The Agua Viva team was jarred out of its REM sleep last night as an Earthquake hit Guatemala. The quake measured 5.1 on the Richter scale but was fortunately centered in a distant part of the country so we only felt the outer effects. Rumors are that Doris McAfee, the senior leader of the trip arose from bed faster than she has in forty years! Her roommate Suzie Williams said she was immediately positioned in the doorway. The event lasted for less than half a minute so by the time we were awakened, we were settling back down. On a serious note, please pray that there was no significant damage in the area and that our paths over the next few days won’t be obstructed.
Well, at least we don’t have tornadoes to worry about. 🙂
Today marked the day that we started producing pure water at Eglesia Eben Ezer. After a few leak fixes, the system was turned on and run through its paces for initial cleaning, purging, and official production! We had an impromptu celebration to taste the ozone-laden purity.
The teaching teams also had a banner day as the newly trained adult leaders conducted classes themselves under the supervision of the water team teachers. They ran through several day care classes in both the morning and afternoon sessions. We also have the privilege of having Raquel Paz Pom and her friend Wendy who conducted dental classes on tooth brushing and gave fluoride treatments to about 60 children. Raquel will also be traveling with the team to Ecuador and she has been such a blessing to the effort here.
We’re looking forward to a day of producing bottled water tomorrow and conducting a site visit to a future potential installation. The team finally got together this morning for a group photo, so we’ll leave you with that for today.
Elder Mejia is a baker in San Jose Chicalquix and he gave us a grand tour of his bakery. Today, he became one of our volunteer adult leaders for Agua Viva International and he said he was very excited about spreading the Pure and Living Waters. We had 9 community leaders in our training classes. Doris McAfee, Nancy Allen, and Raquel Poz Diaz. We all had a great time learning about germs and parasites.
With each additional installation, we not only gain more brothers in Christ, but the complexity of managing all the responsibilities of follow-up and new site visits increases. Trying to manage a total of five location visits this trip presented a new challenge. So, Sunday brought about a change in plans. Since the progress on the system installation was ahead of schedule, we were able to schedule an official visit to last year’s site– Huerto de Getsemani.This meant that we would attend worship service at our current site– Eglesia Eben Ezer– and then in the afternoon we would worship again with our brothers at Huerto!
So the day began with the bone jarring ride to Eben Ezer where we were treated as guests of honor. Jim said a few words before the Pastor’s sermon and then Raquel Paz Pom (Jacinto’s daughter from Colegio Mark– a dental student), Suzie Williams, and Mike Springer gave testimonies about their involvement with Agua Viva.
We had a little time to do some preparatory work for the water education effort starting tomorrow and the rest of the group got involved with fellowship with the local community. Then we jumped on the bus and headed to Worship II at Huerto. Think about the prospect of your church (Colonial in our case) announcing in the Sunday morning service that they were having a special service that afternoon for guests from out of town. What do you expect the attendance would be? Well, we worshiped this afternoon, the entire water team gave testimonies, and then we were greeted by a reception line that would rival the largest wedding that you’ve ever attended!
Our friends at Huerto had a coffee reception for us after the service and the “elders” from both parties met for some official business while the rest of the team again enjoyed relationship building with the community!
You would think that this would have amounted to a pretty laid-back day, but if you judge it based on the universal fatigue that permeated the team at dinner tonight, you would think we were digging trenches all day. It was without a doubt emotional fatigue from the sheer amount of hearts that were poured out and shared through the day’s activities.
We’ve certainly laid our footprints in Guatemala and been blessed by the opportunity to be God’s hands and feet, but as we shared with our Guatemalan brothers and sisters today; even though they’ve received the benefits of our work, we’ve truly been the ones who have received the most from the relationship.
Saturday felt like Monday at Eglesia Evangelica Presbiteriana Eben Ezer as the elders and deacons hit a home run with the level of preparation and work completed prior to our arrival.
When we loaded the bus to return to Cantel around 5, we were already filling the raw water tank! The education team met all afternoon and got their program lined out. The installation team split into different areas and supervised teams from Eben Ezer as the board, tanks, and sink started coming together quickly.
Sunday will likely see us finish the system installation which (knock on wood) will allow us to spend the week on visits to our other sites, and building relationships in the community.
Today was also a day of statistics, thanks to D.C. Freemyer, who tracked our bus ride back from the village on his iPhone app. Eben Ezer is about an hour and a half from the hotel in Cantel, but it’s not as far as it sounds when you hear the stats. Our total distance traveled was only 22 miles! Our average speed traveled on a pot hole-filled stop-and-start journey was a little over 17 miles per hour!
The application also tracked elevation so we now know our hotel is at 7,622′. The highest elevation we hit, which was a little before the church, is 9,079′.
Today the rest of the team arrived safely and despite a missing bag (long story), we got out of Guatemala City and within 90 minutes were entering the gates at Casa Angelina.
The advance team spent Thursday at the orphanage and had lots of wonderful stories of the goings on here due to the efforts of What Matters Ministries and Missions. The stories of the kids are heartbreaking but the results of this first class effort at repairing them physically, emotionally, and spiritually can only be a God thing. We spent an hour or so getting a quick tour and a lot of hugs. Agua Viva is in dialogue with Casa Angelina as a site for a future installation.
We’ll stop back to continue the conversation on our way back to Guate City next Friday.
For now, we’re preparing for tomorrow’s efforts on the new system installation at Iglesia Eben Ezer. Dinner at Hotel del Campo is complete and Jim’s inspirational devotional about Purity and a proposal for a new common definition of the word was well received.
Jeff, Susan, D.C., and Jacob are on the ground in Guatemala according to Jeff’s wife, Diane. The rest of the team leaves at the crack of dawn tomorrow (Fri) from Kansas City. As usual, the last-minute cross checks are happening and the engineers are fretting about whether they accounted for the right number of the right type of parts to put everything together. Below is an example of how our technical-minded leaders inventory suitcases!
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Casa Angelina supplies for the orphanage we’re getting introduced to this trip as a prospect for a 2013 site installation. We ended up with four full-sized suitcases stuffed full to the 50lb. limit.
We’ll try to keep in touch as much as Internet connectivity and time allow, so stay tuned. If you navigate to the comments section of this post, you can opt to ‘subscribe’ and get email updates of new posts so you don’t have to go looking for them. Thank you for your continued prayers for God’s work to be done.
Prayer warriors unite and keep our advance team on your list. Half of the Agua Viva team heading to Guatemala for the Iglesia Eben Ezer purification system installation will be leaving tomorrow to do advance work and relationship building at the Casa Angelina orphanage about an hour outside of Guate City.
Be praying for their safe travel and uneventful passage to their destination. Jeff Rommel, D.C. Freemeyer, Susan Williams, and Jeff’s son Jacob will be performing site selection work for Casa Angelina, which is a 2013 site candidate. It will be our first visit there and a chance to meet many who we’ve interacted with only by phone or email.
The rest of the team leaves Friday and will pick this group up on the way to Cantel.
We’ll continue to blog trip updates throughout the next 10 days or so, so stay tuned.