Saturday, December 12, 2015

Last Day!

Nothing like the last day of work or school before vacation!  We wrapped up the year with a work day in the clinic, cleaning out mobile boxes, disinfecting the clinic, preparing the pharmacy for next year, organizing the store room and unloading our mobile equipment.  We looked through the calendar and schedule for 2016 and ended the day with a late lunch.  We thank God for the wonderful team we have  here in Quiche and their desire to serve him and the local communities.  Taking the job out on the road everyday is physically and mentally challenging, so everyone is looking forward to quiet time at home with family for a while!  Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Celebrate Good Times!

We have been making the rounds to the ABC celebrations in the local churches.  It's fun to see how each one has a little different take on the whole thing.  The day always starts with some form of corporate worship, lead by the kids. Then on to talent show (Bible reading, singing, dramas, skits) and then competitions and lunch. Somewhere in the mix, they present the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners of the points accumulated during the year.  As a recap, the kids get points in the program for grades, Bible school attendance, writing letters to their sponsors, and health checkups.  At the end of the year we tally up the points and prizes are given for top points getters.  Theoretically they could all get 1st prize, but it doesn't seem to work out that way!
They did great this year, with more first place prizes than last year and fewer failing, which is always great.  This year we really saw the older kids step up and take responsibility for the activity and demonstrate their spiritual maturity in their encouragement of the younger kids.  Thank you to all of you who sponsor kids in this program.  The families ask us over and over to personally thank you and tell you what a blessing the program is to them.
Worship leaders for the Chichicastenango activity.  They sang, preached and sang some more.

These singers had been practicing!

First place winners from Xepocol.  

Memory verse competition.  They were all pretty good, but Silvia cranked out the most verses!
Moms from Xejox having a good time.

"Cacahuate"  They have to relpy, "cacahuate" whenever asked a question.

First and second prize winners in the same family.

Egg toss demonstration by Kemmel and Noe

Aaaand, she missed!
Blow up a balloon and pop it while hugging your friend.  Try as they might, they just couldn't do it!

Run and pop a water balloon on your teammate's lap
Chow time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Heading to the Hills

Beautiful mountains above San Bartolome

Yesterday we headed out at the crack of dawn for the end of year ABC celebration in La Palma. This year it was decided that instead of having a large celebration here in Chichicastenango with all of the churches traveling in, we would have the activities at each local congregation.  The cost of transportation alone was getting to be prohibitive, and the size of our guest list too big for the local installations.  With very little convincing necessary, the ABC coordinators agreed to host the activities locally.  With the money saved in transportation, we were able to allocate more funds per church so that they could invite the whole congregation to the party.  People from farthest away were especially glad not to have to deal with a bus-full of carsick kids.

La Palma is a tiny town in the mountains north of here about 90 minues away.  The people walk everywhere--uphill both ways.  The junior high kids live an hour-and-a-half walk from school (no cars), which means most kids board with a family during the week and come home on weekends. They are some of the most cardiovascularly fit folks we know!

Iglesia de Cristo La Palma

Since they are a smaller congregation and don't have any dedicated Sunday school teachers or high school kids, we invited some of  the scholarship kids from the Xepocol church to help out. We had a great time with this small but friendly congregation, recognizing the academic achievements of their kids.  We shared a time of worship, games, Bible trivia, "marathon"and lunch before heading back home. (Thanks to Cesar, Manuel, Tomas, Tomas, Maria and Tomasa for their hard work.
Working on the agenda for the morning's activities.

Menfolk getting pine needles ready to adorn the floor for the activity.
Pyramid building race

Maria and Tomasa enjoying some sun
While talking to the local ABC coordinators, they mentioned how much they appreciated having the celebration in their own town and getting to share the day with everyone.  It was a great day!

The most hilarious competition--moms feeding their "babies" a bottle of milk.

Alberto carrying his egg to the finish line.

Marta reading her "race to find the scripture"  verse.
Cheerleading section

And they're off! Up the mountain about 3/4 mile and back.

And they're--off with their shoes!  Better barefooted than in flip flops...

Manuela was flying down the hill to the finish line.

Honorable mention.

Have you ever played soccer on a ridge?  Let's just say, out of bounds is a real bummer.
So we have 15 more communities to go.  Most of them before we all leave for vacation, so we will divide up all of our staff over the next week to attend the celebrations.  Should be good!