13 February 2010

Gearing up for the year

Wow, it is hard to believe it is already February! We continue to plug away at lots of different ministries, and are constantly amazed at all that God is doing around us! I was able to get out and give several more water filters a couple of weeks ago. We have several more ready to be brought from the States for us, they will come with a team in March. We will continue to reach out to the neighborhood in Zona 3 by the dump. We have also been approached by a new project being started by nationals here called "Abrazando mi Guatemala" (Hugs for my Guatemala). One village they are targeting is San Juan, Sacatepéquez, where there is a huge need for safe drinking water. We hope to be able to help them with some water filters also.

Señora Toribia Jolon and her 2 sons with their water filter

Their 2 room casita is just beyond the black door

Sandi and I have begun teaching English 2 nights a week at the Casa Juvenil with 8 girls between 17 and 26 yrs old. It has been fun. As they realize how difficult it can be to learn another language, they seem to appreciate our struggles to communicate with them in Spanish also!
I have also enlisted a Dentist and an Orthodontist that have expressed a desire to help people with need. The dentist has seen several girls from the casa juvenil and youth from las Aldeas. She has given free initial check-ups, then is giving them some incredibly low prices to do any needed work! The Orthodontist said she would like to provide orthodontic work to at least one patient a year free! I was able to bring her 3 candidates, and she decided to help TWO of them this year! They will be getting braces put on this coming Wednesday! One is 19 yrs old, the other 14.
We are gearing up for two teams coming in March. One from Texas that will work here in the city. Immediately after them follows a group from The INN at Western Washington University in Bellingham! They will work for a week in Huehuetenango. We are also in the middle of the application period for our summer intern program. Applications must be in by March 15, so we are busy these days corresponding with potential interns, answering questions etc.
It is looking to be a full year in 2010. God is moving and we are so blessed to be here being used by Him to serve others.

12 February 2010

I don't even like fish!

Today was one of those days where I got to check off one more thing on the "list of things to do in my life" list!
I was invited to join a couple of other missionaries on a trip out deep sea fishing! Their 3rd person had to cancel, so I was given the opportunity to go on a trip I could not have otherwise afforded! I even told them ahead of time that I was a "city boy" and know nothing about fishing. All they said was, "Boy are you going to have fun!" And I did!

We drove to Puerto San José, a little over an hour from home on the Pacific coast, where we climbed on our boat, "MANTARRAYA". I kept thinking of Gilligan leaving on a '3 hour tour'.

Our boat is the little one!

We were going to be fishing for Sailfish, perhaps a Marlin (unlikely I was told) and Mahi Mahi. They also occasionally catch Yellow Fin Tuna off the coast. I was informed that Guatemala's Pacific coast is maybe the best spot in the world for Sailfish!

Yellow Fin Tuna (top) Mahi Mahi (bottom) and Sailfish

We went strait out from the marina to a final distance of almost 30 miles off the coast. Within about 10 minutes we had already had 2 strikes but not hooked. About 5 minutes later I got the first one on!

It wasn't quite as easy as they always make it sound

I wasn't sure at first, until a minute later when about 150 yards out I saw it leap out of the water! That was an amazing sight!

Absolutely amazing to watch!

Well, I reeled like mad for what seemed like hours (probably more like 5 minutes) until I got it close enough to the boat.

He's not quite ready to give up!

Just about there!

Finally, with the help of the deckhand we pulled our first sailfish aboard and I got my picture!
Then, we put him back in the water and watched him swim away. All Sailfish and Marlin in Guatemala must be released, you cannot keep them.

My First Sailfish!

All told for the day, we caught 4 sailfish (I had two!) about 6 small Tuna (not yellow fin) we saw about a dozen dolphin, several that swam with us for awhile, 5 or 6 sea turtles and a MantaRay that was about 5 feet across!
Crazy Beautiful Day!

11 February 2010

Hot Lava and a Burned up Computer

January 29, 2010 I was invited to get up early and leave at 5:00 AM to join 3 other men and climb Volcán Pacaya, one of the several active volcanoes of Guatemala! It was a beautiful morning as we set out, beginning our climb just a bit after 6:00 AM. I was in the company of two fellow CAM missionaries, John Conner and Glenn Stewart, plus a visitor from the States, Craig Minnich.

Sunrise on (l-r) Volcán Fuego (active) Volcán Acatenango & Volcán Agua

We saw a beautiful sunrise with our view of the surrounding volcanoes, while we were in the shadow of Pacaya for the entire climb.
Surveying our route with Pacaya towering over us

John and I led the way as we climbed over the first ridge in the photo above to not too far below the summit. Much of the climb is through loose volcanic gravel, meaning two steps up, slide one step back!

Crossing a field of loose gravel

This is a lot steeper than it looks!

Yes, that's hot!

Fresh, red hot lava!

We had a great morning, and due to the need to meet a team at the airport later, I was actually back home after our climb before 11:30 AM!

That was a fun day. Later though, after a power outage at our home, our family computer finally died! Not from the power outage (we don't think) because it was not on and was plugged into a surge protector. But, it was old and had been less than working at it's best for some time. So, we are currently shopping for a new computer. Not what we were planning to do, don't really have the funds for it, but when is a good time? But, Sandi as usual had the most logical solution. Our "work" computer is also almost 6 years old, so she suggested upgrading the "work" computer, then moving our current work computer to the status of family computer. Good idea. And, the good news is that you can get a pretty good computer these days for a lot less than we paid for the computer we have now!