Guatemala 2011

The following are the journal entries from my trip to Peten, Guatemala from July 23 through July 30, 2011.

Visit Jim and Shelley Dinsmore’s blog for pictures and more fun stuff about the trip!

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July 23, 2011 – 10:12 p.m. (Guatemala time)

The Colonel and I started the day at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita around 5:00 a.m. We had no trouble getting boarding passes (except that I booked his under Dave instead of David). We had no difficulty in security. We had no flight delays. And even TACA had all their ducks in a row, which is the first time that I have ever seen such a thing happen. I’m going to travel with the Colonel again. He’s good luck.

The layover in Guatemala City was long, though. Next time there will be a sooner flight to Flores available.

We arrived in Flores around 7:30 p.m. Guatemala doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time so we’re running an hour behind the folks at home.

Jim and Shelley and the boys met us along with Intern Jay Brown. He seems like a really nice guy. He didn’t mind when Colonel kept calling him Jeff. And he seems to get on well with Jonah and Silas. So he must be pretty cool if the cutest twins in the world like him.

We got to eat Pollo Campero for dinner (yum!) and hit the new grocery store for breakfast goods. I brought peanut butter with me so the only thing I picked up was Coca-Cola Light and string cheese. Colonel got cookies to eat with his morning coffee (which I actually ended up eating too).

Now we’re installed happily in our own little bungalows at the hotel near El Chal. And so far I’ve swatted three mosquitoes and smashed a cricket inside. But I’ve decided to leave the spiders in the bathroom, as they’re not hurting anything. Maybe they’ll munch on some mosquitoes for me.

I think this trip is going to be amazing. So far, the plan is to spend Monday planning and rehearsing. Tomorrow, though, we’re going to go to Poptun to the Kekchi church plant pastored by Mateo. I’m eager to hear the language spoken out loud. So far, I’ve only heard single words.

We are picking corn with Lico tomorrow, which will be fun. Although . . . it means going back into New Horizon, which hasn’t happened since the last time I was here in March 2010. So that could be very interesting. We’ll see what happens.

I’m about to fall asleep as I’m writing this, so I’d better go to bed. Jay’s making coffee at 8:00 o’clock tomorrow morning so I will write more once I have some caffeine in my system.

July 24, 2011 – 7:50 a.m.

Well I’ve been up since 5:30 a.m. and Colonel and I have covered the whole hotel property. I’ve been taking pictures, and we’ve been enjoying our time in the zoo area behind the hotel. They have deer and a coyote and three male lions. They used to have an ostrich and a tapir, and I’m not sure where they have gone. We also found a cage of birds—a parrot and macaws and this weird guinea looking thing that puffed up huge and growled. The parrot could say “Hola!” really loudly. It was cute the first six times and then it got old.

There’s also a large group of men here today making a loud ruckus. Apparently it’s election time over here so a lot of the political groups are running around having rallies and such, but it’s not even 8:00 a.m. Seems awful early for a political rally. They’re really loud.

I have to say, though, that I can’t believe how nice the weather is. It must be 70 degrees! Granted, the humidity is nuts. Air you can wear. I’m already soaked, but it’s nothing compared to home. I think Wichita may hit 106 again today.

But Colonel and I are debating about breaking into Jay’s bungalow to steal the coffee pot. We’re going to have to move our coffee date up because waiting till 8:00 a.m. for a pot of coffee the whole week isn’t happening. =)

<lovely page covered in scribbles when Silas got a hold of my journal during church>

July 24, 2011 – 9:15 p.m.

No matter how many mosquitoes I kill in my room, they keep reappearing. Oh, well. I drank amoeba water today too so I can just add another opportunity for illness into my already staggering docket. But I’ve got lots of drugs and I’m 100% confident that even if I get sick, God will have a purpose for it. So I’m not really concerned.

Today was really busy. And the weather—wow! Gorgeous! Probably didn’t get above 80. The humidity is wild but it’s still beautiful. After Colonel and I invaded Jay’s room for coffee, we met Jim and Shelley and the boys to go down to Poptun for church. Jim and Shelley have been working with Pastor Mateo with this Kekchi church plant since last December. They have purchased land and are trying to raise funds to build a building. We all got up to introduce ourselves. Jay went first.

We learned today that Jay is a native of Ohio but that his family moved to North Carolina seven years ago. Jay is 21. Once there, since they lived in a Hispanic area, Jay learned Spanish on the street. And pretty soon he began feeling God calling him into missions. That’s how he ended up here with Jim and Shelley. He’ll be returning permanently after he completes his deputation (and after he gets married, so says Jim; because all the little Guatemalan girls think he’s really cute).

I went next to give my testimony and tried to keep from making an idiot out of myself. Pastor Mateo asked me to sing, though! Alone! Yikes! I was totally up for it but Jimmy thought we should all sing together. So he picked a song the church knew (“I Have a Friend in Jesus”) and we sang the first verse and chorus in English and they sang the second verse and chorus in Kekchi. Between the five of us, we each knew one lyric of the song so it worked out. =)

We’ve also been picking up some Kekchi. For example, bantiox (pronounced bahn-tee-OSH) is thank you. And we also learned the Colonel means Savior. We discovered this when the Colonel was giving his testimony. We’re going to have to be careful how we introduce him in the villages! We don’t want the Kekchi thinking He’s Jesus! Lol! The Colonel did some fancy talking, though, to tell the people in the Poptun church that he wasn’t the Savior but that he knew Him. It was really funny.

A Brief Introduction to the Colonel

I guess I’d better take a moment and explain who the Colonel is for those of you who don’t know him. The Colonel’s real name is Dave Borg, and I’ve known him for years and years. He was a youth worker when I was in high school and he’s become a very close friend. Well, before he was a youth worker he went on a mission’s trip with our youth pastor and also with Jim to Equatorial Guinea, the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa. And I’m not sure how it happened, but the Colonel was certain that on their list of supplies to take into the jungle was a frozen chicken. Now, I’m not sure what was funnier—that Colonel thought the team needed a frozen chicken in the jungle . . . or that he actually managed to find a frozen chicken AND a cooler in Equatorial Guinea! So after that (which turned out to be the best meal the team ate in the African jungle), everyone just called him the Colonel, like Colonel Sanders.

Once we finished in Poptun (and drank amoeba-infested orange-flavored Kool-Aid), we came back and ate at a restaurant called Gil-Town. I hadn’t eaten there before, but it was really good! Apparently they have great Chinese food too, but we all got a big plate of meats to share. Very tasty!

Then we took a break for a little while. I took a nap. I admit it. Then Jim came to get us and we had coffee at their house and talked about the puppet skit. I think it’s going to well. I worked pretty closely with Jim and Shelley to write it so that it would be relevant to the Kekchi people. After that we went to the store to pick up supplies for the props (paint and poster board). Then, we ate at Villa Maya. The first time I was in Guatemala in 2007, we ate at a place called Maya Internaccional. Super swanky. Well, Villa Maya is owned by the father of the guy who owns Maya Internaccional. So it was doubly super swanky. It was on a lake that has crocodiles in it, even though none of them came up to visit. And I got a papaya liquado!! I was such a happy camper!!

The guys from Xela should be arriving around 3:00 a.m. and we are all meeting here around 8:30 a.m. to start working on the skits. They are bringing a guy named Levi with them, one of the Spanish students in Xela who hails from Texas. Jim and Shelley have no idea who he is so they’ve been concocting ideas about what he’ll be like. At the moment, he’s Amish. So we’ll see if he actually is.

I had forgotten how green everything is here. It really is a jungle. The highways are bumpy and winding and they cut through little towns with no warning. You can just be flying down the road and a guy on a donkey will just pop right up in front of you.

Oh, and Colonel has decided that I lack compassion. I told him how TACA has always overbooked their flights in the past and I wasn’t ever willing to spend an extra night in Guatemala City so that other people (“crippled old ladies” he said) could go in my place. So he’s trying to teach me how to be compassionate. I think that’s funny coming from him. =)

There actually is a water park at this hotel. It’s massive. We were talking to Jim because Colonel wanted to know how these places can stay in business. Jim says that a lot of the upper class Guatemalans got their fortunes through their inheritances. In some cases, their ancestors were the ones who did well with the Spaniards who conquered Guatemala. These families are so wealthy that even the wealthiest Americans can’t comprehend how much money they have. So they build extravagant hotels and resorts that few people come to and it doesn’t matter if they never make a profit because they have more money than they can ever spend.

Okay, well my penmanship is beginning to resemble the scribbles Silas made in my journal this morning during Pastor Mateo’s sermon so I’d better sign off.

July 25, 2011 – 11:40 a.m.

We just finished rehearsal and I’m very pleased. The guys from Xela are great! They made it here safely around 5:30 a.m., and they’re a lot of fun. Really good sports. The puppet skit looks great, and the wordless skit is funny but punchy. Just the way it’s supposed to be.

Nehemias is the one staying in Jay’s room. He is a Kechqal, which is another group of indigenous Guatemalans, like the Kekchi. He joined me, Colonel and Jay for Bible study this morning. He’s funny and outgoing. He’s also missing the thumb and index finger on his right hand from a farming accident, but you can hardly tell. Someone actually had to point it out to me before I noticed—but then I really don’t pay attention to things like that anyway.

Andres is the one who knows a bit of English. Spanglish, he says. He’s sharp and pretty much a ham. He’s the sinner in “The Sin Chair” skit. I was so pleased to find a Guatemalan who knows how to act down here!

Juan, Andres’s brother, is quiet and reserved, but I get the feeling he’s a very deep thinker. He’s very engaged in everything around him and he pays really close attention. He has a nice smile.

Then Levi is our stray gringo who tagged along. He’s from Dallas and has been living in Guatemala for a year. He’s not Amish . . . but funny enough that’s what the others have nicknamed him. He’s very nice, and I have always been partial to the Texan accent.

They’re a good group. They caught on fast. It was interesting to note, though, that none of them knew anything about the Kekchi.

Shelley’s making lunch, and Jim and Colonel went to get water. We’re all meeting up again for lunch and then we’ll go to Flores to shop and eat dinner since this will be the only chance to look for souvenirs until Friday.

July 25, 2011 – 8:58 p.m.

Just finished a long hot shower—much needed after walking around Flores Island for most of the afternoon. I’m sitting on my hotel bed sucking on a bag of water (much cheaper than a bottle, although it tastes oddly like plastic). I was able to find some nice gifts and I still have quite a few Q’s left so I might even be able to get something for me.

Tomorrow starts our journeys into the jungle. I’m excited! I think we are planning to go to Jim and Shelley’s Forever House first in San Pancho. And then we might go by Santa Rita. Maybe we can see Fabio! We’ll also be picking up Domingo and Abelino. I’m eager to meet both of them.

We ate a La Luna tonight (yay!). They have the best Cordon Bleu in the world. And I discovered that the owner, who I knew was a Spaniard, was also half German. She hadn’t heard of Viega but I still thought it was funny. Small world.

We rented a truck that will get us out to the villages tomorrow. It’s four-wheel drive. I’m still not exactly sure how this happened, but Shelley and I ended up in the back seat of the truck with the boys. It was actually a lot of fun, in spite of being used as a jungle gym. =) I love Jonah and Silas. They’re so fun! Oh, and poor Silas got stung on the nose by a bee today too. Poor kid attracts insects like I do.

Flores is such a funny little island. We managed to get Colonel a ride in a tuk-tuk. I think that might have been his favorite part of the trip thus far.

I’m excited to see what God will do tomorrow. I’m praying that my arms will hold out and that the skits both work well in communicating the truth to the Kekchi.

July 26, 2011 – time unknown and I’m too tired to check

Well, all things considered today was spectacular. I’m so tired though. I don’t know how much I’m going to get down tonight.

Jim picked us up at 7:00 a.m. and we drove to San Pancho to see his and Shelley’s Forever House. It’s really incredible, big and nicely laid out. OF course, it’s still under construction, but when it’s finished it will be a great place to live. The okra plants are huge too! I think they’ll like it.

From there we went to . . . I don’t remember the name of the village. Se’Tul, I think? It’s where the Kekchi Radio Station broadcasts from, Domingo’s village. We got to meet Domingo and his wife, Candalaria, and their new daughter, also Candalaria. Then we went to the radio station and everyone go to say high over the air. It was cool . . . a bit awkward, though, since Jim had to translate for us into Spanish and the DJ translated Jim’s Spanish into Kekchi.

Then we headed up and started off for Esfuerzo, the little village back in jungle. It was a much harder trip than I expected. I ran out of water and stopped sweating before we were halfway there. Colonel and Jim called a horse back for me, and that was intriguing because it was only the third time I’d ever been on a horse. I’m not much of a horse person, but I was thankful for it then!

We reached Esfuerzo and they fed us pork tamales. They were so good! And they we put on the presentation. We realized then that we had forgotten the visuals we’d made. We had no corn, no sun, no moon, and no mountain. So we just did without.  It was still very well received – and four people made decisions right then! That’s unheard of!

We were thinking about going back to another village but a storm was coming. And the rain would have prevented us from getting out once we were there. So we went to Domingo’s house instead to pray for the Candalarias, since his daughter isn’t feeling well. Prayer seemed like the best option.

From there, since we were close, we went to visit Jim’s closest Kekchi friend, Jose Xal. Jose has really been under attack recently and I hope we were able to cheer him up. His wife gave us a drink . . . and I drank it. And I was thankful for it. But—wow. It was bad. Corn boiled in water with brown flecks at the bottom Jay told me to strain with my teeth. It was thick and starchy and full of pulp. Warm too. Wow. And the Colonel got out of it. The goober.

But then we met Shelley and the boys at Pizza Hut in Santa Elena and I ate more than I should have. =)

But my favorite moment of the day? Well, the spiritual answer was seeing the new believers stand up—and getting to meet all the brothers and sisters in Christ I didn’t know I had. But the goof in me thought the funniest moment of the day was when Jimmy took a headfirst dive as he was jumping across the river on the way to Esfuerzo and tore the whole crotch out of his Eddie Bauer rip-stop pants! He had self-ventilation for the rest of the day. The only other thing that could compare was Jay getting a leg cramp after riding a horse for an hour. Both of those moments made my heat exhaustion totally worth it. =)

July 28, 2011 – 7:15 a.m.

Well, I didn’t get anything written yesterday because we left so early and got back so late. But yesterday was nuts! We went to four villages. The first one took hours to reach on a terrible road and when we got there, there weren’t enough people around for us to do the presentation. So we prayed for the Christian family there. The father was named Jose. His wife made us breakfast, rice, eggs, black beans and corn tortillas. It was yummy! That was about 10:00 a.m. Then we headed on another terrible road to a different village. Once we got there, though, they were still making lunch for us, and they wanted us to eat lunch before we did our presentation. However, they were still cleaning the turkey in the river (upstream from the ladies doing laundry). So we decided to cross the river there in a canoe and rent a four-wheel-drive truck on the other bank for 100Q to go off-roading to another village called El Chilar. El Chilar was so far off the beaten path that Domingo didn’t get there often. Jim had never been there, and it was likely that the people in the village had never seen a gringo before at all. So we got across the river and we loaded up the truck. The truck bed wasn’t very stable, and all I had to hold on to was a two-by-four in the middle of the stock rack. I will say that crossing the river in the canoe and riding in the back of that truck standing up were new experiences for me. I understand truly now what people mean when they say that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I totally wasn’t scared about either of these things, but I couldn’t convince my body to loosen up. And of course, Jim and Colonel had to give me a hard time about it (“She’s squeezing that two-by-four so hard she’s getting water out of it!”) but I wouldn’t expect anything less from them. Even so, I was pretty tense by the time we reached El Chilar. What with the humidity I was having trouble breathing too, so I took it easy (I learned my lesson on the way to Esfuerzo) and let the guys get everything set up. Then I recorded the skits with my phone. It went really well. A lot of people came out, and it was good to meet all of them.

Then we loaded up the truck and went back to the second village. I can’t remember the name of it, but they sure were nice people. We crossed in the canoe again (I was a great deal more graceful the second time around). The village had turkey soup ready for us when we arrived, and it was excellent! It was a bowl of broth full of cabbage and spices and a hunk of turkey meat. You ate with your fingers and drank the broth out of the bowl and then you wiped your fingers with a tortilla. I ate more than I should have before I remembered that we had one more village to go (San Miguel) and they would be feeding us too. We did the presentation for this village, and then we hit the road again.

We drove 2 hours to the next village. We took a short cut that shaved 2 hours off of that trip, though. It was exciting because it started to rain as we were driving. I felt bad for all the guys in the back of the truck, but they seemed to be having a really great time.

We reached San Miguel and put the presentation on, and—wow!—that place filled up fast. We started with a handful of people and by the end, the entire room was full! People were hanging from the rafters trying to see.

And I swear Domingo is determined to marry me off to some Kekchi person. But I learned that being 28 and unmarried is shameful in Kekchi culture. Either it’s a bad reflection on your father (that he wants all the girls to himself) or that you are “like a tree planted by the road that offers everyone its fruit.” Yup. I decided not to tell people I was 28, unmarried, and have never had a boyfriend.

Once we finished at San Miguel, we drove the whole way back to El Chal. I know I went to bed as soon as possible. Jim is coming to get us soon, and we’ll head off for our third day of ministry.

July 28, 2011 – 11:08 p.m.

Well today was awesome! We left late, though, because the tire on the truck went flat. So it was after 8:00 o’clock before we even got out of El Chal. Domingo and Abelino rode in the truck with me, Jim and Colonel, and Jay and the Xela guys road in the back. It was fun to be able to talk to Domingo and Abelino. They are such amazing people, and they have the most incredible smiles.

We got to the first village around Noon and they fed us the best stinkin’ fried chicken ever. The only fried chicken I’ve ever had that compared was the fried chicken my 70-something year old neighbor Betty Thalmann made us when we went to visit her shortly after we moved to the farm. Wow! It was good. The Kekchi served it with rice and potatoes—yum! We did the presentation and it went well and got a great response. Watching the little kids’ faces is so much fun. But, man, I’m going to have strong arms when I get home. Holding that little Chico puppet up for 15 minutes at a time is tiring!

We left that village around 2:00 p.m. and went 10 minutes (actually 10 minutes this time) to another little village. They had a beautiful building where we performed. The building was entirely funded by church members. Unfortunately, the pastor of the church hadn’t been able to charge his cell phone. So Domingo hadn’t been able to let him know we were coming. So we intended to pray for him and for his church, but he had gone to buy drinks for people. So we hung out in the church until he got back. The church was beautiful. It had green tiled floor. It was incredible! And then—the best thing ever happened.

They gave me a glass bottle of pop.

It was Pepsi, though. Not Coke. But I didn’t ask for it, and Jim and Colonel say it still counts. So, it’s official. I’m a world traveler!

[Side Note: A world traveler is someone who is given a free glass bottle of Coke (or in this case, Pepsi). This definition was born in Equatorial Guinea, and I’m sure that it will appear in American dictionaries in a few more years.]

And as I was celebrating my newly attained status, Andres dropped his bottle of orange soda and it shattered all over the church’s beautiful tiled floor. We cleaned it up, of course, but the sound drew most of the village out of their homes to come see what all the commotion was about. And before we knew it, the church was full of people. Enough people that we could do the presentation! So we did. And it went great.

Then, we came back and picked up Shelley and the boys for dinner in Flores at Las Puertas – my favorite restaurant in the whole wide world! I got my pechuga con crema and my (for real) papaya liquado (liquados at any other restaurant are just imitations) and I was such a happy camper that I hardly knew what to do with myself. =)

Tomorrow we go to Tikal to see the Mayan Ruins. We said goodbye to Domingo and Abelino tonight because they will leave before we can see them tomorrow. The same with Andres and Levi. Their bus leaves the hotel at 5:00 a.m. It was great getting to know all of them.

We’re hatching a plan to bring Domingo and Abelino up to Kansas soon. That would be so amazing! But we’d have to dress them warmly because by the time we get them up here it’ll be winter, and while Kansas is currently hotter than Guatemala, they have no concept of what winter actually is. And a Kansas winter might put them in shock.

July 30, 2011 – no idea what time

Jim took the cell phone last night and that was my only watch. My phone turned out to be completely useless down here—it didn’t even keep time. So I slept until I work up and got up and got dressed and sprayed myself up with mosquito repellant so I could write my journal inside my room. The mosquitoes in this room are vicious! I’m wearing 50% DEET and I’ve killed two on myself just in the time it took to write this paragraph.

Tikal was amazing! It’s such an awesome old place. In Kansas we get used to things being old when they’re 100 years old or older. But Tikal is thousands of years old. I won’t ever get tired of visiting. There was a lot of wildlife out during this visit too—pisotes and gray foxes and monkeys. But the day started out somewhat frustrating.

First off, poor Levi and Andres missed their bus! The silly bus station lady who issued the tickets had told Jim that the bus would come to the office at the hotel, but it didn’t. It drove on past. So poor Levi and Andres got up at 3:30 to make sure they were outside the hotel at 4:00 to make sure they didn’t miss the bus at 5:00 only to discover that the bus didn’t stop at all. The next bus wasn’t going to come until 10:30! I felt so bad for them.

But we got them all sorted out and left for Tikal. Jim had to stop by Santa Elena and do some banking business first, though. And it took fourteen forevers. Wow. We eventually turned off the micro to save gas because Jim had left it running so we’d be comfortable. Well, the weather in Santa Elena was still nicer than the nicest recent day at home, so I didn’t have a problem sitting with the doors open and the windows down until they came back. But it did take a long time. Nehemias went to buy snacks for everyone, and Juan had his phone out and managed to find me on Facebook (we’re all friends now). But by the time Jim got back, it was time for lunch. So we went to Burger King because anything we’d eat at Tikal later would be overpriced and not as good, and this Burger King in Flores has the nicest view of any Burger King in the world!

While we were eating our Whoppers, though, Colonel and I were talking—mostly picking on each other and on Jay—when we heard this girl exclaim behind us, “You speak English!” This gal ran over, and we all started talking. She’s been in Peten in a little town called Naranja teaching English in a private school. It was really great to talk to her. I hope we were able to encourage her a little. Her name is Emily, and Jim gave her his phone number. The next time she has a day off he and Shelley are going to meet up with her and take her to dinner. She was really, really nice. And we were all very thankful that Jim’s banking business had taken so long. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to meet her. What a coincidence. *wink wink*

Then, we headed for Tikal. We stopped at the zip lines first though. And I really really did think about going. But I just couldn’t (chalk up another mosquito; that makes three). If there were an unreached village at the end of the zip line, I would have done it. But I just couldn’t go for fun. It sounds terrifying. Now, I love roller coasters but not ones powered by my own coordination . . . or lack thereof. So I stayed on the ground and brainstormed ideas for more Chico stories (which Jim wants to start broadcasting on the Kekchi radio station, like the Adventures in Odyssey of Guatemala! How cool is that?).

While I was working, Jim got out the map Colonel bought and drew on it all the places we had gone throughout the week. He estimated that we covered about 1000 kilometers. Wow!

And while we were waiting, we both got free Cokes in glass bottles! So it’s doubly official! My world traveler status is set! Lol

After the zip lines (and a bunch of howler monkeys), we headed into Tikal where the pisotes were all out in force. The last time I was here in 2007 I only saw one. This trip, I saw four! We walked around Tikal for a while and I took a ton of pictures because I had a real camera with me this time (four mosquitoes). Jim did his tour guide thing. He’s been to Tikal like 14 times with other groups so he knows all the stories about it.

As we were listening to him, this mom and daughter came up and started listening too. They were from Albuquerque and had come to Guatemala to learn Spanish. Stacy and Lilly were their names. Lilly was eight years old and just adorable! She really took a liking to me, and we all decided to continue together. Lilly told me all about her dog, Delilah the pug, and her two cats, Jackson and Elvis (Elvis was so named because when he was born, his lip was quivering). She also told me about (five mosquitoes) her hamster Marigold who she gave away to her best friend when her best friend’s hamster died.

We hung out for the rest of the afternoon, and Jim and Colonel both talked to Stacy. But Colonel had the best conversation with her. He was surprised to discover that Stacy was adopted. You see, Colonel has an adopted daughter, Becky. And Colonel, as awesome as he is, is still a guy. And it’s hard enough for guys to understand women without the added complication of adoption being thrown into the mix. So Colonel got to have a really awesome time talking with Stacy, getting some insights about what it’s like to be adopted. It was a huge blessing to both of them, and they exchanged emails. I hope we can keep up with them. Lilly was really enjoyable.

So after Tikal, we ate at Maya Internaccional and got Nehemias and Juan to the bus station. We had to go by Jim and Shelley’s to get by bag, though, because I had left it there full of the stuff I’d brought for them.

I can really hear the lions going at it in the zoo here at the hotel (six mosquitoes now). So I don’t know if that means it’s time to get up or what. But Jim is coming to get us at 6:00 a.m. and Colonel is going to pound on my door at 5:30 to make sure I’m up.

July 30, 2011 – 11:00 p.m.

Yup. I’m definitely traveling with the Colonel again. He’s good luck. We had no trouble getting back to the States. The only thing that even changed was a single gate assignment in Houston (and Colonel will try to tell you that I nearly got us lost in Houston, but we all know how he likes to make stuff up). We made it back to Wichita before 8:00 p.m. and even our luggage made it too!

Mom and Dad came to get me, and my best buddy Katie Morford was also at the airport! Totally made my day!

Colonel and I had such a great amazing time. The whole trip was just spectacular. I’m so thankful for Jim and Shelley and their family. And I’m thankful for Domingo and Abelino and Pastor Mateo and their commitment to getting the word of God out to the Kekchi people.

The next step for me is to start working on a series of Chico stories to broadcast over the Kekchi radio station. I have a ton of ideas, and I can’t wait to get started.


  1. First, I cannot believe Colonel got out of the atol drink.
    Second, the mosquito thing was cracking me up.
    I really loved reading your journal. Before when you sent me the link our internet was down. Wow, you got dragged all over this time. You are tough! Can’t wait to hear more Chico stories. He is going to be a famous little puppet.



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