No November Rain

November is the beginning of windy season, which means two things: 1. it is very windy (duh) and 2. there is little or no rain. It is also a bit cooler in the mornings and evenings, and since this is our first windy season here, it is a nice change since we don't really get to experience seasons here. Our favorite season was always autumn, and this is about as close as it gets – crisp, cool mornings and a refreshing breeze. The wind also seems to clear out low-lying morning clouds, so our view of the volcanoes across the lake is extremely clear and beautiful, and sunsets are particularly beautiful as well. Along with the increased winds means that the surface of Lake Atitlan is quite choppy, making boat rides more... interesting.

Here is some of what went on in November:

Apolo, the 18-year-old nephew of a couple in our congregation, came to visit for a couple months. On this evening, we had been without power for about 10 hours and thought it would be a good idea to go out for dinner in the part of Pana that still had electricity. Power outages seem to happen quite often and many times with no apparent reason. While inconvenient, after a while you get used to it.

Sometimes I have work at night and Sebastian will want to come sit with me or curl up on my lap. I had to tell him that I needed my arms to be able to type, so he just found another way to be able to be close to me, and he fell asleep that way. Love this guy!

Izabel was assigned a part on the midweek meeting, but wasn't feeling well, so Evie mustered up some boldness and filled in for her. Some people can do last minute fill-ins easily, but this is really out of Evie's comfort zone, so we were really proud of her – and she did a great job!

Looking a bit happy, am I? Well I had good reason. We were canvassing for English speakers in Santiago (the most populated town on Lake Atitlan), when I knocked on a door and a native woman that spoke no English answered. I delivered our usual presentation ("Buscamos personas que hablan ingles."), and the woman said something indecipherable and walked away, leaving the door open. I looked at Roy, my partner for the day, and asked him if he thought she was telling us to wait. We waited about two minutes and a young man comes to the door. This was David, her 26-year-old son who spoke about 30 words in English. We told him why we were there, and he asks us to wait. About two minutes later another man comes to the door, 30-year-old Robert. We tell him why we are there, and he says, "Yes, I speak English. Please wait here a minute." Robert then disappears for a couple minutes, comes back and opens the door and invites us up to his bedroom (while we were waiting he went upstairs and cleaned his room and set chairs out for us).

I believe I started with the Teach the Truth presentation and shared the Why Study the Bible? video with him. After, I mentioned that many people have questions regarding the Bible or God that they have never had answered. He quickly responded, "Yes! I have a question. How does one repair their relationship with God after sinning?" I was nearly floored! Here was someone that was truly concerned with pleasing God and having a good relationship with Him.

I placed the book What Can the Bible Teach Us? with him and started a study with him 3 days later.

During November we also had the visit of our (substitute) circuit overseer, Martin Biddle and his wife Rachel, from Jutiapa. It was an instructive and encouraging visit.

The congregation really showed up for the visit of the circuit overseer. Here we are walking to the territory from the Kingdom Hall down Calle la Navidad.

The second day of our circuit overseer was also well-supported. Here we all pile in the back of a pickup truck for a ride to our territory in Sololá.

I got a chance to work with Martin one afternoon and Liz (McComas) snapped a pic.

Along with our visitors, we had a great turnout for our pioneer meeting with the circuit overseer.

One afternoon we hosted Martin and Rachel for lunch and had the privilege of having the afternoon meeting for field service at our home.

Martin must have been quite moving in his words, for Peter was moved to tears. Haha! Just kidding - it was windy and the photo was taken at an opportune moment when Peter wiped his eye. Actually Martin and Peter served in London Bethel together years ago. They probably never thought they would be reunited in Guatemala one day!

Yet another day of great support in the ministry during our circuit overseer visit.

On the next to last day of our circuit overseer visit, we had a congregation gathering at our house, and some karaoke busted out. After a long week of activity, we were set to have some fun! Far left, you see "The Pierce" - a look only he can master.

Everyone getting into it for Bohemian Rhapsody; Nat doing the "Har Whip."

Yep. They came in like a wrecking ball... er, uh - wrecking balls. I love Sebastian's take on the entertainment.

More group singing - here Rachel Biddle gets into the action too. Also, Nanilla and a couple visitors. Earlier Martin and Rachel sang some Bon Jovi, but I missed it...

So, now some sad news. Someone tried to break into the Kingdom Hall. Fortunately, the motion sensors were tripped and the alarm sounded. Nothing was stolen, but we were left with some repair work and the need for more security measures.

I had gotten used to the wooden benches, but now we have wonderful custom-made leather cushions for our bums! Thanks to the wonderful sisters that made these.

In Santiago one day, we break at a coffee shop and Leiane prepares for a return visit.

It seems I don't know half of the celebrations or festivals here in Panajachel. That said, it doesn't take much for the locals to break out the band and dress up in spandex and wear stilts. This is one of my favorite images I've taken since I've been here.

A video of the event so you can see all that was going on!

Two wonderful gifts in men! Roy (and Lesley) Milner arrived from the UK and Jacob (and Andrea) Linton from the US to help us out for three months.

An interesting looking cruise ship style home in San Pedro that is being converted into a hotel and restaurant.

I love Liz (Briones). She will talk to anyone, even someone with a tail.

While walking in the territory, this local man stopped us on his motorcycle and asked for the latest issues of the magazines.

Amazing views while in the ministry in San Pedro.

Our New Jersey, US visitors Jake and Andrea, in the ministry in Santa Cruz.

Jake and Andrea take a moment to enjoy the scenery in Santa Cruz.

Literally hiking up mountains and in jungles to get to the next houses; here with Tim and Apolo.

Tim thinking, "I wish I brought my camera! That's stock baby!"

Public witnessing with Jesse one morning and a few local children come to watch Become Jehovah's Friend videos. 

Marina knows all the words to the Become Jehovah's Friend (Caleb & Sophia) songs and videos.

To the left of our public witnessing stand, some of the local vendors bring their copies of Learn from the Great Teacher or My Book of Bible Stories to help them pass the time.

It was a little cool one morning and I had to take Sydney Mills' advice and try the arroz con leche (rice with milk). I kinda like it!

Roy and Lesley walking back toward the dock in Santiago after a morning of canvassing.

On the pickup truck again, headed to ministry with Jake, Andrea, Michaela, Roy and Lesley.

Staple in the tire - es no bueno. Fortunately there are about 20 pinchazos in Pana. Q20 later Leiane's bike is back on the road.

The first SuperMoon I've tried to photograph.

Pana gets its first traffic light at the Principal/Real and Santander intersection.

I'm closing this post with a sad but happy note. Our beloved Neto has fallen. In love. Again.
Neto and Nancy were a bit of childhood sweethearts years ago, and now they are engaged to be married. Nancy is in a Spanish congregation in Sololá along with her daughter. Neither of them speak English though, so Neto made the decision to move to the Spanish congregation here in Pana, where Nancy and her daughter will join him once they are married in March 2017. Neto did a lot to keep the English congregation going here in Pana, being the only elder here for about 3-4 months in 2016. We are happy for him, but he will be missed.

A number of friends and family have noted that I haven't published on the blog in a while. I have just been a bit busy, that's all. I've been stockpiling images and stories to share, so I will (hopefully) soon also do a post for December, and then January. The aim is to try and post once a month. Sorry if I've worried any of you that thought we fell off the edge of the earth.

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