Happy New Year! I’ve been slow to post an update this month because it has been difficult to summarize well all that we have been up to. I started and stopped a number of times and could not find the right words until I realized that the overarching theme for our month was celebration. We spent the last five weeks celebrating life in so many different ways. Here are a few snapshots —
Jason and Luke were able to help install a new patio roof at this home (above and below) which opens it’s space each week for the local La Casa de la Paz group of women to meet together.
We joined a short-term missions team from Indiana and went across the lake to visit two alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers. Our time with both the men and the women was really meaningful. I was inspired by their bravery in choosing to get help for their addictions. The women celebrated us by giving every person in our group a handmade hat.
Mabel celebrated losing her first tooth (finally!). Sadly, she swallowed it while eating, but luckily the tooth fairy has certificates for swallowed teeth.
Jason and Mabel spent time with the English students in Tierra Linda celebrating Christmas with a special program of songs and games. Mabel was a little overwhelmed by having her blonde hair petted by so many kids at once.
Before we knew it, Christmas arrived. And with the special day came many, many delicious tamales and A LOT of fireworks! We had a beautiful time celebrating Christ’s birth and the many blessings that have been poured out over us.
The year would not be complete without trying more new fruits – Cushin or the “ice cream bean” was first. We were told to eat only the white fluffy stuff off the seeds, and it was surprisingly tasty. The other fruits are Chico fruits. They smelled like potatoes and (to us) tasted like very overripe pears. I love that our kids are always willing to try these things no matter how strange the seem.
Our year ended with a short boat ride across the lake and a beautiful hike between villages with a wonderful family that God has blessed us with here. It was a perfect year-end celebration.
Early in the New Year, I got to join Leigh in a kid-free day to participate in the three year anniversary of the women’s alcohol and drug rehabilitation center – Casa Ixoqi (ee-show-key). Shockingly, we have been told that this is the ONLY women’s-only rehab center in all of Guatemala. I am thankful to Dirty Feet Misisons for seeing this gap in care and helping start the women’s center three years ago. It was a huge privilege to join these women in their celebration.
We even got to join together with our neighbors and celebrate the birthday of our compound’s caretaker together with his family. Esquipulas has been kind, helpful and patient with us since day one. It was an honor to get to celebrate him.
We continue to celebrate this spectacular location that we get to live – even when we lose our electricity for nearly four days and I need to use my headlamp to see for cooking. We are filled with gratitude for the people God places in our path.