Adventures in the Ministry and Life

Following three days without rain, the river level was low and we were able to cross it to go to our midweek meeting.
Settling into our lives here in Panajachel, we find that, just as living anywhere else, planning and scheduling are an immense aid to being able to enjoy our life and ministry. Leiane and I are still mapping out our pioneering schedules so we are ready by the time September is here. September will be an exciting month, as we begin pioneering, attend our regional convention in El Salvador and plan a border run for visa renewal.

We've just wrapped up our first full month here, and as we assess our current situation, it is undeniable that we still have much learning to do: living in a developing country, leading a simpler lifestyle, spending much more time in the ministry, being much busier in the congregation, being a minority, etc. Thanks to reliance on Jehovah, putting him first and throwing our burden on him, we are enjoying our adventures in the ministry and life.

Leiane and I with the public witnessing stand on Calle Santander, perhaps the busiest intersection in all of Panajachel. It is almost like we are on a date when we get to work together like this (some of the friends even tell us, "No kissing!"). On this day I was trying something new, placing my iPad in the top sleeve of the stand with audio playing through a bluetooth speaker. It drew some attention, but not nearly as much as we experienced by Lake Atitlán (picture further down).
On this day, Leiane and another sister were on Calle Santander from 3-5pm with the public witnessing stand. These two boys asked for brochures, found a place to sit and started reading aloud to each other. 
This picture was from today (another date with my wife!). Again, we placed the iPad, playing a variety of videos, in the witnessing stand. At first we drew the attention of a number of the children that work as street vendors (selling necklaces, trinkets, nuts, etc), and then adult street vendors noticed the children standing near us with rapt attention. Soon a couple adult vendors were watching videos too! At one time we had an audience of 8, including men, women and children. It is entertaining to hear as some already know some of the videos or songs and either sing along or recite lines before they are said. A number of them also accepted books and a some sat down to start reading right away.
Another angle of those that stopped to watch videos. 
An adult street vendor (with baby strapped on) watches some of our videos after coming over to see what the children were doing standing in front of our stand for so long.
On Mondays we go to Sololá for public witnessing and to work territory of known English speakers. Afterwards the group goes here, to San Jorge, where we are doing canvassing work, searching for English speakers. Our simple presentation: "Buscamos personas que hablan Inglés." (We seek people who speak English.) San Jorge is quant, with many steep hills and incredible views.
Dirt path to homes in San Jorge.
View of Panajachel (where we live) and Lago Atitlán from San Jorge.
Panoramic view of the lake and volcanoes at Lago Atitlán from San Jorge.
Some of the Monday group at San Jorge: Aiden, Leiane, and Tim (one of our three elders).
We really love walking, but sometimes it is a bit of an inconvenience when you need something from the store or need to get somewhere quickly. Owning a low maintenance mode of transportation cuts out tuk ride fares (and is kind of fun). While we still plan to walk, both to save money and for the health benefits.

Sebastian is ready to ride. Always.
Sebastian enjoying a 'soda in a bag.' When you buy a soda in a glass bottle from a tienda, they keep the glass and pour your soda into a plastic bag and serve it to you with a straw.
Central America has many of its own species of insects. I'm still not sure exactly what this one is.
So, yeah – I titled this blog entry "Adventures in the Ministry and Life" for a reason. Ever since we have moved into our house, it seems we have been dealing with one repair after another. The leak in the hot water line in the photo below was already taken care of, but then there was another, more threatening leak that developed. Where was it coming from? We didn't know. A brother in our congregation, who was a plumber by trade in England, came over at 9:30pm to help assess the situation. He didn't leave until 3:30am because it took so long to find the leak.

(Here in Guatemala, there aren't such things as building codes, so they slap stuff together and put concrete over it. It sees that they think there work is infallible. It is not. 

Searching for the water line leak. 
Found the leak behind the downstairs toilet, under the tile and underground! One of the connection at a t-joint coupling was never glued and had likely been leaking since installation. 
One day we rode our scooters to the metal bridge at the top of Panajachel and saw this spectacular view. A storm is moving in from the left and the sun is setting on the right.

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