What a busy day! You know, since Guatemala is relatively close to the equator, day and night are pretty much the same all year. Dawn and nightfall are at the same time all through the year, they aren't shortened or lengthened in accordance with the changing of the seasons. (Woah, that sounded smart.)
Because of this, Guatemalans rise and head to sleep at around the same time each day, and it's different than us.
A regular wake-up time is 5-5:30am. A regular bedtime for everyone is 8 or 9pm. That's earlier than North America on both accounts. Last night I was SO tired by 6:30pm.When Jasmine told me we would go to Les and Rita Peters' house for dessert, I apprehensively asked how late we would stay. She gave me a worrisome look and said, "Oh, we're usually there til really late." I groaned and asked when exactly.
"Oh, some times we stay till 9 or 10!" I couldn't help but chuckle. 10pm is considered early among my peers.
This morning we went to another school- it was junior high and elementary, so it was neat seeing how the locals my age worship God. It was so cool- at one point, they all got on their knees and bowed! Even the boys who looked to be at least 12-14 years old were down on their hands and knees. Some had their arms raised above their heads and they were all singing so loudly.
The dances went well over all. The tile floor was super duper slippery- very dangerous. But the kids were so attentive, it was so fun.
Right away we went back to the DVBS school, and we taught 8 high school girls a dance. I felt so loved because right at the beginning, Mrs. Yourk told them to find a partner, and like 3 of them started talking and bolted to me and gravved onto me, wanting me to be their partner. I eventually ended up being partners with a beautiful Guatemalan girl named Ana. Later, another girl came named Deborah, so she was my partner, too. They showed us some of their Guatemalan dances using tambourines and ribbons. It was awesome!
Dari, Jasemine, Claudia, Kimberly, Norwellia, Hilton, Hoyhay, Louven????, Wendi, Ezael. These are the names of the Guatemalan children from San Antonio that were put in my group. I love them beyond words, but it will be surprising if I ever get to see them again. I hugged all 80 of the children today. Hilton had so many scars on his face, I hope they weren't from a person....
I just don't know how many of them have experienced love- humanly love. Of course they have in their school and church, but how many from home? I adored each and every one of them.
We played games together, they loved seeing us dance for them. We got to take them on a teensy-weensy treasure hunt to find a single candy- one small candy per child. It did my heart good to see their faces when they found their own candy. Little 4-year-old Horhay, who already had only a couple teeth left, didn't know where to find one, and when I showed him where one was, he gave it to me! I gave it right back so he would know that it was for him, and he gave me the hugest grin I had ever seen. He grabbed my arm, and all the way back to the chapel building he just wouldn't stop giggling! He held his candy, and wouldn't stop looking at it, laughing the whole while. Occasionally, he would glance up at me, his huge dark chocolate eyes just beaming with thankfulness.
It makes me so angry to think of the 7-9 year olds back home. When we have a pinata, for example, the first few candies fall, and the kids dive for them like greedy monkeys who have never eaten before. It's maddening! Then, if they see someone with more candy with them, the tantrums. Whining, fussing, pointing, grabbing. It's all so stupid!
Norwellia and Ezael wouldn't let go of me. They are just thet sweetest things, but I really wanted to be certain that the children didn't get the impression that I was 'favouring' some of them. So I stroked all of them, hugged them, squeezed their shoulders, I just wanted so badly to show them the love that Christ has given me. In Canada, I would have looked like the Dorkiest weirdo ever. But you know what? Who cares what they say? If Jesus loved unconditionally and looked crazy, I will be crazy, too!
The most amazing part was when we prayed. They all lowered down so low. What I love is that these children are taught- they are brought up to know that ecstatic worship is wonderful. No half-hearted prayers, oh no. They are taught how to worship and pray, and that it IS cool!
When we pray in Canada, we just bow are heads and listen to one person pray. There, when one person prays, everyone prays. Every person starts whispering and murmuring their own prayers with their hands raised. Some kneel down, others stand. They ALL pray together! So when they prayed for me, they put their hands on me and all started whispering prayers in Spanish at the same time. I was so touched. To keep it together, I just started praying for them. I went around the circle and touched each one of them and prayed: "Gracias, Senor, por _________" and put in their names. That means, "Thank you, Lord, for.... Claudia, Wendi, Horhay..."
We went to someone's house for supper- we made the corn dough, rolled it into tortillas, put in some cheese, pressed it into a perogie, and then deep fried them. We put sour crout, salsa, and super spicy sauce on.
The Mrs. gave us her testimony, and we met her miracle child- Jennifer. Alicia (Al-ee-see-ya, the wife) was apparently barren for 8 years. It was like the women in the bible. Sarah, Rachel, Elizabeth... but then, after feeling sick for 3 months, she went to the doctors' but she didn't want to go in to have her hopes shattered again. But when she worked up the courage to go in, she found out that she was 3 months pregnant!
I forgot to mention her dream before those three months. There was a shining white man at the top of a hill. She ran up to him and begged him for a baby. He handed her a sheep and told her, "Take care of this lamb." She left, still carrying the lamb. Her friend firmly believed that Alicia would bear a child. That was Jennifer. I touched her.
I touched a miracle today.