7 . 8 . 2013

 After waking up at 4:45 this morning, battling cockroaches and ants, we charged through customs with rumbling bellies and nervous jitters, hopped aboard flight 2138 and conquered the world. Good-bye, Guatemala. I suppose I promised to do a lot of writing on the plane, so now's as good a time as ever to start. 

 We went to the "hospital" on Independence Day. I was, and still am rattled by the memory of the experience. We were told to do our very best NOT to cry. Les said that we were there to bring God's light and hope to the sick and dying, not sadness and despair. It was so hard- I sort of failed. But my heart was broken! We went around the rooms, to each bed. (There didn't really seem to be a very organized system- beds, crooked and broken, just lay scattered all across the room randomly.) We went and prayed for each child and their parent. One by one, the person praying would be the one to either touch or hold the child. The first boy I prayed for... it was so hard to keep my composure for the duration of the prayer. Hot tears were streaming down. He was probably three months old, and he was dying of starvation. He wasn't hooked up to any IV's or anything- it was just him, lying in a dirty hospital bed. His skin was crinkled and wrinkled- there wasn't enough body fat to fill it. He was terrifyingly thin. He may have died by now. I prayed so hard, and I hope the Guatemalan families left behind will not be angry at God if the boy passes away.
     Even the parents who weren't Christians, they eagerly allowed us to pray over their child. I also prayed for a little boy named Ian who had a brain tumor. His father thanked my profusely, and Ian was so happy with the small stuffie that I gave him.
     What hit most of us real hard was simply the knowledge that most of the kids were dying from an illness that we could fix in a jiffy back in Canada. A lot of them had pneumonia, and a lot were starving. One 5-year-old boy had a terribly painful growth on his neck. When we first walked in, the poor boy was screaming in pain, and his family was holding him still. His eyes were completely bloodshot from crying. But even he, when he was given a toy, managed the very slightest hint of a smile.
     We prayed for a 6-month-old baby and her 15-year-old mother. That was certainly eye-opening. I had heard about mission's teams visiting young mother's homes, but being up close with a peer who had her own child, wow. She was so cheerful! I was just numb with the thought that she could be in my class, and she's a mother. Her baby girl, Jessica (Yessica), had pneumonia, as well.
     We went into the maternity ward and gave packages we had made to the new mothers. We went into the room where they put the newborn babies, and off in the corner was six baby bins. In those bins, in peaceful oblivion, lay six abandoned babies. Those were the ones that we were allowed to hold. All I could think about as I looked at the sweet faces of those infant orphans, was the road they would have to take. Will they ever be adopted?
     I pitied them, I felt sorrowful, but I came to realize something. In Canada and North America, we have another way of abandoning babies, and it's much worse. It's called abortion.

     I don't want to talk too much about my sickness but to paraphrase: I woke up in the middle of the night, bolted to the bathroom and watched as my supper hurled itself into la toilette. It was so bad. Barfing nonstop with a nasty case of the runs- it was just lovely. I won't go into detail. But the jist of it: it was a long, confusing night, I threw up almost every 5 minutes, and was completely out of it.
     At one point, I woke up to see Van and Mr. Yourk standing beside me, praying., They were probably there for 5-10 minutes, but with my confusion, and since I dozed out every few seconds, I thought they had been standing there for hours.
     I had been thinking how Mr. Williams looks a lot like Johnny Depp. And in my delusional state, I thought it was him. I was so excited that Johnny Depp was praying for me! Haha! But it was not so. But... I think Van was probably a better person to have praying for me. LOL.
     I had to sleep in the next morning, and slept most of the day. I barely ate a thing. All I did that day was go and visit Ana, my sponsor child.
     Jasmine said it was amazing how I caught and recovered in just one night from a sickness that most people get for over a week. Thank you, God!
     Like I said, I was very disappointed that day, but I believe it was exactly what I've been praying for! I had been praying for months that God would really humble me. For one, I've always been the one to think, "Oh, I would be the very last person to get sick. I'm healthy! I would never get sick!" But instead, I was shown that I am not invincible, I am weak. I am not the star of the show, and they were able to cope without me being there. I've prayed, "God, I know it's not fun while it's happening, but I pray that you would somehow humble me...."

     On our last full day in Tactic, we played a group game. I was on Team Rashleigh (my family). The three teams were each given a sheet. There was a list of things we had to buy... but everything was in Spanish. The list would say something like: "Cuantos Papinos." We had to record who made the transaction (who bought the item), and how much we paid for it.
     We didn't have a translator, but we still had to go through the uber crowded street market and find about 10 different items, barter for a fair price, all in Spanish. It was tricky! Our goal was to complete as much of the list as possible by spending the leasst amount of money- and we only had an hour and a half to do it! So we were crawling and clawing our way through the market like headless chickens, shouting mispronounced Spanish words in hopes that we could find it. It was chaotic, but fun.

     The staff at Chijacorral threw us a party! I was amazed at how much work they put into making it something special for us. We played games, made picture frames, took pictures, sang songs, it was awesome.
     I was so touched and appreciative of all the effort they took to say 'thank you' to us. (Or 'gracias,' in this case.)

     For Impact Ministries' annual Night of Worship, we performed the dance with the highschool girls, "Thank you, Senor." It went well. We did some of our other dances, too. There were quite a few other dramas and dances done by the Chijacorral teachers. It was very cool. One drama, I've seen Open Air Ministries in Alberta do one very similar- same idea, but different music and details. One very different part was when they encorporated a witch doctor. (They portrayed it as being a bad thing, of course.)
     After all the presentations, it was just worship led by local bands. Some songs I knew the English to, which was cool. We left halfway through, which was too bad.

One very interesting thing Iwanted to talk about was when we visited the Catholic Church up on the mountain. We weren't there for a service, but instead just to listen to Les tell us what it was all about. 

     The church was named 'Shishim,' was was the statue of Jesus inside. We found out that Shishim is the name of the Guatemalan corn god. =( They mix up Catholic rituals with witchcraft ones. Just outside the church was a stone cross. At first, I thought nothing of it. But I then came to realize it was witchcraft. There were feathers stuck all over it, and a candly burning in front of it. There were also several broken beer bottles lying around.
     There was another statue beside the cross- I don't know what it was. But it also had the feathers, the candle, and it had leafy branches, which had to do with some sort of witchcraft ritual.
     It was sad, seeing the cheerful faces of so many lost Guatemalans. They are on death row if they don't leave those ways. Apparently there's also a lot of witchcraft inside the church.

      I had always thought that if I ever came up close with witchcraft, I would be scared. I would maybe feel something weird inside me. But, i was sitting out in the sun, just a hundred feet from a very prominent witchcraft structure, and I felt nothing. Of course, I was ignorant to it- I didn't know what it was. But even after we were told... I felt fine. I realized that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world, and we don't have to be afraid. We are more than conquerers because of Jesus Christ. Even in a demon-saturated, dark place- when we, who have the Holy Spirit, step foot near there, the demonic spirits are the ones that have to move aside, not us. Our God is mighty, and if He is for us, then NOTHING can stand against us!

     I will leave off on that note. My hand is cramping pretty badly, and we are soon to land in Calgary. We are almost home. I have a lot of memories and lessons recorded in this journal, and someay soon I will pour over it all. But for now, I come to our journey's end. Our mission's trip is now over.

           Oh wait, no.
     It's just about to begin!