It started with a text (in Spanish) my wife received Thursday saying if we send our location (the word in Spanish I hadn't seen before thus throwing me for a loop) they will pick us up on Friday morning.
This was perplexing because Friday mornings are a time we at PROVEE spend serving schools. Upon further examinations, my wife discovered a text that she had not responded to, creating a sense of certainty with the sender that should not have been there.
While Tabitha was clearing things up, she talked to Eddy (our "boss" and mentor and all-around great guy) and learned we were going to one school instead of two. In addition, this was a school that receives breakfast from PROVEE, thus doesn't get the sandwich, cookies and drink others receive. So we wouldn't really be needed and would be available to go. Plus they were picking us up after the time of making sandwiches (which we took out in the afternoon).
The text came from the mother of Diego Ordoñez, one of the Guatemalan students who spent time at College Heights Christian School while my wife taught there.
The family wanted to welcome us to their country and show the hospitality that is so like the people of Southwest Missouri (I went to a family reunion once for a family I had no connection to except through friendship).
So, after they fought through the normal traffic that is Guatemala City, we all headed for Antigua, the old capital and now site most should see for its colorful buildings, cobblestone roads and lovely people. We ate at the Antigua Hotel's restaurant and enjoyed brunch and a traditional dessert.
Black birds are common here and are loud enough to be heard while talking on the phone with our son. He wondered the first time he heard one if we were outside under a tree when we were inside. The open-air restaurant invites these birds along with people. I think there was a staff member whose sole job was to shoo these birds away.
We walked around the hotel grounds after our meal to enjoy the flowers, architecture and two parrots living there.
The amazing part was how well Tabitha spoke Spanish. We were relieved initially to learn Diego would be there to interpret, but we only needed to use him a few times to interpret. That shows that immersion language learning works, and that she's highly intelligent (just like I've been saying for years, after all she married me).
Another thing I have noticed about Guatemala in general and Antigua specifically is the use of color everywhere, even in the tiling. A wall that would be all white tile in the U.S. (a kitchen or restroom) has accents of interesting tiles woven in here in Guatemala.
One thing has been a constant so far in our mission here: people have been extraordinarily kind to us. That goes not only for the people we are working with or who know we are, but also for the clerks, guards and passers-by. You can say that's the culture here, but I'd rather think it's God's way of saying we are doing what He called us to do.
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble. 2 Peter 1:10