Here is an overview of our life and work in Santiago. This will be in the April issue of Connections magazine. We wanted to share it with those of you who don't receive the magazine:
We live on the beautiful Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. The lake is the crater remains of a volcano many years ago that has now filled with water; three inactive volcano’s still stand at the shores. The region is very unique and has many indigenous small towns on the waters edge. Each of these towns is named after one of the apostles. The indigenous people of Mayan descent in these towns still wear traditional clothing and have many Mayan religious practices, even though they have been deeply influenced by Catholicism.
Together we are managing a nice guesthouse that is being leased to the local grassroots hospital. They have asked us to oversee this property and host the guests. This has involved fixing up the house, battling bed-bug outbreaks, meeting guests when they arrive and lots of cooking. Our Mennonite cookbooks Simply in Season and More With Less are a big hit here. The majority of the guests are hospital volunteers, including nurses, doctors and medical students. We have a wonderful place to live and enjoy sharing God’s love through hospitality with the people staying here.
Jared enjoys his work promoting water filters in the community. Until recently, diarrhea was the leading cause of death for children under five and this was largely attributed to drinking contaminated lake water. This involves education and follow-up with the families. He is also supplying wood stoves to replace open indoor fires that cause a multitude of respiratory and vision problems. Both these project are through a community development organization here in Santiago called ANADESA. Jared has built good friendships with the staff and families there.
Traci works at a children’s library with a mobile program that goes into the schools and shares story hours and tutors children. She also helps with tourist and educational groups by giving tours of the library and their services in the community. She has made friends with her co-workers and the children through her work and continues to improve her Spanish. Most mornings are spent with her good friend and tutor Victoria, and most afternoons she plays a game of basketball with the kids.
We feel so blessed to be here and are so grateful to many of you that have made it possible for us through your funding and prayers. We know that God is faithful and has brought us here with a purpose. We will be forever changed by our year with TranSend.