we are working with.
~Written by Tami