On the first day we were greeted by about 50 children near the entrance of the village by the front of the church. These wonderful kids had heard we were coming, ditched school and waited to give us a proper Miguala welcome :-) I'm sure the teachers were thrilled.
Just getting off the bus was a challenge. After meeting the Pastor and the all men work crew (who were busy hand tamping down the latest load of sand that had been delivered for the church floor), some of us were taken a bit down the road to the local public school. There are three full time teachers and a principal for about 400 students in first thru sixth grade. It's a basically free public school that meets daily from about 8am to noon.
They were very excited to see us. Our team was invited to take an hour and spend some time with the children at the school before classes dismissed for the day. We were encouraged to sing with them, tell a Bible Story and teach them a few English words. Very exciting! Did I mention that the children and the village people don't speak Spanish - they speak a Mayan dialect call KatChee. I actually have no idea how one would correctly spell this language name, but KatChee is how Americans say the name. Everything thus happened in three languages. English to Spanish (thank you Simone), Spanish to Katchee (thank you Jeremiah), and then back again. We sang a couple of songs, reenacted the story of David and Goliath (with the help of some new Guatemalan friends and our teenagers), used the Evangicube to tell story of Jesus' love and present the Gospel (including a time for personal prayer and profession of faith) and then we taught the students and staff how to say "HI" and "BYE" ~ common American greetings and and parting phrases. Well, the teaching worked! For the next week, every time we went anyplace our group was welcomed with choruses of HI HI HI. It sounds like a normal enough word, but after you say the word HI 300 hundred times in about 4 minutes flat it starts to sound incredibly lame.
Their intent was to make us feel welcome; to make us feel more comfortable; they were reaching out to us in a way we could understand. It was almost like they have read the New Testament! You know all the Books that start out "Grace and Peace be with you" or "Greetings to you my brothers". Weird!
These kids weren't trying to be Jesus to me. They had know idea how foreign their normal felt to me. They could not understand the mix of excitement, anticipation, awe and fear that I felt as Matt and I and our two oldest son's stepped off the bus, and into a world that is different to us in every way imaginable. They were just being kids. Happy, excited, kids.
And God said, "Buckle up sweat daughter, you have some learning to do this week. I will teach you, these people will show you. If you let Me, I am gonna rock your world."
As usual, God was faithful to keep his word.