The team has arrived safely at our destination in Santa Cruz del Quiche. Our traveling has been thankfully uneventful with smooth sailing at the airport and thorugh customs. The drive from the airport in Guatemala City to Santa Cruz was easy with no unexpected stops.
(For those who may not have access to news in Latin America, a popular Argentinian musician was killed early Saturday morning in Guatemala City. While there was increased military and police presence in the City, we were uneffected by this event and we are far removed from the City now.)
With regards to our travel day, the only unusual thing that the team encountered was a very loud and joyous party celebrating a wedding. This party was taking place in the lobby and all of the hotel could hear the music and feel the vibrations. Interestingly – part of the building had the electricity diverted to support the music and accompanying light display. For those wondering, no electricity also means no water because the pumps were off. Not to worry though – this team has packed plenty of flexibility and didn’t let a minor thing like this bother us.
After a wonderful dinner at La Martita (thank you, Onelly), we returned to find the wedding reception winding down only to have a quincinera beginning upstairs which was sure to be even louder. With swiftness and poise, we immediately shifted our evening schedule to start Reflection right away as led by Deacon Dennis & Fr. Alfonso even as the music was getting louder with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday en espanol halfway through Deacon Dennis opening comments.
The team didn’t complain a peep, but instead rejoiced in the life celebrations around us. After Reflection, the team completed its duties in getting organized for the next day and putting all of the ActionPackers away efficiently.
Now here comes the interesting part and where we’re already seeing God’s humor and love at work. With the chores complete for the evening, part of the team convened in the hall way to practice their music for the mission. Normally, the mission team is expected to be quiet when in public areas or their rooms. Yet, tonight was unusual with all of the parties and celebrations at the hotel.
As the team practiced their music, some other hotel guests begun coming out of their rooms and decided to join the mission team with the singing and dancing. Many little kids and their parents didn’t hesitate to participate and turn the practice into fun. (Note: videos to follow once uploaded.)
After several, several songs and dancing and laughter, a couple of mission team members spoke with the families. As it turns out, these families are visiting Santa Cruz from the rural communities because their children are going through cancer treatment. Here the team was just having a good time and some kids decided to join in because it looked like a lot of fun, but in truth, this was God reminding us that the mission has begun.
We were told that the children are leading a parade on Sunday to raise funds for their cancer treatment. While the families invited us to the parade, we won’t be able to attend as we have Mass and reception at the same. The families will be here during our stay so we look forward to learning more about their circumstances and praying on how we can assist them.
The mission team does ask that when you are praying for us during this year’s trip, please include these children and their families in your prayers as well. Tonight, they reminded us about the importance of finding joy in unexpected places while we open our hearts and minds to God’s presence.