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Day six already?! Sheesh.

Today we were in La Palmera. We set up and became a photo shop in the blink of an eye. Pastor Michael taking pictures, me attempting to make the kids smile, Mark and Luisa with an excel spreadsheet getting their names, and Robyn w/ the help of many children, printing them moments later! This is the smallest school we will visit this week so it was a good place to do the test run. It was fun to see pictures of our congregations while we were there and helping them pronounce names and telling them just a little bit about you! All good things, all good things. Tonights blog features.... drum roll.... Terri DeVries and Julee Moorlag. Terri is the daughter of Warren Kamstra who FOREVER impacted these schools, and was also blessed by them. His legacy lives in through her. The kids are drawn to her kind smile and compassionate heart. Julee is in many ways the rock of this group. She has been here multiple times and has developed a relationship with so many of the people here. The adults, and kids, remember her each year and when she comes back it's like she's at her second home. 

Terri DeVries: Today was like a visit with old friends. Our visit to La Palmera was like picking up where we left off last year. For those of us who have been there before, familiar faces were fun to see, and for those of us who were there for the first time, new friends were made. It was a joy to hear that the students spend 30 minutes every day reading from the books that we brought last year. It was also bittersweet to see the plaque in memory of my dad again. I feel like my Dad left a bit of himself in Guatemala and now I leave a bit of myself as well. 

Julee Moorlag: Today I got to see our old friend Jose!  Many of us remember him from our 2013 trip as the sweet little boy that went with us on our very long hike out to the fields!  All 15 of us fell in love with him!  Well….he is now 12 years old and is a typical preteen!  I actually saw him briefly yesterday in the community near his.  He was with some friends and didn’t want to talk to me much.  But after Patty reminded him of how much he means to me, he was his sweet self today!  We had a long talk about what he is planning to do next year after finishing elementary school.  I also talked with his parents about when he can have his hernia surgery, which he was already in need of last year! Today was different than years past in that during the photo taking/printing time, I had a chance to talk with some of the adults (with Patty’s help of course!)  I had some very deep, meaningful discussions.  One with Jose’s parents and one with a man named Nicholas who is 73 years old and lost his wife 2 years ago.  He has 4 daughters under the age of 9!  Later in the day Robyn was able to talk to him as well.  We both were able to give him encouragement and share with him how much God loves him and to tell him we will be praying for him and his daughters.  He doesn’t go to church because "he sins"… we were also able to tell him that because of Jesus that didn’t matter!  He will be thinking about going to church now and appreciated the prayers.  And now I know there will be many others that will be praying too!  :) 

We are getting up extra early in the morning because we have to be packed and ready before breakfast since tonight is our last night at this hotel. We will be in Esperanza Miralta for the first half of the day, then will be traveling back to Guatemala City for our last two nights. No one will really say how long of a drive we have tomorrow but I'm pretty sure it's somewhere around 4-5 hours. Can you say ROAD TRIP! 99 bottles of pop* on the wall, 99 bottles of pop*, take one down, pass it around.. 98 bottles of pop* on the wall. Nah... we'll be tired. This week is exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally. We are missing our families and praying tonight that God gives us the energy we need to entertain 120 more kids in the AM. Weeee caaaan doooo ittttt! Maybe tomorrow night I'll have strong enough internet to post pictures... tune in to find out... Night all!