A Taste of Guatemala
Last October Sis. Martha Osborn and I had the privilege of joining my parents on their yearly trip to Guatemala. It was our first time traveling outside of North America so we were very excited, but unsure what to expect since neither of us know how to speak Spanish!
We arrived early in the afternoon on Thursday and were greeted at the airport by Israel, who is currently studying for baptism. He took us back to his home where we met his wife, Sis. Victoria, and spent the afternoon talking and touring around the city. The next morning our hosts had thoughtfully made and delivered breakfast to our hotel room – chuchitos, small Guatemalan tamales. Though entirely different from our North American version of breakfast, it was quite good! We spent the next hour or so exploring the city, and then hopped on a bus with some other brothers, sisters, family and friends, and made the hour long drive to Antigua. There we explored the old buildings and streets, Guatemalan shops, beautiful scenery, and enjoyed a ‘typical’ Guatemalan lunch. We were already starting to love the food, mostly because of the fresh tortillas provided with anything and everything you might eat. Our bus driver even spent the day touring with us, and Brother Encarnación seemed to have a very interesting conversation with him about the truth over lunch!
On Saturday we had scheduled two Bible classes in the afternoon. My dad led the classes – one on King Manasseh and other on the Memorial Emblems, as we sat in a circle in the courtyard of Israel and Victoria’s home. There were just over 10 of us there. As it got dark we had to come up with some interesting ways to light the space, and for someone who is used to the typical buildings and setups we have in Canada, this way of meeting in the open air somehow felt more genuine. Martha and I were sadly unable to understand the classes, though we did try using Google Translate’s real time translation. It mostly just led to us trying not to laugh at the things it supposed Dad was saying. Instead, we spent the time reading or working on our own studies. After the classes, as Martha and I were sitting around wondering what to do (it’s amazing how lack of communication can weigh on you after a few days), the son of Bro. Jaime and Sis. Karla came up and introduced himself. He was about our age, and using Google Translate we were able to have some basic conversation, which was really exciting! After the classes we went out as a group to dinner where we were able to fit in a bit better with everyone there. The husband of one sister joined us for dinner, and was able to speak in fluent English. He made sure to sit by us and help us have some further conversation with the others who were there.
Sunday was our last full day. We had Pollo Campero for breakfast for the third day in a row, attended Sunday School and the memorial service (Bro. Jaime who was visiting from El Salvador gave the exhortation), and went out with the group to Pollo Campero (again) for lunch. We returned to the home of Israel and Sis. Victoria, and spend the afternoon talking (or trying to), and then spent an hour singing hymns. It’s a very special memory looking back at the small group that was there united in something so important despite incredibly different backgrounds. The next morning a sister offered to drive us to the airport, and we were on our way home again. It was an incredible experience, seeing a different culture, meeting new brothers and sisters, and seeing the way they live. As I’m sure many trips like this show, it was amazing to see the way that people with very different backgrounds can be brought together by the truth.