Bears In Pana: Day 4

Just a Day in Panajachel

Today we planned to take a break and not be too scheduled or have too much to do. We haven't really had much opportunity to rest or relax and we were feeling a bit wiped out. It was a good plan until I woke with a migraine that took a couple hours to abate, but then we got on our way. Our plans: locate the Kingdom Hall and get a few more things for the house.

Although we knew where it was on a map, we wanted to be sure we knew exactly how to get to the Kingdom Hall, how long it would take, and if we would walk or take a tuk. Tomorrow is our first meeting, and I am giving the public talk, so we don't want to be late!

The shortest route to the Kingdom Hall would take about 12 minutes by foot, which involves crossing the river, across a wooden pallet and through a rocky, dusty terrain. To avoid the river, we would have to walk down to the main bridge and then come back up to Calle Navidad (Christmas Street) – the street the Kingdom Hall is on.

The path to cross the river to get to the Kingdom Hall. This is the shorter route, but not sure yet if we will go this way or not. During rainy season it may not be possible as the water level will be higher.

The Kingdom Hall in Panajachel. It is home to three language congregations: Spanish, Kaqchikel and English.
(I'll have some photos of the inside tomorrow.)

I stopped at an ATM before we were to do our shopping, and while I was getting the moolah, Leiane struck up a conversation with a woman. Sometimes normal-ish white people stick out here and can gravitate toward each other I guess. We ended up having lunch with the woman, her husband and their five year old son. We were able to give a good witness, explain a bit about the worldwide work of Jehovah's Witnesses, reference our websites multiple times, and tell them about the work we are doing and why we are here.

In areas like this, them most effective witnessing typically comes from developing rapport first, perhaps from multiple encounters, before mentioning the Bible or placing any literature. Once the people can see that we are not hippie missionaries or just raising awareness for some cause, but rather that we care about people, they are more inclined to listen to the message we have. English speakers in the area are largely comprised of backpackers, expats, hippies and those that want to escape formalized government and religion; since the people in the territory are different than back home, we have to adapt differently (1 Corinthians 9:22).

After lunch, some more essentials shopping as we continue to get the house and ourselves ready for life here.

My new hat for field service. I'm learning that a lot of the sticker prices or initial prices are for tourists. Once the shop owner either senses you walking away or if they know you live here, you get down to the real price. This hat was Q175 ($23), but I ended up paying Q100 ($13).

Our addition to the front porch; great for some relaxation at the end of a day.

We had a nice surprise to cap off the evening – a visit from the coordinator of the body of elders (can you call it that when there is only one elder?). Neto (his nickname everyone uses) warmly embraced us then sat and talked with us for a while, giving insight into life here along with some advice and precautions. Tomorrow is our first meeting and we are very much looking forward to meeting the rest of the congregation.

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