A Taste of Guatemala
It’s a very special memory looking back at the small group united in something so important, despite incredibly different backgrounds.
Last October, Sis. Martha Osborn and I had the privilege of joining my parents on their yearly trip to Guatemala. It was our first time traveling outside North America, so we were very excited but unsure of what to expect since neither of us knew how to speak Spanish.
We arrived early in the afternoon on Thursday and were greeted at the airport by Israel, who is currently studying for baptism. He took us to his home, where we met his wife, Sis. Victoria, and spent the afternoon talking and touring around the city.
The next morning our hosts had thoughtfully made and delivered breakfast to our hotel room—chuchitos, small Guatemalan tamales. Though entirely different from our North American version of breakfast, it was quite good! We spent the next hour or so exploring the city and then hopped on a bus with some other brothers, sisters, family, and friends and made the hour-long drive to Antigua.
There we explored the old buildings and streets, Guatemalan shops, beautiful scenery, and enjoyed a “typical” Guatemalan lunch. We were already starting to love the food, mostly because of the fresh tortillas provided with anything and everything you might eat. Our bus driver even spent the day touring with us, and Bro. Encarnación seemed to have a very interesting conversation with him about the Truth over lunch.
On Saturday, we had scheduled two Bible classes in the afternoon. My dad led the classes as we sat in a circle in the courtyard of Israel and Victoria’s home. One was on King Manasseh, and the other on the Memorial emblems. There were just over ten of us there.
As it got dark, we had to devise some interesting ways to light the space. For someone used to the typical buildings and setups we have in Canada, this way of meeting in the open air somehow felt more genuine. Martha and I were sadly unable to understand the classes, though we did try using Google Translate’s real-time translation.
It mostly led to us trying not to laugh at the poor translation. Instead, we spent the time reading or working on our own studies. After the classes, as Martha and I were sitting around wondering what to do (it’s amazing how lacking communication can weigh on you after a few days), the son of Bro. Jaime and Sis. Karla introduced himself.
He was about our age, and we could have some basic conversation using Google Translate, which was really exciting. After the classes, we went out as a group to dinner, where we were able to fit in a bit better with everyone there. One sister’s husband joined us for dinner and could speak fluent English. He made sure to sit by us and help us have further conversations with the others there.
Sunday was our last full day. We ate at Pollo Campero for breakfast for the third day in a row, and attended Sunday School and the Memorial service (Bro. Jaime, who was visiting from El Salvador, gave the exhortation). We then went out with the group to Pollo Campero (again) for lunch. We returned to the home of Israel and Sis. Victoria, and spent the afternoon talking (or trying to). We then spent an hour singing hymns.
It’s a very special memory looking back at the small group united in something so important, despite incredibly different backgrounds. The next morning a sister offered to drive us to the airport, and we were on our way home again. It was an incredible experience, seeing a different culture, meeting new brothers and sisters, and seeing how they live. As I’m sure many trips like this show, it was amazing to see how the Truth can bring together people with very different backgrounds.
Brant County Ecclesia, ON