Sunday, December 31, 2006


While in Pana, we walked up several blocks to a Christian coffee house. Mike, the owner, opened the shop about 6 years ago. He buys his own coffee, shells, roast and grinds the coffee himself. He does buy from other countries too. I thought that was unusually, since they grow so much coffee here in Guatemala.

I like the little coffee shop, because it has flags hanging from the ceiling. While we were there, several Europeans dropped by for some coffee. I wished I loved coffee more to appreciate this place.
I walked outside and watched Mike has he was "culling" through the coffee beans. The day before, we walked by and we could smell the coffee roasting. Nice!

Glenn treated us to some coffee and cheese cake. The coffee was quite strong. Besides owning the coffee shop, Mike does "fireworks" show. He will be doing one on New Years Eve at the small village up the road from Panajachel here on the lake. While we were in Panajachel, Mike gave us a "Preshow" of his works, just down the street from LBN where we were staying. There were some loud fire crackers and some real sparkling ones too.

Friday, December 29, 2006


We learned that up on CA-1 hiway after Tepan and before you get to Solala, that Guatemalan kids would sit along the side of the road and wave to vehicles, cars and buses that drove by in hopes that folks would throw out candy to the children. We learned of this tradition and bought 2 SAM size bages of hard candy. It was fun to watch the kids in the rear view mirror run along the shoulder of the road and pick up the candy.

One time, I didn't cage our speed correctly, and I hit a young teenager in the face with hard candy. Many times, the candy would roll off onto the revine and end up in the grassy area. I can just imagine the kids rushing through the brush looking for the hard candy.

Driving to Panajachel, we had to stop for road construction just for a few minutes. The kids came running up to our window and we were able to give them the candy.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

3 Days in Panajachel (Lake Atitlan)

Wednesday, we drove 3 hours up and over and down to Panajachel. We rented 1 of the 4 CAM houses on the LBN property (Las Buenas Nuevas). It is so peaceful here. We played "Mexican train" one night, Scattagories and also Farkel. I started a cross stitch project that I'm nearly finished with. Glenn and Karen were reading books. It was so relaxing up there. Glenn made "Pirates eyes" one morning. I had made the traditional coffee cake and brought that up to the lake with us for breakfast too.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Relief Map

I found this quote from TRIP TRAVEL ADVISOR....enjoy
"This outstanding map is the only one of it's kind in the world. Little is said about the engineer who did the majority of it's construction until now 100 years later. Engineer Don Claudio Urrutia who was born in 1857, was ask to build this map after setting the boundries and drawing the first official map and it's boundries of Guatemala. He left behind many documents that substantuate his claim. His daughter Neka McDonald , now nintyone years old is now bringing to life theses claims, so that her father will one day soon recieve the honors and recognition he has been intitled to for the last 100 years. On the 29th of October 0f this year there will be a dedication and ceremony in honor of this man and the others involved in the construction of this monumental effort. I am his very proud grandaughter."
Guatemalan Relief Map
Make your way to the Guatemala Relief Map in Minerva Park Zone 10. After going to the artistian market, we headed out in the direction of the Relife Map.
We kinda felt like we were on Amazing Race, as we "felt" our way across town, in wall to wall traffic. It started to rain, but 30 minutes later we arrived at the Relief Map.

This map is way too cool. It shows all the mountains, volcanoes rivers and lakes.

Shady Parque Minerva features a 1:1000 scale relief map of Guatemala; a unique engineering masterpiece created in 1904 by Francisco Vela.The 2,000sq m/21,500sq ft map shows Guatemala's topography in detail complete with rivers, lakes and oceans and is viewed from platforms located on each side.Nearby is a small forest of hormigo trees, the wood of which is used to make marimbas (Central American xylophones). These trees were planted to commemorate of the marimba tradition in Guatemala.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Karen visits Guatemala

We went to the local artistian market to give Karen an idea of "stuff" you can buy for gifts here. We also Karen some different landmarks of the city. How about a little Eifel Tower, that you can drive under! Did you know Guatemala City had an Eifel Tower?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tuesday, December 19

Karen arrived on Thursday. Her luggage arrived on Saturday. Karen slept most of Friday and Saturday. She's enjoying sitting out on the upstairs patio and "soaking" in the sun. She's also enjoying time with her brother. Yesterday, we adventured out to Mira Flores mall to eat lunch and possibly take in a movie. Nothing showing we wanted to see. 5 days and counting and Ellen will arrive.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

A friend sent me this today. I have seen it before in a little different format, but thought it was worth posting.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes." The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now" said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things -- your God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions -- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else -- the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first, he continued, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."


Wednesday, December 13, 2006


The following is an excerpt from co-missionary friend, Maria. We were at the same Ladies Retreat and I've received permission to include the following notes.

While I attended the Women's Retreat in Antigua recently, there were several ladies there doing their weaving, which, of course, we had the opportunity to buy! This is just one picture of several that I took showing the involved work of weaving cloth. The majority of the textiles you see from here are hand-woven and hand-stitched. It is amazing the work that is put into these "works of art"! But the old ways are beginning to die out.
The newer generations are not being taught to do the weaving and stitching. They are also losing the Mayan languages, since the children are taught Spanish in school. I have talked to several young ladies in their late teens and early twenties who cannot speak the "old " languages of their families, even though their parents speak it, Spanish is used in the homes.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Ok, several weeks ago, they had a "crazy hair" day at Gary's school. Gary wanted some video game symbol (Gary says its "Quake", whatever that means!) shave into his head. We agreed that since it was just for 1 day, then the following day, Dad would get a #1 to Gary's scalp. CAG has rules about haircode, so we wanted to make sure Gary was back in code. Gary had quite a unique style, don't you think? The next day, Gary's hair was VERY, VERY short.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Although it is not a national holiday here in Guatemala, the American community took the day off. The CAM family gathered together for a delicious meal with 50+ other folks at the Lohrenz home. Some ladies prepared the turkey and dressing, and everyone else brought the rest of the food. I made my corn casserole (that I got from CAM missionary, Cheryl Eberline 20+ years ago) and my carrot casserole. Glenn has renamed it to Harvest souffle. After eating a delicious meal, we all gathered in the back yard and had a time of reflection and thanksgiving.

The Glick family just arrived 5 days earlier, and several other families have returned in the last 2 weeks from furlough.

Gary took his X-box over to the Lohrenz house and set it upstairs in the den and entertained the mks. He was pretty cleaver. He started off playing 1 mk and said that the winner would play the next person. Obviously, Gary won each game, this way he was playing the whole afternoon. Pretty smart, don't you think.

Later in the afternoon, we were able to watch the Dallas Cowboy game. It was good to see them finally play a game and win controllably And as a Stewart tradition in recent years, we pulled out the video "Planes, Trains and Automobiles". We like this movie because Steve Martin is trying his hardest to get back in time for Thanksgiving day!

This year, Ellen is spending Thanksgiving in Nicaragua with her good friend Emily that flew down for the week. Karen is spending the weekend in 2 different homes in the Chicago area.

We are thankful for our family, good health, wonderful ministry here and the opportunity to serve and work with such a great group of CAMers.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

More Shots from GBS Seminary

The month of October is Graduation Month in Guatemala. The school systems is on reverse cycle. School begins in January or February and ends in October. Thus, you will see stores selling graduation rings in September and October. The summer break is during November, December and January. Here is the former director, Wilfred Johnson.

Gary's school is on the American school system. School begins in August and ends in May. He does have Thanksgiving Holiday off this week ~ compared to most Guatemalans do not celebrate Thanksgiving in November.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Sunday afternoon, Glenn and I drove up to Chimaltenango to attend the Graduation of the Senior Class at GBS (Guatemala Bible Seminary). The whole gym was packed out. As usuall, there were empty seats at the beginning of the processional, but by the time the whole program got started, all the seats were filled.

My dear friend, Chris, a music professor, and a recent grad.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We traveled over to Antigua (former Capital of all Central America, years ago)and conducted our last meeting at a privately owned orphanage. This was all All Girls home. 2 girls in our group were pregnant. We did the same routine. Sang songs, divided up into our teams and did our VBS type program. As we were working with the girls, I struck up a conversation with 2 of the girls. One had just arrived at the orphanage just 3 days before. The other girl mentioned that her best friend was in another group. As normal, they loved having their picture taken with the digital camera. And I was able to show them the picture we took. And as normal, each girl in our group got their "goodies", however, since our girls were just a tad bit older, like pre-teens, we gave them earrings, watches, some hairbands, deodorant and other items like that. The girls really appreciated us taking the time to come and visit them.

For lunch, we ate at the 5 Star hotel, Santo Domingo. I had never been there before, but it was just gorgeous. The food was great too. The group sang "Happy Birthday" to me. I was hopeing that Glenn, Ellen and Gary would make it in time for lunch, but they were stuck in traffic coming out of Guatemala City. We met up with G,E and G at the Central Market. I helped with translation for the team members as they shopped. Then we drove on home. Before leaving Antigua, we stopped to see the Phillippi.

For the evening, there was a closing banquet at Quinta Real. Marimba Music. Beautiful. And then our last good byes. I also got the Moody Alumni group together so for a photo op.

In summary, I appreciate the opportunity to travel with WMBI and the Buckner Orphanage group. It was a very eye opening experience, as I saw abandon children, sad children and children that need to the love of God. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to share the Love of Christ with the Guatemalan children.

Monday, October 30, 2006

My Biggest Surprise
After returning back to the hotel, I called Glenn to see where he was. He said he was stuck in traffic. I believed him. I had no reason not to believe him. 15 minutes later, he and Gary walked into the lobby of the hotel. We were visiting with the Julene and Mike and others there.

This was when Ellen walked right there in front of me. It was just like the same scream I had with Michael Easley being announced as president. I couldn’t’ believe it. I kept hugging onto Ellen, not believing she was there. Unbelievable. Best surprise in a LONG time. I had no idea. And no hints either! Great job, Ellen.

Ellen left Thursday morning at 2:30am from Managua, Nicaragua and arrived at King Quality bus station (just down the hill from the hotel) at around 7pm. She was running 2 hours late, but that was ok, because we were also running late.

Ellen spent 2 days with us for my 50th Birthday. Best present ever. She had been emailing Gary several days before and since I was out of town the first of the week, it was very easy for them to communicate and for me not to suspect anything. Our time with Ellen went by quickly. But I loved every minute of it. Thanks Ellen.
After driving an hour (and we're still in Guatemala City), we arrived at a privately owned Girls orphanage. We had a smaller group this time, and were assigned to have our VBS program in the computer room. The computer room turned out to be a small room that had 5 old typwriters. We only had 5 girls for this session, so we could give them some special attention.

Before it started the normal afternoon "down pour", we were able to play games with the girls. Dave and Mary got out the jump rope and had a Blast with the girls. I chatted with several of the girls. Normally I would ask if they had another sibling in the home with them. And I would ask if they liked to color, paint, sing or read. And I would also ask who was their best friend. At times, I would ask how long they had been living in the Orphanage, and the answers were surprising. Some would say 3 days and other 3 - 4 years. After our program, we were able to fit the girls with new tennis shoes. Give them some humanitarian aid supplies such as underware, socks, medical supplies. And like other locations, we gave out candy, colors, pens, hair ribbons, etc. I really thought the folks that ran this home were doing a great job.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Today, we worked at an Orphanage just outside of the city. Its off of the El Salvador hiway and over a mountain. Don't ask me to get you there, because we took many turns and drove across several valleys. This home is for teenage boys. Some are mentally challenged. A quite unique location, because the Orphanage use to be a prison. Again, we had our VBS program. Talked about the Armor of God. And then we lined the boys up for them to get their new tennis shoes. Most were soccer shoes, which the teens loved.

We were also joined by another Buckner group, that had come down from the states to work on a Soccer clinic for the teens. This group would be at this location all week, I believe.

For lunch, we ate at the Kentucky Fried Chicken of Guatemala. Pollo Campero! Very delicious. And even had soft serve ice cream cone. AFter lunch we headed back into the city and over near zone 1. It did take us quite a while to get there. As we arrived at this privately owned all girls orphanage, we broke again into our VBS teams. This time we only had 5 girls. They were as precious as can be. Again, we presented the girls with brand new tennis shoes.

It started to downpour just about the time we were loading up into our buses. And it seemed like it took forever to get back to Quinta Real. Thursday afternoon traffic was horrible, especially since we were approaching a 3 day weekend.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Wednesday, Oct 18 Lake Atitlán and Panajachel

We headed back to Guatemala City. There were 2 times we had to stop because of road construction. The bridges was washed out last year by Hurrican Stan. At each stop, folks would come up to the window and try to sell us hot corn, candy and even Cokes. Some were waiting for rides or just watching the traffic as they couldn't go anywhere. This was also a great time to change the tire on one of the vans.

Once we arrived in Panajachel, we ate breakfast. Then we had 2 hours to shop. I made a quick trip to meet Beth and Steve Kennedy who work at LBN. Beth walked back with me to the market street and helped me and others to purchase some souveniers. It was fun to be able to bargain and do some sightseeing. Too bad that it was misty, and we couldn't see the volcanoes across the lake. But you could still sense the beauty of the lake and the surrounding communities. As we were driving into the town, folks on our microbus were throwing candy out the window for those workers and kids standing beside the road. It was fun to look back and see them scrambling for the "goodies". And when we returned, those same workers yelled out and waved to us. We got back into Guatemala City late in the evening. Another long day on the road was behind us.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Each day when we would visit an orphanage, we would greet the kids. Play games with them, maybe kick a soccer ball around, or play jacks, or even color with them. We always had a handful of candy to give them. Our program was The Armor of God. We discussed how each element helped us to live a godly life.