January 21, 2012

Guatemala: The journey begins



Well, today is the day! We’re off and flying to El Mundo Maya – The World of the Mayans! Destination: San Benito, Petén, Guatemala where we will live for the next two weeks while we work at Hospital Shalom.

I thought you might enjoy seeing some maps in today’s post to help you visualize our journey and connect with where we are as I share about the trip in the days ahead.


The first map makes us feel rather close to home, doesn’t it?

KC to GU worldview


InCountry view GU to Flores
The blue shadow to the right of the Point [B] marker above is Lago Petén-Itza – or Lake Petén-Itza, which I’ve zeroed in for you in the next map.

In 1697, on one of the islands in this very lake, a brutal and bloody battle occurred as Spanish Conquistadors fought and destroyed the last remaining stronghold of the Itza, a Mayan people group.


This is where we are headed. 
To the cradle of the Ancient Mayan Civilization!


Lago Peten Itza


The next map shows the island where Hospital Shalom is located  Isla de Flores just off the shore of San Benito, where artisans have shops to sell authentic, Guatemalan handcrafted items.  Each day we’ll traverse the causeway from the mainland to our work site at the hospital compound. The Hospital is located outside San Benito at "Kilometer 7 on the Road to San Jose."

Island of Flores

Right now, I really… REALLY wish I had paid better attention in my Spanish classes since that’s the official language of Guatemala.

Unfortunately, my version of Spanish would likely be of little benefit with over 25 Native Amerindian tribes and 31 distinct Mayan dialects in use throughout a country whose land mass is slightly smaller than Tennessee. Many people are bi-lingual Spanish & tribal dialect, but the language differences are significant enough that one group cannot communicate with another – sometimes from one village to the next -- even though their languages look and sound similar.
God, what is your heart for this nation? Where are you working? Open our eyes to see your hand, to sense your Spirit moving, and to feel your heart for the greater work you are accomplishing. Give us the words and actions to convey your love in spite of our limited verbal abilities in this context. Love your people through us. Love us through your people.

Tomorrow our work begins.

~De


Today’s Prayer Points:
  1. Good rest, and good health for the team 
  2. Refreshed spirits, and hearts awakened and alert to God’s purpose
  3. For God’s work to flourish among the Guatemalan peoples of the Peten jungle





References:
  1. http://www.native-languages.org/guatemala.htm
  2. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gt.html
  3. http://mayanarchaeology.tripod.com/id12.html
Photo Credits: Google Maps

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