Language. Learning. Laughter. Love. Life.

Our past week has been filled with all of these “L” words.  Our weekend consisted of an excursion to the highlands of Chichicastenango where we stayed for 2 nights at the Ruth and Naomi Project.  We were surrounded by another new language, K’iche, which was spoken by many of the natives of this city.  We also were able to learn more Spanish, especially when we were forced to speak Spanish at mealtimes and for every English word we spoke we had to pay 1 Quetzal (1/7 of a US dollar).  As you can imagine this made things more difficult, but we usually found a way to communicate the words we didn’t know by acting them out.

The whole trip has been filled with laughter, specifically when we play games together or when we are on the bus.  Nels and I shared several laughs when we offered to help make tortillas at the Project.  The women in the kitchen had smiles across their faces while Nels and I struggled to make the perfect tortilla.  Needless to say it was an unforgettable experience and we had a lot of fun!

Handmade textiles at Chichicastenango market We have already learned so much on this trip and I can reassure you this isn’t a vacation!  This weekend we heard the pastor of the Methodist Church there in Chichi speak about the start of the Ruth and Naomi Project.  It was founded after the city was bombed and there were many orphans and widows with no jobs or money.  This pastor started a project for women and taught them skills such as weaving so they could make money for themselves.  We got to visit this project where the products were sold and speak with the ladies.  They were so proud to show off what they made and it was meaningful to purchase their hand-made goods because we knew the money was going to support them.  I could see the love of God in them as they spoke and provided us with a delicious lunch.  I also have witnessed love from the hosts that we had last weekend and of course from our host families every day as they normally go out of their way to help us with whatever we need.

God has definitely been present with us here, especially this week as it has been a more difficult one for our group.  He has kept us safe and protected each one of us.  With the obstacles that have come our way, I have been able to see the face of God.  Our group truly is becoming like family and I feel the support of everyone.

-Laura Beckler