Monday, August 31, 2009

I found it...

In the early 1500's the Spanish Conquistador Pedro Alvarado began the first capital of the new Spanish colony - this was in the Maya capital of Iximché. In 1527 he moved the capital to the community of Almolonga (this now is known as Ciudad Vieja). It was due to the destruction of this capital that the capital was moved to what is now La Antigua, GUA in 1543.

As the story goes Pedro went out for a quick defeat of the latest uprising in the Mayan conquest. In doing so he left his lovely Beatriz and their 5 year old daughter at home to mind the palace. Due to a landslide, he never returned alive. It was within days after his death that the Doña Beatriz seized control of the government and was in the Cathedral of the Palace with her attendants and her daughter. There was a catastrophic storm combined with an earthquake resulting in the lake that was at the top of Volcano Agua falling down to the bottom of Volcano Agua destroying the Cathedral of the Palace and those inside, as well as the majority of the city.

This story has always intrigued me. And for the most part it is easy to verify the general context of historical in this region accounts by walking up to the buildings and seeing and touching them.

Here is the now of this building. Antonio and I were holding meetings one day with the National Police in Ciudad Vieja. I was noticing a set of ruins inside of the school / community center. Then it hit me, this school was the Palace of Ciudad Viejad it had been renovated into a beautiful community center. And just for verification, I read the plaque that said what my keen sense of archeological intuition already knew. This was the Cathedral of the Palace that I had been looking for. Never mind that fact that everyone that lives in Cuidad Vieja already knew this fun fact. For them they never shared my enthusiasm. But I feel much better now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Out and About...

Monday night we had the most fun doing a major non-event that had the potential for greatness. In conjuction with the ministry to the national police, I was asked to come and present to the men in the Police Academy of GUA - all 1200 of them. Long story short, we have much to look forward to as this event was 6 hours of a non-event. The power was out. But it was fun to drive the 1.5 hours - setup and wait for power - then determine that wasn't going to happen - tear down - go out to dinner - then drive home.

The great blessing is that the worship team came with, and we did spend some quality time with officers from the Ministry of Valor and Service. This is not the total IDC worship, but those present were from right to left - April, Alex, Jhonatan, Agent Barrios, Agent ??, Inspector Flores, myself, Abner and his fiance Katie - Clay the translator is taking the photo.

Please pray for this to become a regular event.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Baptism Party...

This weekend was 6 more and counting. Baptisms that is. The day was grand with a total of 126 people attending a new location in a remote part of San Antonio Aguas Calientes. The good news is this was more people attending the Baptism party than ever before. The bad new is it was low attendance that Sunday and there were more people at the pool in the afternoon than those attending services on Sunday.

With statistics like both a grandmother and grandson being baptized, a woman who still has not received her needed corrective surgery from a bus/tuk-tuk collision, a young man that comes from Celebrate Recovery, a young man that brought his parents with him to show them his church he attends with his friends, and a lady that wanted to declare her new life in Christ, what's not to love. Yea God!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Family Villalobo...

Today, Antonio and I had the privilege to pray for a family in the church. This is not too uncommon, the family lives in Cerra de Niño, Pastores. This community is high on the mountain range not easily accessible. The family asked us to come and pray over the home.

This family has recently been living in the homeless shelter in Antigua and had become regular attenders to our Sunday and Wednesday services. As well they serve faithfully in setting up the chairs and tables on Wednesday Nights -
see the previous article.
What made this unique is that the family just received a home from Brazos de Jesus and they wanted to honor God in the receipt of this home.

The team that built the home visited IDC just last week on Sunday Morning. And the family to receive the home was sitting right there with them.

This is one of the higher areas of Pastores - water and electricity are precious commodities this high up. But it made me laugh to see that a fútbal (soccer) / basketball recreation center had been constructed.

25 years and counting...

So this week, Nancy (my wife) and I hit a landmark in our marriage - 25 years married to each other. God has been good to us during these years - two wonderful kids and amazing lives - in spite of ourselves at times. Considering many doubts and concerns that others had for us when we married - some expressed verbally, others not so much in words... Talk to the hand.

We were given a couple of days at the beach not too far from Antigua. While it rained a good share of the time, for one afternoon is was stunning. Good time to chill and recharge and reconnect with God and the wife.

Yea God! On many accounts!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Distribution continues...

At the beginning of this year 25,000 Bibles were given to the National Police of Guatemala. As you can imagine, the process of distribution is no easy job. But, this process continues as planned. With more meetings for the Police Academy and also gatherings of Moms on Mother's day, and others like it - the "Word" of God is getting to the streets.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Little Country Church...

Last night Antonio and I were blessed to be a part of the Iglesia Monte de lo Alto. A small church in the community of Santa Maria de Jesus. We were asked to share with this congregation from the word. For me it is always fun to to see how and where God is working. This church was a small plant that was begun by a larger church from the Capital. After a period of time, 15 years or so, and no joy, the church from the city pulled out and left the building to whom ever would take it. A young man - Pastor Gabriel accepted the job to lead this small congregation of 10-15. Now 4 years later they are 60-70 strong and growing.

FYI - They need some help to finish the building. About 1,000 Ben Franklins will do the trick. If he is unavailable the equivalent in his amigos could certainly put a dent in the new church building fund.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Children's Medical Clinic...

Once again FBCH home shows up in a big way. This past week included not only continued rehab for the Malnutrition Center in San Juan but also a medical clinic for this children in the center but also several of the local daycare centers as well.

We were blessed as a church to be able to provide augmented services with local doctors and staffing to round out the event. This was a good event.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Intern Ben...

We have been very blessed to have a young man with us for 6 weeks or so this summer. His name is Ben Long and he comes to us from Corinth, Mississippi. I was the Youth Director for the 1st Presbyterian Church there, many moons ago. As it turned our Intern Ben was going to be studying Spanish in Costa Rica and was going to have a couple weeks to share.

His responsibilities were simple - show us, IDC, how to better use and maybe even abuse the future interns we hope to have with us this next year.
He came to help in any fashion possible and what a help he was.

He came, he saw, he sawed as well, cooked, built, accompanied, climbed a volcano, ran a half marathon, kayaked, and once felt he needed to yak... just to name a few of the adventures that now can fill his resume.

Thank you Intern Ben. Yea God, for Intern Ben!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Life Cycle...

This is another difficult blog to note. On Wednesday of this week two of our staff members - Maria Dolores (Childrens' Ministry Coordinator) and her mother Ana Maria (the cook for our cafe) suffered a loss. Felipe - Father and Husband. He was riding home from work on his motorcycle, carrying a passenger. A vehicle was making a u-turn on a blind curve. It was a head on collision. Both were killed. Felipe instantly - his passenger a day later. I do not know the condition of the vehicle driver.

Services were held in Cuidad Vieja - a community 7 miles or so from Antigua. This was the capitol of Central America before Antigua. Once again I find myself experiencing many surreal emotions regarding life as a Pastor in Guatemala. While I did not have any responsibilities during these services there were several things to note.

1 - I was standing in a Cathedral built in 1534. Many generations have been attending this Catholic church.

2 - The service for many attending appeared to be more from habit and tradition.

3 - To see Felipe's children and family carrying his casket the 2-3 kilometers to the cemetery was more than I was ready for.

Felipe Graves was 43 years old. With the exception of color and year, his motorcycle was the same as mine. 2 of his three children are the same ages as Nancy and I's. He loved family and life.

More times than not we as humans have far more in common than we take note of.