Background: Work has been insane for the last 2 months so I haven't really had any time to blog. My church decided to go support a ministry advocated for by Advancing Native Missions and my brother and I decided to go along.
Punta de Palma, Guatemala is a lovely spot - we're right next to the water (Amatique Bay) which I adore. The grounds at El Faro are impeccable, they have about 15 men on the base (for lack of a more adequate term) who take care of the maintenance. It's a huge place with many facilities to keep in tip-top shape.
Our journey here included everything except a train, so it was more like "Planes, Boats, and Automobiles". We met at the church at 2:30am Saturday morning (read: I didn't sleep for 30+ hours) and headed to the airport for our flight to Houston. We had a rather tight connection there, but by God's grace we managed to meet up with Joann and get to our gate on time. Joann works with Advancing Native Missions and was joining us for the week as the 16th member of our group. Once we arrived in Honduras and cleared customs and immigration we met David & John, 2 of the missionaries working at El Faro. We loaded up our plethora of luggage, hopped into our van and bus, and were on the road. After a short stop at the border crossing into Guatemala we soon arrived in Puerto Barrios, the town in the region where we were staying and the spot where we would catch our boat. The sun was low on the horizon by the time we arrived and the mountains were to our left, it was a lovely welcome. The ride was short, 15 min or so to the base, and many of the destinations we visited throughout the week were more easily accessible by boat than land, so we came to be well acquainted with the dock, our boat & captain.
On our first full day we helped the missionaries do their home visits and food distribution, which I believe they do every 3-4 weeks. They distribute a small amount of food, as supplemental only, to elderly people mostly. Our group split up and went in opposite directions, each visiting about 4 homes. My first stop was at the home of an elderly woman who is the caregiver for her 3 granddaughters and her mother. Katie (the missionary) visits nearly every week and you could tell she had been building a relationship with them. The mission helps tutor some of her granddaughters as well and they were excited to celebrate a recent graduation (it's not common for girls to reach the higher stages of education in this area of Guatemala). There was also an elderly man to whom we gave food as well; he's homeless but local families sometimes allow him to live on their property in exchange for some work. He's praying for land to call his own; it's not that land is expensive, but someone has to be willing to sell some of theirs. In the afternoon we were able to help with the Sunday School Programs they have, called "Exploradores". Our team was able to help with crafts and game time. Some of the children have now become the leaders and are teaching the next generation, exactly as God intended.