FeBRRRuary – 'Winter' in Panajachel

A view of the town of San Antonio, one of the towns around Lake Atitlan that are now part of our congregation's new and enlarged territory assignment.

During the months from November to February, we experience a lot of visitors, with the highest number of them in February. This gave the congregation a welcome influx of experiences as we shared time together in the ministry and at meetings.

As the area is called the 'land of eternal spring,' there really is no winter as knew it in the US, but it would get down to around 45ºF (7º-8ºC) at night, which I actually quite like. It is still the dry, windy season, too, which meant that mornings could be blustery and cool.

Winding through the endless callejones in San Antonio as we search for English speakers.

All around Lake Atitlan you can find women with their own looms, making the beautiful creations you see being worn and available for sale. Watching the craftsmanship and time that goes into making these really makes me appreciate them more.

In San Pedro on another day in the ministry, we meandered down a dirt path between homes where we found an English speaker.

Full of energy for a day in the ministry, our group hikes up the main road on the way to the territory in San Pedro.

My cross-over military style messenger bag for the ministry was torquing my back, so I was on the lookout for a backpack instead. With Drew's help, I found this used one in San Pedro for Q30.

Last ministry picture for this post is a food pic! My crepe and cappuccino lunch in Santiago on a day when I was by myself for Bible studies. Since then, Drew and I have been going to Santiago for our Bible studies almost every week – definitely a highlight of my ministry each week.

One of our brothers in the Kaqchikel congregation lost his sister in death during the month. It was my first time walking with a funeral procession to the cemetery. I number of brothers and sisters from the English, Spanish and Kaqchikel congregation were there to offer support.

Two funerals in three days. This time, it was the mother of my Bible student in Santiago. As everyone in attendance followed the casket to the cemetery, Robert broke away from his family and walked with me (the only non-native there) the entire way, about 2 miles. Along the way I was able to share comforting promises from God's Word. After discussing the resurrection hope, we talked about faith in such promises. As we walked, we looked out at the scene you see here and I reminded him how strong faith can be, that you can move mountains with faith the size of a mustard seed.

At the central plaza in Santiago, you can see this great diorama of Lake Atitlan and the surrounding lake towns. 

During the months of November through February, we experience a high volume of visitors. It keeps things very interesting and makes for quite a buzz before, during and after meetings, as our average attendance went from 27 to 47. We enjoyed having visitors from England, Wales, Texas (US), South Carolina (US) and Wisconsin (US).

Ebony and Kenyatta, from Greenville, SC, came to visit for a month. I actually got to know them better while they were here than when I lived in the Greenville, SC area for years. I love this picture because it looks like Ebony is giving a passionate 'fire and brimstone' sermon, complete with visual aid!

The Ybarra family from Texas has been able to serve where the need is greater in Warwick most recently, as the father/husband, Andy, was able to lend his skills to the construction work. Andy's father-in-law, Jesse, has been in the congregation here for over two and a half years.

The Ybarra clan was able to have a share in the ministry and in handling meeting assignments...

...including reading for the Congregation Bible Study on Tuesday afternoon.

Madisyn and Attie demonstrate the initial call. I think Madi knew I was taking a picture of her!

On the same meeting, Leiane and Izabel did a great job on the Bible study assignment that was for a mother to demonstrate having a Bible study with her daughter.

Madisyn with Phoebe, a visitor from Hardeeville, SC, having a pretend practice session after a meeting.

Ok, that's all for meetings and ministry – they take up the largest part of our lives, and thus most of the blog posts, which makes sense. Now for a little bit of home life.

The Hindmoor family from England (that we met at the circuit assembly, mentioned in the previous blog post), came to Panajachel to visit with us. They stayed overnight with us and then we had an exciting boat ride to San Pedro for lunch, swimming and fun. Afterwards we retreated back to our house for supper, compliments of Claire.

In our backyard we have an avocado tree, and it was full and ready to be picked. But – how do you get the ones high up? You make a homemade harvest tool using a cloth, PVC pipe, wire hanger and some duct tape!

I would pluck them and Madisyn would take them out of the catch pouch when I had 2 or 3 in there.

Our total avocado harvest – nearly 100!

At market I found these huge grapes that reminded me of the ones that were depicted in My Book of Bible Stories that Joshua and Caleb brought back to camp when spying out the land of Canaan.

It is fairly easy to reward (bribe) Sebastian with treats from around town. A chocolate cupcake? Yeah, that will do the trick!

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