I am part of the change!
What an incredible mission statement for our family as we completed our first week of this amazing journey we have been called to be apart of. There has been so much to take in this week for our entire family as we adjust to living in a new culture, eating new food, driving on new roads, and learning a new language!
Arriving last Thursday, we started our new life here in great company – spending the weekend with the Armas family and the participants of the Intern Abroad Program. When we arrived at City of Hope, we were welcomed with hand made posters, cheers, and hugs. It was truly remarkable and humbling to know that the children were preparing for us in a way that made our entire family feel special.
We spent that Thursday and Friday introducing our own children to a place that had captured so much of our hearts. It brought us great joy to see our kids fall in love with the children of the ministry and play all day with kids that speak a different language than them. Bryce found an instant connection with Jose’s son Daniel as they bonded over their love of books, video games, and sports. He even joined in on Daniel’s basketball practice and had a blast!
On Saturday we experienced Guatemala first hand when we got lost. Yes, LOST in Guatemala City. They say that’s the best way to learn how to get around, so maybe we just did it on purpose… Here’s the story: That morning, Erin Armas took Becca to the Walmart (yes, they have Walmart here) and Becca learned how to get home from there. The only problem was when we ventured out, we decided to drive past the Walmart and go to the mall instead. It was a lot of fun – a carousel ride, a great dinner, window shopping and people watching. However, when we turned out of the parking lot of the mall (after spending 30 minutes trying to figure out how to pay for parking) we couldn’t find the Walmart! We pulled into parking lot after parking lot asking “Donde esta El Walmart??” We got a lot of directions and even more funny looks. What an adventure!
On Sunday we moved into the house in San Lucas that we will be staying in for our time in language school. We spent some time learning the area and how to drive around Antigua.
We parked and roamed the city with the Interns and a group from a partner church of Hope for Guatemala. We made a couple of important connections with the people of Antigua. More about those in a future blog post…
On Monday we started school. Our school is amazing and the teachers are wonderful, but man, it is hard work!! Each day we sit one-one-one with our individual maestras (teachers) for 4 hours then have about an hour of homework each night. Brad and Bryce go to school together in the morning, and Becca in the afternoon. On Monday, Becca and Baylee explored the beautiful city of Antigua the whole morning discovering fountain after fountain (Baylee’s favorite!) and meeting new friends.
On Tuesday, Brad and Bryce got to witness the massive Volcan de Fuego pouring out smoke, Wednesday there was a 5.1 magnitude earthquake, and Thursday Brad ventured out with the kids while Becca was at school. They explored the market of San Lucas, picking up some of our favorite local fresh fruits and veggies – guisquil, lychees, and more! On Friday, we had a much needed family night with delicious Chinese food (yes, they have THAT here too!) and a movie.
Yesterday, we had breakfast at one of our favorites – San Martin. Picture this – IHOP, but better. And breakfast INCLUDES coffee, orange juice, and PAN (bread)! Oh and they have a whole play area with an indoor playground similar to Catch Air. Baylee and Bryce shared in the international language of play with several other kids on the playground. Bryce even had a moment of courage and used some Spanish when talking with a kid on the slide!
After breakfast, we once again went in search of the local Walmart, about 20 minutes from San Lucas. Unlike our Walmart adventure last weekend, this time we found it and our way home with ease! Side note – at Walmarts in Guatemala, they have promoters selling certain products and giving out free samples on every aisle. Sometimes 2-3 samples – cheese, hot dogs, cereal, oranges. There was even someone who let us smell fabric softener and deodorant! We enjoyed this experience and Bryce took full advantage. He had a full stomach by the time we left!
We’re learning to navigate our new area, appreciate our new culture, and falling even more in love with the people of Guatemala! Thank you again to our support team that is making this journey possible. We are enjoying being stretched out of our comfort zone and making connections with the hospitable people of Guatemala! We are excited to see what all God has in store over the next season!
Brad and Becca