New Experiences and New Friends

The family (minus me) stops for a group shot while wandering the streets of Antigua, Guatemala the day after the "Increase Your Faith in Jehovah" Circuit Assembly.
January was a fun and busy month filled with travel, meeting new friends, and of course, the 'usual things.' November through March is the high season for visitors to the congregation, so we saw our numbers at congregations swell from an average of 27 to about 40-45. It is quite a blessing getting to know so many new brothers and sisters from all over the world. We also made some great new friends during our (first) trip to Antigua, Guatemala for the "Increase Your Faith in Jehovah" Circuit Assembly. Serving where the need is greater continues to present new opportunities, struggles and blessings – all in the same package! January marks eight months into our new life here in Panajachel, Guatemala, and we still are adapting and getting used to life here. Speaking objectively, it isn't perfect – we still have our ups and downs, moments of stress, etc. – but we weren't looking for perfection now or here. One thing I can say for sure – life and experiences here have helped us develop greater appreciation for what we do have, suppress desires for what we don't have and increase our reliance on Jehovah for what we need.

The pictures and captions below give a little more detail about our experiences in the month of January 2017.

With pleasure, I was able to deliver the "Pay Attention..." part at the midweek meeting. All three participants gave great comments, but... look at my little man!! Sebastian did great.

I've been studying with Robert for a couple months now, and he is really loving learning about Jehovah. On one Monday, it was so windy that I didn't feel safe taking the boat across the lake to Santiago. Neither of us wanted to miss the study, so we did it on Tuesday morning via a Skype video call. 

The Baird family from Washington state came to Panajachel for a month. Jeremy (pictured here with me out in the ministry in San Jorge) came with his wife and two daughters for the visit.

Jeremy and I make sure no stone is left unturned in the small town of San Jorge.

San Jorge has some of the best and unobstructed views of Lake Atitlán.

Have you ever tried sapote? It is also called zapote, mamey or mamey sapote. It has a beautiful large seed or pit inside that looks like a piece of jewelry, and it tastes like sweet potato casserole. Leiane said she could make a pie out of it without adding any sugar – it is quite sweet!

Jeremy Baird gave the public talk on a Sunday and we hosted their family and the Jackson family, who were also visiting at the same time. As if I didn't already have a house full of girls, we added three to the mix for this occasion. What did the girls do? Dance, listen to music, talk, mambo train, and oh yeah – get flashed by Sebastian, Guatemalan-style!

It was so great to have so many kids together at the house. I know my kids loved having everyone around, and it was great for the congregation to have more young ones too!

Evie had a great time getting to know the Baird girls, Jayde (left) and Jazmine (right).

November through February is high time for visitors, and we saw our congregation attendance numbers double. It was so awesome to make so many friends from all over the world.

Quick pic of Roy Milner (U.K.) with Pierce and Leiane one morning on the boat while headed to San Pedro for ministry.

Packed and ready for our transport to Antigua for our first circuit assembly there.

We arrived in Antigua the day before the assembly, which is hosted at the Kingdom Hall there. We wanted to find the location on Friday so we didn't get lost trying to find it on Saturday. What a blessing it turned out to be – we got to meet many new friends from the other English congregations and groups (Guatemala City, Antigua, Xela). We also got to help set up the hall for the next day.

Sebastian and Ethan met on Friday and were fast friends, united again the next day at the assembly.

A full house for the Increase Your Faith in Jehovah! circuit assembly.

Some of the beautiful sisters in attendance at the circuit assembly in Antigua.

A family from the English congregation in Antigua hosted a gathering after the assembly on Saturday, giving us extra opportunity to get to know some of our new friends better.

Madisyn met Harmony at the regional convention in September 2016, and were glad to have some time together at 

It's like a unicorn - I got a picture of Evie! Here she is doing what she likes most - drawing and listening to music.

Sebastian had a great time throwing his new frisbee... until they told him he could not throw it in the courtyard where we gathered to meet friends from the assembly.

We met a terrifically awesome family at the assembly (the Hindmoor's who were visiting from England) and hit it off right away. We got to spend some quality time together on Sunday for some food and fun.

We did the 'tourist' thing while in Antigua, strolling around the town, seeing the sights (and me shooting, of course).

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