Saturday, June 30, 2007

Crossroads Cafe

This week we met Mike and Adele and their two daughters. They run 'Crossroads Cafe' in Panajachel as a ministry to the local people and visiters to Pana. They are very good friends with the McArthur's and Tyler's parents.

I thought the cafe was very neat. It was quite busy with many loyal customers. While we were there Mike was teaching someone about the art of selecting and roasting coffee beans. Of course we could not come all this way and not try some of the goodies. All of the baked goods are made by Adele and I must say the brownies are awesome. Tyler tells me that the orange rolls are excellent as well. If you are ever in Panajachel we highly recommend popping in.

A Beautiful Sight

Joanna and Hannah walked along the shore dipping their toes in the water. It was refreshing after a hot day in the car.
A few of the tourist boats including the boat we went on called 'Isabelita'

This is one of the many beautiful views of Lake Atitlan. There are several volcanoes surrounding the lake and many small communities. In one nearby town there are natural hot springs heated by a volcano.

This is one of the girls we saw earlier in the day selling things in the streets. She and her brother were skipping stones on the lake just before sundown. They were quite friendly and as it seems to be everywhere, they were quite interested in the girls hair.

Lake Atitlan

We arrived in Panajachel around one o'clock in the afternoon. First we headed to our hotel and then set out walking to find a place to have some lunch.

It was fairly busy in town and we saw many tourists from Europe and North America. There were a lot of children selling bracelets and beaded necklaces in the streets. One thing that surprised us was that these children were aloud into restaurants to try to sell things to you at your table. Often there were streams of kids coming up to our table, this made eating our lunch while it was still hot a little difficult. It was kind of fun and by the end of our three days there we were quite used to it.

On the Road to Pana

On the road to Panajachel we had many adventures, including nealry being run over by an out of control 'Chicken Bus' that was skidding around a sharp curve into our lane. A few curves later we happened upon a family who's car went off the road into a rock wall. We stopped to help them push their car our. The car was in a very muddy spot and as you can see by this picture the reward for helping was a very muddy foot. Thankfully everyone in the car was okay and within a few minutes we were back on our way to Pana.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Ruins Near Tecpan

On the way to Panajachel we spotted a sign for these Mayan ruins. They are like the ones in Tikal only not as tall. We spent about an hour climbing up some of the structures. The stairs were quite steep and coming down was harder than going up.

Remains of Mayan temples and structures

An old Mayan Temple

Sunday, June 24, 2007

"The Oasis" Kids Alive home in Guatemala

This is the Kids Alive home for girls, here in Guatemala. There are around 40 girls that call this home, and the property has a school right on site. There are currently 5 houses, a school/administration building, a large workshop, a soccer field and a large playground on the property. There is also an amazing view of 3 volcanos from up here.

This is a picture of Vanessa. She is a girl who grew up in the Kids Alive Lima Children's Home, in Peru. When she turned 18 she made the decision in life to stay on with Kids Alive and get into ministry work. She helped out at the home in peru for a couple of years and then now has moved here to Guatemala to work at the Oasis girls home. The day we were there she was sustitute teaching for a lady who was sick. We had a good opportunity to talk with Vanessa and encourage her. She told me that though her time was up here in December, she hopes to be able to stay on another couple years.

The day that we were at the home, the children were all in school.
We got a tour of the property from Doug Johnson, one of the missionaries here, and had lunch and prayer meeting with the entire staff. We got to play with some of the girls on their recess time, and I was glad that my mom Ruth could be there with us.
This ministry has its differences from the one we will be joining in Peru, but I think it will have been a benefit to us, to have seen another work in another country.
Please remember to be in prayer for the girls of the Oasis girls home.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Beauty of God's Creation

This is one of the views we see on our way to school each day.

I can hardly believe that we have finished three weeks of classes already. Tyler completed the first course with a 90% on his exam and has now begun the second course. I completed the first workbook and will have my exam when we return to school on July 2nd. We have also signed Hannah and Sarah up for three weeks of spanish classes in July. I think that it will be great for them to learn some Spanish in a more formal setting.

This week it rained only once. It was so nice to see the sun everyday. Several times the girls had water ballon fights with their new friends who were off school this week. Myah also had fun pretending to ride a 'big girl bike'. Yesterday the girls wanted to catch one of the geckos in our backyard for a pet. I am happy they run too fast for them.

We have seen some beautiful sights this week. Every day there are new flowers opening up in our backyard, many that I have never seen before. Each night that we travel home from school we are amazed by the colours in the sky and the cloud formations. I stand in awe of how marvelous God's creation is. Have you ever wondered how many leaves there are in the world at one time? Or, really thought about how big this world is, yet God knows exactly where you are and what you need and he cares for you all the time. This week we walked to the local school for missionary children here in Guatemala, to use the library. On our way home we saw a small plant with tiny flowers in it. The most amazing thing about this plant was that the blossoms were all different colours on one plant.
We are grateful for all of you and miss you very much. I hope that you too have caught a glimpse the wonderful things God has made been equally amazed.

Ty, Bren, Hannah, Sarah & Myah

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tyler's First Attempt at Blogging

La Antigua Guatemala, (The Old Guatemala) was the capitol of Central America hundreds of years ago. It was a thriving city until one day, in a huge deluge of rain, a massive mudslide came down the side of the nearest volcano and buried the city. The surviving population moved to the site of what is today known as Guatemala City. In recent history, people have moved back to Antigua and changed the name of the volcano to Volcan Agua literally meaning volcano of water.

To the delight of tourists, many of the new
structures have incorperated the ruins of the original buildings.

This is the famous Arco Santa Catalina in Antigua. Many things in town are referenced to according to their proximity to the Arco.

On Friday my teacher and I walked up to a hill overlooking Antigua. We had a great view of the city from up here, unfortunately the view of Volcan Agua was obscured by clouds.

Second Week

We completed our second week of Spanish classes. Both of us are enjoying it very much. This coming week it is expected that we will have our exam to pass the first course. I am excited about that. I certainly hope to be bilingual one day.

The girls have really enjoyed having Joanna here. She is great with them and we are so thankful for her. Please continue to pray for all of the girls as they bond together.

We miss you and hope that you are well. May the Lord bless each of you.

La secunda semana es terminado. Nosotros nos gustan las clases de espanol. Esta semana nosotros tenemos la primera examen. Yo estoy muy emocionante.

A las ninas les gusta tienen Joanna aqui. Ella esta excelante con las ninas. Nosotros estamos felices a tiene Joanna.

Nosotros amamos,

de Brenda

This is Myah with her new doll(Caleb) and stroller, an early birhtday present from Grandama before she returned to Canada.

Esta es Myah con su nuevo muneca y sillita.

This is my teacher Elena

Le presento a mi maestra Elena.

A mother and her daughter

Una Mama y su hija

This is a local fruit and vegetable stand in the neighbourhood where we live.

Esta es una tienda con verduras y frutas, cerca de nuestra casa.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Goliath Beetle

Hola Mis Amigos y Familia!

Adam, I hope you enjoy looking at this picture. I often think about how much you would like it here. There are a lot of bugs and insects for you to admire. :-)

The girls really like their traditional outfits from Guatemala. We bought them at a market in Antigua. A lady helped me figure out how to tie the belt around the waist so the skirt(la falda) would not fall down. I love the embroidery that is done on each blouse, they are all very different.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Joanna Arrives Today!!!

The girls are very excited that Joanna arrives today. Sarah has been counting down the days of her arrival. I am not sure that she remembers that this also means that her Grandma is heading back home to Canada.
Here are a few items of praise and prayer.
Prayer items
  • Joanna settles in quickly
  • Our continued language trianing
  • Ruth as she returns to Canada
  • Our family members back home
  • For Joanna and the girls when it rains in the afternoons ( as they will be stuck inside)
Praise items
  • For our teachers Dina and Elena
  • Our first week of language school went well
  • We are settling in quite quickly to our new home
  • For the friends the girls have made here
  • For safety in travelling

The girls with Ruth at the garden in the main area of the complex

Friday, June 8, 2007

La Primera Semana

Today marked the end of our first week at language school. We have both enjoyed our classes and I am amazed at what we have learned already. It is exciting to be able to put together a whole paragraph in another language. Today was also the first day that I (Brenda) have driven here in Guatemala. I was less nervous than I expected. Driving here does not seem as crazy as in Peru. People don't blow their horns continuously. A new on ramp is being contructed at our intersection and the past three days it has taken us roughly 40 minutes to get on the hiway. It should only take us 5 minutes a the most from where we live. This is just more preperation for living outside of Canada.
During our afternoon break this afternoon, Tyler and I walked to a nearby market. We bought a traditional outfit that a young Guatemalan girl would wear for Sarah. (We ran out of time before we could pick one out for the other girls) Sarah was very excited about it. We will take a picture of her tomorrow and post it. It is amazing the work that goes into one of these outfits. The top (la blusa) is hand embroidered with flowers (los flores)or other shapes. Some of them are very elaborate. My understanding is the design has something to do with where the person is from. There is also a skirt ( la falda) that wraps around the waist and is tied with a hand embroidered sache. Sarah looked very pretty when she tried her outfit on, she did not want to take it off.
One of the views along the road to our school.

Muchas Lluvia!!!

You would not believe the rain we have had. Two days this week it has taken us more than an hour to get to school. The longest part of that drive has been a part of the road that floods with water more than a foot deep. We hope to have our camera with us one day so we can show you how crazy it is.

The rain has made the afternoons kind of difficult for the girls, as the rai is heavy and they cannot play outside. They have done a lot of colouring and watched quite a few movies this week. We are thankful that there is a local Christian school nearby and we can use the library.

This morning while we were sitting here at the table we felt a fairly strong tremor. It feels kind of funny.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Nosotros somos de Guatemala (We are from Guatemala)

A few flowers from our garden.

This is our friendly gecko who lives in our back yard. It is quite a lot of fun to watch him as he climbs and runs on the walls and plants.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A family day in Antigua

We travelled to Antigua today and walked around the streets. It is a very pretty city, with lots of old buildings and churches. The cobblestone streets are a bit of a challange for a stroller, but Myah slept the whole afternoon in hers. One of my favourite things is the little kids, and the women here, they are so beautiful. I love their long dark hair.

Brenda, Ruth, Hannah, Sarah and Myah in the Center Square

Tyler and Myah in Central Park.

A view of the volcano. We could see the top if it from the city this morning on our way to church.

This is an old run down church, near the center square, in Antigua.

This is a typical street in Antigua, the town where our language school is. Nearly all the streets are one way roads. Sarah has taken note of how so many of the women and girls here wear tradtional clothing. She has commented about how she would like to dress like them.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Tengo Siete Amigas

This afternoon was so much fun. Hannah, Sarah and Myah met most of the kids that live in our complex. They made friends with seven girls. I also had the chance to talk to some of their moms. Two of them know a fair bit of english and were excited that we were here to learn spanish. I think that talking to them will help us in our learing to speak the language. Already they have told us that they will encourage us to speak to them in spanish as speaking it is one of the easiest ways to learn. I am thankful that we have such wonderful neighbours.

Hannah and a few of her new friends.

There a lot of these wooden birds all over our house and garden.

This is our back yard, it is about 8' by 20'. We discovered tonight that there is a spot light, the garden looks nice all lit up.

This is a picture of a Hummingbird that was in our back yard this morning. We also saw a gecko crawling along the back wall. It was pretty exciting.


We went to Antigua today to see where we will be going to school. I was very surprised at how crowded it was. Hannah thought the cobblestone roads were neat. (I would have posted pictures, but we forgot our battery charger for our camera, and need to wait for it ot arrive with Joanna). Our school is much smaller than it looked in the picutres we had seen, but the people we met were very nice. We talked to the staff there about Hannah and Sarah going to classes at some point. We think that we will do that closer to the time that we leave as it costs the same as it does for an adult, although maybe more exciting. They explained that the girls would also have one on one training, but it would be more games and on hand experience to learn the language. Hannah likes the idea, and right now Sarah does not. We will see. Around our condo complex there are lots of children, many of them girls about the same ages as our kids.

Our neighbours Doug and Sarah are missionaries with Kids alive here in Guatemala. They are very nice and have been very welcoming. They have five children, most of whom are grown and living in the U.S. Their youngest child is a boy named Jared he is 7 years old. The girls have enjoyed playing with him.

Tomorrow morning we are planning to go to church with Rick and Carol McArthur. Sarah went over and played with Valerie this morning, they had a good time. School ended for Valerie this past week so she has been pretty bored.

I must be going. I will email more once we get our email trouble sorted out. Thank You for praying for us. We are very excited about language school and hope to pick us Spanish quickly.

Tyler, Brenda & Girls

Friday, June 1, 2007

We're here!!

We arrived in Guatemal City yesterday around 3pm est. Here we are two hours behind the time at home. We had a busy day of travelling and were quite tired last night.

On Wednesday Myah was telling her cousin Eva that she did not have a home anymore. When we got to our condo Myah looked at Ruth (her Grandma) and said to her "I have a home again". It was very sweet.

This morning Tyler and I went to the nearest plaza to buy some groceries. I thought it was neat that some of the products here are the same as what we bought when we were in Peru. The cost of groceries seems to be similar to home.

Tyler and I begin our language classes on Monday. We are planning to take a drive to Antigua tomorrow to see where the school is.

Cuddling with Grandma on the couch.

This is the view from the terrace.

This is a picture of the girls playing on the common driveway.