Last week we heard from two speakers, the first speech was focused on Neo-Pentecostals and this movement involves a new Pentecostal form as opposed to the old. Neo-Pentecostalism originated after the strong earthquake in 1976 when destruction occurred in Guatemala City, and churches and communities came together as they saw hope in the Neo-Pentecostals. During this time the country became more conscious of God, and the Neo-Pentecostal churches grew from 2% of the population to nearly 40% today. The second speaker was Rafael Escobar, who is the Dean of the Anabaptist seminary, Semilla, where we are studying Spanish. He discussed the Mennonites in Guatemala. The discussion revolved around the distinctives of Anabaptists including peace and non-violence, which is different than the Dispensationalist theology of many other Guatemalan churches. Throughout his speech he encouraged us to explore how we express our faith, where we come from and how we should apply this to our calling here.
Sunday morning we arose early and had the opportunity to travel to one of the many Neo-Pentecostal mega churches in Guatemala. We visited Casa De Dios, whose famous pastor is Cash Luna, who is well recognized in Guatemala. This church holds over 15,000 people and the arena atmosphere is much like a concert. However, the fear of the concert atmosphere did not overwhelm our experiences with the Holy Spirit in this church. Most of the songs we could relate to as we sing them in English at home. And with the help of some translators we were able to relate what we had heard from our Neo-Pentecostal lecture to pastor Cash Luna’s sermon, and many of us were able to grapple with the truths of neo-Pentecostalism.
After church we ended our weekend in Antigua (old Guatemala City), where we were able to experience more of the market culture and the sources of income people rely on in Guatemala. The beautiful village of Antigua lies in a valley at the bottom of mountains and volcanos. While walking through the streets we encountered various restaurants, stores, and sites from the early Spanish conquest in the history of Guatemala. Antigua draws in tourists much like ourselves. We spent the day sight-seeing and walking through the markets of Antigua. Antigua was one of our favorite experiences as many of us would like to return and we can only hope for many more experiences like this one as we continue our journey.
-Jessie Wheatley and Jenessa Derstine
Motorcycles and buses rule the road here and the rest of traffic waits and honks their horn, stop signs and traffic lights are only suggestions, maybe even decoration along the road that drivers do not follow. Airplanes fly over my
house, making it impossible to hear, much less comprehend anyone. Ants and spiders bite me during the night, leaving me with itchy red bumps in the morning. The tile in my house is cold and grimy, but feels good on my feet, plus my shoes stink. The rain sprinkles in the morning and everyone around me is bundled up as if in a blizzard. The sun warms up the afternoon and I nap and tan. The silence of my family’s presence; but all are studying hard.
The sentimental tears of love after praising me.
My brothers’ compassionate side shows after reading my notes I left for them.
I am part of this family and will lose part of my heart to leave it.
I hope to visit again, maybe with my sister or mother.