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.

Tuesday afternoon at the HueHue Home

After our program, we lined the girls up into the meeting room and one by one gave them their new socks and shoes. The smiles on their faces were incredible! They were so pleased to have pink and white shoes. I noticed that some boys got the tennis shoes with "blinking lights". They thought that was way too cool. After distributing the shoes, we handed the director the humanitarian aid products such as baby strollers, diapers, deodorants, more shoes and socks plus some baby medicines.

I sat and read to one child that had been given a deck of cards of "great heroes in the Bible". As we looked at each picture, we discussed why they were considered heroes. Several times, Esperanza (means Hope) would break into a song and sing about the story character. It was precious. Esperanza was so proud of her new pink tennis shoes, shoe glasses and all the little stuff we gave them. She came running up to me to show me her brand new shoes.
Tuesday, Oct 17 A full day in Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Today, we left after morning devotions and headed 2.5 hours east, then northwest to Huehue (pronounced way way) short for Huehuetenango. After a "potty" stop at Cuartro Caminos (several of our group members were getting sick with the runs), we continued on to Huehue. We arrived at the old Mayan ruins just outside of the city. The 80 kids from the privately owned orphanage met us there. We broke up into our teams. We played with the kids. Held the little babies. Someone from the team brought down some "bubbles" and the kids really loved that. At one point, several of the boys were rolling down the hill, like a snowball. And it was a sight to see the old adults do the same thing.

30 minutes after we got there, it was lunch time. Dominoes Pizza Delivers. Imagine 2 motorcycles full of about 50 pizzas for everyone. Picture this. A bunch of adults and kids sitting on the ground eating pizza at the old ruins. Quite a site.
After lunch, we loaded onto our vans and followed the yellow school bus back to the privately owned orphanage. Again, the same routine. We broke up into groups and lead our VBS program. This time, we had our little program in the dorm room of the 10 little girls. Some of them were shy, but the others just "loved on us".

Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday, Oct 16 Xela Temporary Home and Girls Catholic Home

Today, we divided up into our 6 teams. I joined team #2 and helped them with their VBS program. Teams 1 -4 went to the Government Temporary home while teams 5 and 6 traveled 20 minutes outside of town to a privately owned catholic home for girls. When we arrived the children would love and hug on us. We had candy to give them, played games and made silly faces. Then Group 2 were assigned about 10 children and we took them into the dining room for our VBS program. We talked about the Armor of God from Ephesians 6. Each team member had an object (helmet, sword, breastplate, etc) that we discussed. All the while, we had 2 translators to help us tell the story. We also had a craft time, pertaining to the armor of God. The kids were given white baseball hats and t-shirts to decorate. Most of them wrote "Dios te Ama". Some kids took their time as they colored onto their new shirt. Afterwards we sang songs together. Continually, we hugged on the kids and told them that God loves them. Several kids were hard to warm up to, but by the time we left they didn't want to see us go. We gave each kid toys, candy, new underwear, socks and shoes.

We walked to the plaza for lunch and ate at McDonalds. Then for the afternoon, all 6 groups went back to the Government Temporary home to hand the kids their new tennis shoes. Then we all went to the Catholic Girls home. This is a home for abused girls. Many have run away from home. Most do not know where their parents are. When we got to this home, the girls were so excited that they put on a program for us. Someone committented that it was like they were performing for their parents. They sang, danced and did drama. Then we divided into teams, and they took us around to their rooms. Showed us their "living room", "laundry room" and "chapel". As our time was coming to an end, we lined the girls into a long line and we each went to a teenager and gave them a goodie bag. The goodie bag consisted of deodorant, package of underwear, a watch, perfume, lotion, hairbands and miscellaneous items that teenagers would love to have. They were truly appreciative of the gifts that were given and brought down from radio listeners in the Chicago area.

This particular orphanage was quite clean. Situated high on a hill, it over looked a "gully". The road was steep to get to the place. Even on the way to the catholic home, we drove through some poor sections of town.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday, Oct 15 Traveling from Guatemala City to Xela

Yesterday, I joined the WMBI folks at the Hotel Quinta Real and headed out on 2 minibuses, 2 vans and 2 loaded pickup trucks full of luggage to Xela. We stopped at Paulinas for lunch. And guess who we ran into? Clyde and Edith Murphy along with daughter Judy were there to celebrate her birthday. I immediately introduced them to Roger, since the Murphy family has a long Moody history. Roger interview Clyde right there on the spot. They'll play that interview later on the radio. We then headed on to Quarto Caminos. At this quick rest stop, some of the folks were purchasing Magnum icecream bars (our family favorite from Bolivian days). I told one couple, if they could eat it without the chocolate falling off, I would buy them another one. Everyone seemed to love the icecream. We pulled into the Bonifaz hotel, situated right on the plaza. This small town reminds me of Sucre, Bolivia. Small narrow one way streets and colonial buildings. We had dinner and learned a Spanish song to share with the kids in the following days. Group #2 invited me to join them and help with the VBS and crafts at each orphanage. My roommate is Cherrie from Indiana.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Trip to Tapachula Mexico

Monday, Oct 9, we left the SETECA headed for the Guatemalan/Mexican border town of Tapachula Mexico. We took Bob and Shirley Kasper, retiring CAM missionaries, who were heading for South Texas. We drove through sugar cane fields, rubber plantations and tropical lowlands. Glenn got to eat at one of his favorite restaurants, VIPS! We had an uneventful trip, PTL! We were on a stretch of 2 lane road and an oncoming semi-truck was coming in the opposite direction ~ just as soon as he passed us, we heard a "booom" and then looked in the rear view mirror and saw only smoke. He had blown a tire. If it had happend just 2 seconds before, we know we would have been hit with flying rubber pieces. It did rain in both directions in the afternoons. Buckets and sheets of rain. We were able to get another 90 day visa stamped into our passport.

For about 1 hour on a narrow 2-lane hiway, we were driving through small towns and villages that had “speed bumps”. Many times there were signs ahead advising us of the speed bumps. Lots of times, we would watch the car in front of us to see if they slowed down or something like that. These speed bumps sometime were not painted more often than not.

Word lesson. The word for speed bumps in Guatemala is Túmulos, in Bolivia it is Rompe Muelles (spring breakers) and in Nicaragua it is Policías Dormidas (sleeping policeman).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Instituto Bíblico Ebenezer
Saturday morning at 5am, Oct 7, Glenn and David and Helen Eckstrom left for the small village of Nenton, near Huehuetenango and arrived in Nenton at 9:20am. I would tell you the kilometers, but we go by hours. Graduation was at 9:30 so they arrived just in the nick of time. The church folks served them breakfast when they arrived and then lunch after the graduation ceremony,both meals with lots of tortillas. One of the two grads, Ovidio, is one of the Eckstrom's consultants on the Chuj translation of the Bible. The graduation was from about 9:45 until 12:45. Everyone had the opportunity to go up to the front and give a gift to the grads. There was a long line of gifts. Every church in attendance was introduced. Glenn said a few words of greeting. However, remember most of the service was in Chuj, not in Spanish.

Glenn used 4 wheel drive the last hour to Nenton because of the road conditions. He said the hour on the return to the pavement was just terrible. It rained hard during the graduation and all afternoon.

Glenn and Eckstroms returned on Sunday afternoon back into Guatemala City. Then on Monday night we read in the paper there had been a bus accident (42 Guatemalans were killed) right on same road they had traveled on earlier.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Glenn called me once while waiting at a roadblock on the other side of Centennial Camp. So far he had to detour because of bridge repair from last year Hurricane Stan damage and another time because of road blockage. Today, Saturday, he's using 4wheel drive for 3 hours on his way to Indian village where there is a Bible Institute graduation. Glenn and Eckstroms will return back to the capital here on Sunday, just in time for SETECA graduation.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Pray for Glenn as he left this morning for Huehuetenango with 80 year old veteran missionaries, David and Helen Eckstrom to attend a Bible Institute graduation. It is about a 4-6 hour drive through mountainous roads depending on road improvements, accidents or fast moving "chicken buses". Pray for safety on the road and that the Lord would protect him from harm. Glenn returns on Sunday, Oct 8.

Monday, October 02, 2006