WOW! what a day we had yesterday! we met up with Joel VanDyke a missionary down here whom keith and monica have worked with the several times they have been down here. what a guy joel is!! i know that we would have NEVER seen these places if it weren't for him! we started the day with joel taking us up to the christian school. there we saw a family with such an AMAZING vision. the local pastor wanted to start a church school 35 years ago. he and his family finally started one 9 years ago, in fact they had the paperwork to become an organized school before they even had a building or classrooms. they went out on faith and started registering children to start - just 2 weeks before school was to begin God provided a school building. all but one of the teachers were family members - they started with 83 students and i forget how many they have now but it is around 200 i believe. they scrunch in up to 37 students in a room not much bigger than grace's room at home - i will NEVER complain about class sizes again! We then visited a family who have 6 girls and one baby boy in their home. 5 of the children attend the christian school. the people here are so overwhelmingly hospitable!!
we sat at their table - with 9 chairs around it (reminded me of home!!) and spoke with them. the children were all around and were so very excited that they had gringos in their home. the girls stole our hearts! seeing them living in such conditions (dirt floor, tin house, incredibly meager surroundings) and yet having the smiles on their faces - you could tell that God lived there.
joel then brought us back to the pastor's house where his wife prepared us an authentic guatemalan dinner - let's just say it felt like a thanksgiving meal!!!
From there joel took us someplace where bethany would most definitely have suggested us NOT to go (sorry, sarah!!!) - he took us to the city dump. we had to park in the cemetary (strangest cemetary we've ever been in - they bury there loved ones above the ground). mom & i stayed in the van with lydia and dad & greg went out to the overlook of the dump. it reminded us so much of nicaragua. the vultures soaring over head were the size of small dogs, the smell was so strong we had to cover our faces, people - many, many people - were in the midst of the garbage scrounching around for recycle scraps, wild dogs all over looking for anything to eat. it was almost too much to see. to be in such a beautiful country as guatemala is and then see something so ugly was very hard to take in. the site that struck me was this tree with about 50 or so vultures just sitting and then this beautiful flowering tree right in front of it - such beauty and ugliness so close to each other.
we then were on a mission to find this homeless pregnant teen who monica had seen when she was here in july. she couldn't get this girl out of her mind. joel had said there were 2 pregnant girls that were homeless. we found audah sitting all curled up under a building awning trying to keep out of the rain. she sat there so small and so all alone - it was a sight i will never forget. joel stopped and we started talking with her. she was really quite beautiful under all the dirt and grime. we told her that she was being prayed for and that we had gifts for her and inez (the other pregnant teen) - joel was going to give the gifts of baby things to a coordinator who is starting a mission to reach out to these homeless teens. we then went to mcdonalds and bought her some food since she hadn't eaten all day. please pray for these girls - they have no life except for huffing and just surviving. they are God's children too - and it just hit me that our little girl may have ended up in a place like that.
speaking of lydia - she is opening up so much more today. so many more smiles and laughs and mischieviousness. she LOVES baths and hearing her laugh while splashing herself is something i will never get sick of! she is definitely not a morning person! she is slow to wake up and refuses to eat anything until afternoon. she is a joy! last night, though, was our first time seeing her truly scared - it was over 2 hours of trying to get her to sleep - she was at times unconsolable. it just reminded me that she is a little girl whose life is completely changed and she was just scared. it tore my heart apart. please pray for tonight that it will go better for her (and for us!).
we are heading to antigua for the day - looking forward to another great adventure! thank you for keeping us in your prayers. we can't wait to be home for you all to meet our new little girl! love to all.....
greg & jolynn
oh.....thought you'd enjoy seeing lydie again!! :)