Sunday, January 31, 2010


This post will be mostly pictures, to give you a glimpse of some stuff I see around.

My team visited the Spanish Embassy. This is what you see when you first walk in:

My team, getting ready for a picture:

Modern art exhibit. Exhibit 1: the pencil drawing created by fan.

Exhibit 2: what to do with a giant bean?

Exhibit 3: philosophy.

If I draw a point on a leaf of paper, I am a doodler.
If I draw a point on a hundred leaves of paper, I am a philosopher.
If I draw a point on a thousand leaves of paper, I am a mystic.
If I draw a point on a hundred thousand leaves of paper, I am a conceptual artist and can make riches and fame.
Social values depend on accumulation.

We're at CEMI now, a missionary compound outside of Antigua. This was a little before sunset looking towards a volcano. [sidenote: I watched the sunset-- it was gorgeous-- and afterwards realized that I should have taken pictures... your loss]

Yes, we have cloudy sky in Guatemala sometimes

So much clouds that it covers a lot of volcano... you'd never believe how high of a cone is hidden by this cloud.

What season do you think it is? Oh right, it's Spring! [Guatemala: the Land of Eternal Spring]

A pretty flower:

Thursday, January 28, 2010


God’s been teaching me something: the difference between waiting on Him and resting in Him. To wait upon the Lord is a good thing, and there are many promises given for those who wait upon him (e.g. Is. 40:31). But waiting is an active thing. When you wait, you may tap your toe, wondering when the waiting will end. The Apostle John saw a group of people who were waiting in Revelation 6:10. “They cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long…?’” This is an example of waiting. The person who waits returns again and again to God to mention their request anew, anticipating the time when the answer will be made known. This is not the person who rests in the Lord, however.

Resting in God is characterized by peace. The person who is resting in God knows that he has what he has asked for, but that he must wait for it to be realized. This perfect confidence in God’s sovereignty allows him to rest and be content, not worrying about when the future joy will arrive. A.B. Simpson expresses this thought well in his song, “Once it was the Blessing,”

Once 'twas busy planning,
Now 'tis trustful prayer;
Once 'twas anxious caring,
Now He has the care;
Once 'twas what I wanted,
Now what Jesus says;
Once 'twas constant asking,
Now 'tis ceaseless praise.

The person who rests in God has an understanding of God’s revealed will which allows him to live in the moment, stick out hard stuff, trust God, and be free from anxiousness and worry. I wonder, can I truly learn how to rest in God?

In other news:
- I have had stomach pains for the last little-over a day
- Things are better, but I'd love prayer for health... I never had problems with the food last year, so this was rather a surprise.
- We leave our language home tomorrow. We'll continue to take Spanish lessons next week, but will be traveling in from a little bit out of town.
- The moon was pretty full and beautiful tonight... you should take a look. =)
- There are two new people in my language home now: one is a former Discover student who finished interning with the program three years ago, the other is a guy from Quebec. 'Tis fun.
- Those going on the Reacon trip to El Salvador to begin planning the student practicum are leaving Saturday. Please keep them in your prayers.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week 1-- Check

Well, the first week is over. We are 1/3 of the way through Spanish school, 1/3 of the way through our time in Antigua, and 1/11 of the way through our time in Central America (approximately?). During this time, we've made many mistakes in speaking Spanish, had many cups of Guatemalan sweet coffee, enjoyed many tortilla-based meals, taken many pictures, gotten a little sunburned, and climbed a volcano. Here are a few pictures from the week, mostly of the volcano hike.

My buddy Aidan, during a staff meeting:

Alex and Evy, our new field coordinators:

Evy, with their dog Spike:

The church where we hold a couple classes and chapel:

The view of a couple volcanoes at sunset from my house:

Shorr, trying to decide which little boy to rent a walking stick from:

A prime picture opportunity, evidenced by the number of cameras out:

One of those prime pictures:

Keryn, the happy hiker:

Another prime picture:

Alyssa, goofing off:


A horse "taxi" that followed us up quite aways:

Volcanoes in the distance... can you tell that we've climbed higher?

Pacaya puffing off smoke... yes, this is the volcano we were on.

The last bit of the climb... pretty steep:

Helen's knee, after falling on the lava rock:

Keryn, with the dog that some of the girls carried down the volcano:

A restaurant sign on the way back:

Me, with a rather tired/forced grin:

This next week we're continuing language school. I'm practicing my past preterite and past imperfect tenses, and learning to differentiate on when to use which. It's fun and going pretty well.

Please pray for the group: health, safety, good spirits, and ability to assimilate Spanish.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Well, I'm in Guatemala again. Here's a run-down of the events since leaving Canada:

-- We left Calgary at 7:00 AM, flying to Dallas first. 5 1/2 hour layover, then we left there at 5:30 PM, arriving in Guatemala City at 9:00 PM. Due to the regulations restricting carry-on items on flights to the U.S., I had my laptop, a book, and my bible with me during that whole time... nothing else. Flights went smoothly and we were picked up by Alex and Evy (our field coordinators) at the airport. 1 bag misplaced, but hopefully it will be located soon.

Saturday evening, after arriving at the seminary (GBS), we unloaded bags, paid the driver, brought people to their rooms, and dropped into bed exhausted.

Sunday morning we had breakfast at 7:30, staff meeting to plan the day at 8:30, then we left for church at 10:45. Church was really great... I had missed worshiping in Spanish. Unfortunately, I was really tired and kept doing the head-nod/jerk regularly during the sermon... oh well for that one. As soon as church was over, we rushed back to GBS for lunch.

Another meeting after lunch, then I took a short nap. Woke up to find that a guy who was in Discover last year was visiting for a little while, so I went out to say hi to him... and was snatched away to go shopping for new cell phones and a receipt book. I was supposedly along to do the receipt book, but we never found one. We did, however, spent 3 hours looking for cell phones. Thankfully we did find enough cheap ones for the group and got things set up with that. We went back in time for dinner, then another meeting! Do you see a theme here yet?

The evening meeting was basically student orientation for Antigua. We gave out information on how to behave in Antigua, how to relate to host families, what to expect with Spanish school, travel details, packing details, cell phone protocol and passing them out, and a few other random things. =) The meeting was a little over 2 hours, and by the end we were all pretty tired. Back to my room for the evening, checked my email (since I had internet), and went to bed.

Today we traveled to Antigua. We left the seminary at 7:15, arriving at our language school at 8:00. After luggage was unloaded and people had their teachers, we learned Spanish until noon. For me it was a ton of review, reminding myself of all the grammar I'd managed to forget in the last year. So far, so good.

Language school over, we had lunch with our host families. I am staying with the same family as last year... Jose and Karla Sanchez. The friend from Discover last year is also staying with them, along with two friends. It's quite the fun party there! After lunch, we took off on a tour of Antigua in teams. Jordan and I showed our team a bunch of different places, including the Bagel Barn (my current location), central park, banks, McDonalds, Pollo Campero, Saritas, the arch, the market, the bus station, and the location of their other classes.

Now I'm in the Bagel Barn, as previously mentioned. Soon I'll be shutting off my computer and returning to my host home, hopefully to do a little homework.

Hopefully next time I post I'll have some pictures for y'all. Until then, adios, y dios te bendiga.

Friday, January 15, 2010


So, tomorrow morning I'm leaving on a jet plane. As the last details slip (or are forced) into place, reality is starting to set in. 48 hours from now I will be waking up in a new country, listening to the sound of birds in the spring time, walking outside in sandals and a t-shirt, and learning again how to converse in Spanish.

The journey begins at 2:30 AM tomorrow. We arrive in Guatemala City at 9:00 PM local time. Prayers are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One result of college life

The other day, as I was entering the dorm, I had a thought. I know, crazy ain’t it? Me, having a thought! Anyway, the thought was this: no wonder people leave college with so much debt! See, as they walk into the dorm, they swipe their ID card. As they walk out of the dorm, they swipe their ID card. Even if they only leave the dorm for meals, they swipe their card at least 6 times a day. It only takes 26 days to create a habit, (and 76% of statistics are made up on the spot) so after 26 days of college life, swiping cards must be habitual. So what do we do? We walk into the dorm and we swipe our card. We walk into a store and swipe a different card. We walk into another store and swipe yet another card. Soon it happens: debt, overspending, inability to meet monetary obligations. It’s unavoidable.

At least, that’s my theory.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thoughts on the 1st week back

1. God is incredibly good.
2. I actually really do like studying
3. It is possible to get sick of fluorescent lights
4. 33 F can feel quite warm, especially when compared to -20F.
5. While I have a large vocabulary, I love learning new words.
7. When functioning on small amounts of sleep, I can lose the ability to count.
9. Time flies. Let me repeat that: time flies.
10. Writing is a pleasant activity

Sunday, January 10, 2010


One thing a person finds when traveling to developing countries is the amount of need that the rest of the world has. Living in North America, we often grow accustomed to a comfortable lifestyle, where a choice of food and clothing is taken for granted, not to mention other luxuries which we accept as normal (TV, computers, etc.). We lose sight of what our needs are, thinking that we deserve what we have. Other needs which our society recognizes as genuine are the “need” for acceptance, the “need” for peace, or the “need” for love.

By labeling our desires as needs we tend to forget the importance of our true needs. I like the way Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones puts it:

“Our supreme need, our only need, is to know God, the living God, and the power of his might. We need nothing else. It is just that, the power of the living God, to know that the living God is among us and that nothing else matters…I say, forget everything else. Forget everything else. We need to realize the presence of the living God amongst us. Let everything else be silent. This is no time for minor differences. We all need to know the touch of the power of the living God.”

Certainly we have legitimate needs. We need food to provide our bodies with nourishment. We need clothing to keep ourselves warm. In places like Alberta we need shelter to protect ourselves from the cold. Most importantly, however, we need God.

In other news, we had a fire alarm this morning. A girl on 3rd put iced poptarts in a toaster, which produced quite a bit of smoke. So, rather than enjoying a nice cup of hot coffee and a relaxed Sunday morning before church, I got to go stand outside in the snow. Well, at least we had fun out there, and our stuff didn’t burn up.

I’m at the halfway point for my time at Prairie before leaving for Guatemala. One week into things, I have done a ton of paperwork getting ready for Guatemala, read a bunch of books for class, spent time with friends, and enjoyed the snow.

We leave for Guatemala at 2:30 Saturday morning. Be praying for safe travel and no problems, as we’re flying through the U.S. and get to enjoy the increased restrictions.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Desire (v): want, feel or have a desire for; want strongly [synonyms: long for, hope for, yearn, hanker]

Many of us desire things, and yet lack them. Like my dream: a Ford F 350, 4 X 4, diesel, and with a standard transmission. Unfortunately, I don’t have it. Others desire to travel, to be popular, or to become wealthy. For many of us, these desires will never come to fruition (I’m sure that mine will though! [kidding]).

Some desires are harmful. For instance, if I desired to see what it felt like to be run over by a truck, the fulfillment of that desire would be detrimental to my well-being. On the other hand, some desires are beneficial and God wants to fulfill them. James instructs the Jews of the Diaspora that “you do not have, because you do not ask” (Jas. 4:2).

One thing that we do understand about desires, however, is that they point to our identity. My desire for a big truck points to the fact that I like the feeling of power and freedom which 4 X 4 and a strong engine gives me. A person’s hunger for food points to the design of his body to function well with proper amounts of digestible food. C.S. Lewis states, “Now, if we are made for heaven, the desire for our proper place will be already in us, but not yet attached to the true object, and will even appear as the rival of that object.”

Lewis is saying here that many of our desires which appear to be rooted in the temporal are in fact only pointing to our common desire for heaven. He states it differently here:

“If transtemporal, transfinite good is our real destiny, then any other good on which our desire fixes must be in some degree fallacious, must bear at best only a symbolical relation to what will truly satisfy.”

My desire for [a truck, or insert your own desire] is only a fallacious shadow of my strongest desire: to know God and experience heaven. We were made to desire God and find our satisfaction in Him.

“God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.” This statement from John Piper informs my thinking often as I go through a day. The question comes to mind: how can I bring God glory through my life? The easy answer is found in the above statement: be satisfied in God.

The Christian’s desires are not rooted in evil, but in good. A Christian desires good things, yet sometimes the good desires are warped and we attempt to reach them through incorrect means. Rather than desiring to be satisfied and setting my satisfaction in my relationship with God, I instead seek to be satisfied with food, people, or even music. The problem is not with the desire, but with the means for fulfilling that desire.

What do you desire? How have you been trying to fulfill that desire?

[More on this later]