LAMP LIGHT MISSIONS- 2 WEEKS IN
September 20, 2017
With only 2.5hrs of sleep, on September 6th, we got the kids up at 5:30am to make our way to the airport. There were many last-minute things to tend to on the 5th, including maintenance items on our two properties! Thank you to my sister, Amy, and our great friend, Milena, for getting up well before they needed, to meet us at the airport that morning! And thank you, to Mary and Pat for being our taxi, we know it wasn’t easy to say goodbye on that morning.
We landed in Guatemala City to the warm humid air we expected. What a strange feeling it was knowing that we had landed with no returning tickets in hand. Getting through customs was a breeze until we realized that we couldn’t find our luggage receipts. THEY WERE IN THE COMPUTER BAG…. Still on the plane! One of us would have to run back through the security check point, through customs, up the ramp to the jet-way and try to find it. Fortunately, it was sitting at the end of the jet-way, just outside the plane. After talking to 4 or 5 Delta employees in terrible Spanish, they finally let us take the computer. Great start, huh?
We were picked up from the airport and welcomed “home” by fellow missionary, Mark Vaillancourt. He’s taken us under his wing and helped us get acclimated, get a cell phone, bank account, internet, a home, not to mention been a chauffer since our car didn’t ship until the same day we flew down. So… yeah… the car! Well, it shipped out of Gulfport, MS on the 6th and arrived into Port Santo Tomas on the 9th. I believe we have been on the phone with the customs agent daily since then. Still no car. We have learned that Guatemala must have been founded by a guy named Murphy…. The same Murphy who made the law that if something can happen… it will happen. For example… to import a car you need to have a tax ID number, or NIT. We got the NIT a month before moving down. When the port tried to run our NIT for their records, my address was missing. So we had to make another trip to town to get it added. The following day they ran it again… nothing! No address found! Add to this a national holiday and a citizen protest of the government (today) to delay things a few more days, and it brings us to possibly getting the car ready for pickup before the 22nd! PRAISE THE LORD.
It’s been an interesting transition. In the first 72 hours, our daughter had her shoes taken by a dog, we endured a 8.0 earthquake in the night, and had to go on a spider killing frenzy. Since our things haven’t arrived yet, we have been living at the orphanage. We live in one room with 4 beds and tin roof. Its rainy season, so it pretty much rains everyday, especially in the evening. It is so loud on that tin roof that sometimes, you just can’t talk to anyone without yelling at them. Of course, we have kids, so we may have been “speaking loudly” anyway! The kids have had their moments, especially the first few days. More than once, we heard, “I wanna go home.” But, they are settling in and getting used to our new life. Finally starting school helped them. They love their new school. It takes quite a while to get there, so we have to get them up at 5:30 to make it to the bus by 7 each morning. We eat the majority of our meals with the kids here; a steady diet of black beans, tortillas, and either eggs or hot dogs. We had green beans the other night and it was like Christmas! Im not sure why they make oatmeal like a drink, but I still can’t do it.
Our container is at the port and should be ready to come out in a few days. When it comes, we can finally move into our permanent housing. We visit the house occasionally and dream about having our own space. God has blessed us with having three American missionary families living in the same community we will be in. We look forward to getting to know them, learning from their experiences, as well as seeing what ministries they support. In addition to that, we’ve made friends with another missionary couple who provide counseling to the children here at Casa Shalom. They have already invited us to join them in putting on a church service for a Catholic orphanage in a neighboring village.
We have started to ease into driving the orphanage vans. All but one are manual transmissions, so its been interesting getting used to driving on these crazy roads. You never know where a car or motorcycle could come from, and occasionally you have to purposefully hit one pot hole in order to avoid the much bigger pot hole! Seems like everything is a one way road here, so passing up your location and finding a turnaround later down the road is common. Though we haven’t yet experienced it, its common to sit for hours in traffic to go only a few miles. Melissa is taking over the orphanage pharmacy management. Rob is learning how the orphanage’s infrastructure functions, getting to know the workers, and what projects are soon to be underway. We have been “in training” I guess you could say… learning where to go for things and how things work here. Communication has been a challenge at times. We have been doing our own Spanish studying, but its clear that we need a tutor to help us.
Thank you to our donors for being with us a making sure that we able to get here and get our feet underneath us. Soon we will be planning and working with some teams that are coming down. Keep us in your prayers and we will update again soon! God Bless!