Thursday, July 17, 2014

Magnificent Beauty of God's Earth and People

Today was a day for the team to be blessed by and to appreciate the magnificent beauty of God's Earth during the first part of the day, and by his people during the second part of the day.  We used the first part to rest and rejuvenate after two intense and rewarding work days.  We were fortunate to travel on a truly spectacular, sunny day to the ancient Mayan city of Iximche.  Roughly translated, this city means Corn Woods, or the city of people who make corn.  We traveled roughly northwest from our current location in Santa Rosa, and the city is located approximately 91 kilometers from Guatemala City.  We determined that it is even higher above sea level than Denver, Colorado, and the cooler weather offered an amazing day to us.  We walked through and observed the ruins of a city that is thought to have been built and founded by the Mayan people around 1478 BC.  A tour taught us that the Mayans worshipped multiple deities, with particular importance attached to the Sun, Moon, and wind.  Their buildings and walkways used steps that are very narrow and not at all wide.  When walking up or down them, it is not possible to fit all of your foot on each step because they are so narrow.  We were told that this was not due to their smaller physical stature, but due to their belief and desire that in order to never turn their back on the Sun, these steps forced each person to walk up or down sideways.  We spent a relaxing time hiking through their old temples, palaces, and altars.  On our return trip to Santa Rosa, we stopped to enjoy a traditional Guatemalan meal as a group while enjoying a spectacular view of the mountains at a roadside restaurant.  We enjoyed several styles of beef, chicken, tortillas, black beans, potatoes, guacamole, and fresh vegetables.  The memorable garnishment was a green, spicy sauce that many in the group want to bottle and bring home with us to add to any food item.

The second part of the day was spent celebrating with the local scouts at their awards dinner.  We wanted to acknowledge and celebrate all of the kids' accomplishments from the Pinewood Derby that we organized and ran for them this past Saturday afternoon.  Trophies were brought and presented to the three kids from each of the age groups who had the fastest race times with their cars.  Scouts are placed in either the Tigers, Bears, and or Wolves based on their age.  Two trophies were also awarded to kids from each of these age groups for the best design of their cars.  The looks on their faces when they were recognized and came to the stage to accept their trophies was a sight that no member of the team shall ever forget.  The children's' faces reflected such pride and happiness in their achievements, and just such pure joy that they could not help but make your heart feel so full and warm with the love of the Holy Spirit.  We were all very proud and gratified to be sharing this experience with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  I thought back to the information from our trip to the Mayan ruins earlier in the day.  Just as the Mayans never turned their back on the Sun, so shall we strive to never turn our backs to God or his desire that we love and serve our fellow Brothers and Sisters wherever and whenever we find them.

We look forward to serving the Lord's will again tomorrow,  and are thankful for the chance to do so.  Thank you to all of our loved ones and other supporters that we know are praying for us and our work here this week.  God bless you all.   Good night from Guatemala.

A Visit to the Mayan Ruins at Iximche
Cub Scout Blue and Gold Dinner
All the Teens at Iximche

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