We were super blessed the end of March to receive a visit from our daughter Maria!
We of course knew a few weeks in advance but it was a surprise for everyone else here in Guatemala!
Maria was struggling with a little homesickness the past couple of months and stressed with school, work and missing us. So, we hadn't planned it but we all decided it would be a good idea for her to spend her Spring Break here! It did not end up being a good idea...it was a GREAT idea!
|I just find this a little creepy|
The plan (and her tickets) were for her to arrive Saturday afternoon, so she could join us for church Sunday morning, something she has missed almost the most, our church and worshipping in Spanish. There is just something special about it. Anyway, her flight left Seattle so late she missed her connection in Los Angeles. They scheduled her on a late flight to Atlanta, then one to Guatemala where she would arrive about noon on Sunday :( I looked online and saw a direct flight from L.A. to Guatemala leaving just after mid-night and arriving here at 6 AM. So she went back and asked and they put her on that flight! So, she didn't arrive Saturday, but still arrived in time for church!
|This is NOT creepy, I love this girl!|
She also was able to surprise her best friend Susana, just as she woke up! Susana at first thought she was still dreaming, then grabbed Maria in a huge hug! Susana then stepped back and said "Maria, you're so skinny......and WHITE!" Hahaha guess that is what a winter in Washington does for you!
We had some great fun with Maria, and she was able to slow down and relax.
She even mentioned by the second day it felt like she had never even left.
|Pizza party with Ernesto, Susana & the kids!|
We had some one on one time with Maria to discuss things she wanted to talk about, and she was able to visit some of her friends from high school.
One night when Sandi and I were not there, she had a pizza party with Ernesto, Susana and their kids!
|Tia Maria with her sobrina, Elizabeth!|
She got to see many of the youth she was always involved with and got to bother her "little brother" Luis again. She also got to reconnect with Elizabeth who was just 14 months old when Maria left last year. It didn't take long for Elizabeth to be running around yelling "Maria, Maria".
We also spent a day in Antigua just walking, talking and shopping! Maria shopped like I had never seen her before! Shopping and taking pictures like a tourist!
|Andrés leading special worship service of songs selected by Maria!|
Sandi and I had a conference with our Mission over the last weekend, but we left early Sunday morning so we could take Maria to our church one last time. Before she came Maria had sent me a list of worship songs she especially missed in Spanish. I gave them to Andrés, Maria's favorite worship leader, and he surprised her by singing them ALL for a special service for her!
|Visiting with Wendy & Offy|
Sunday afternoon, which also happened to be Maria's 20th birthday, we went to Casa Kairos to vist Wendy & Offy, along with some other kids. We had a good time there, Offy has always been special for Maria and it has been hard for to only receive news of Offy without hugging her.
|Maria's 20th birthday dinner with us and her little bro, Luis.|
Sunday night, her last before a very early departure Monday morning, we took Maria out for her birthday dinner to a very Guatemalan restaurant, KATOK. We had a great dinner laughing and enjoying our last night together for awhile.
I am pleased that Maria seemed so relaxed when she left, and is ready to get on with school.
Maria told me, "you know papa, before when people asked me where I'm from, I would say, 'I really don't have a home', but now I realize that I actually have two homes!"
I love you dearly Maria, and miss you MUCHO, but I know this is your time, and you are going to make it just fine!