Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We're here! After a very early start, and a change at Houston, the mission team to Guatemala landed in Guatemala City at around 11am local time (one hour behind Chicago). The welcome was as warm as we had been led to expect; and, for those who came last year and for new delegates alike, it was very welcome after the strains of travel.

Guatemala is a beautiful country, full of rainforest, mountains and beautiful green scenery. Guatemala City bears the architectural mark of its Spanish colonial past; on the way to the Sister Parish Center, we passed the Supreme Court, Presidential Palace and cathedral. We'll have more time for sightseeing later in our stay.

Most of Tuesday was spent getting to know our hosts, and being prepared for what will await us here. After two days of orientation, we'll move to our host families at UPAVIM on Friday. More than anything else, Guatemala's 36-year long civil war looms over the country. It ended just 12 years ago, and devastated the people and economy. On Wednesday, we shall be driving out to Rabinal, a small town in the countryside, to learn about this tragic history, and visit the site of a massacre, just one event in a genocidal policy towards the indigenous Mayan people instigated by the Guatemalan government during the war. We expect it to be a humbling experience, as we remember both our own comfort, and the extent to which Western governments have supported such barbaric acts.

Please hold us in your prayers, as we begin a stay that promises both to uplift us and to alter our perspectives.

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