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After a long trip here, and a busy first couple of days I am starting to get used to living here in Guatemala and loving it! My bags are unpacked and although I don’t know my way around all of Guatemala City, I am starting get an idea of where different locations are around the city in relation to where my house is here.  Throughout my time here, I have already been ‘lucky’ to have experienced the crazy driving and ‘anything goes’  spirit of Guatemala City!!

My flight here was supposed to be short; I left Nashville at 2pm on Tuesday, January 17, and was supposed to arrive here in Guatemala at 8pm, with a connecting flight through Dallas.  However, due to light rain, my flight out of Nashville was about 40 min delayed, making it impossible for me to reach my connecting flight in the massive Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.  Of the choices the airline gave me (none of which were very good), I chose to fly to LAX and then to Guatemala, a trip that would postpone my arrival to 5:30am on Wednesday.
Thanks to my great friends here, Hubert and Josué, I had a ride waiting for me at the airport and then breakfast when I arrived at my house.  Needless to say, due to all the confusion with my flights, that airport did not have my bags when I arrived.  Luckily I had packed a pair of sweatpants and an extra shirt in my carry-on, and was able to change and then finally get sleep!  Later that day, I received my bags from the airport (thank you Gary and Rachel) and was able to unpack, SHOWER, take a tour of my office and then dined at the very Guatemalan Taco Bell for dinner, where they serve French Fries and ketchup but no Fire Sauce!
On Thursday and Friday, I participated in a training with Estrategias de Transformación.  A group of about 10 leaders from different ministries here in Guatemala and the EdT interns met to discuss the theory behind EdT’s work with at-risk-youth.  The theological training is based on a conversation started by The Center for Transforming Missions.  This theology-based conversation focuses on the incarnation of Jesus Christ, a concept that will lead us as leaders to live in and through the incarnation as we share God’s love and grace with ‘those who have been wrongly labeled the least, last and the lost in marginalized and vulnerable communities’.

Ministries represented at the training include: , Estrategias de Transformación, At Risk No More,  Iglesia Ciudad de Refugio, InnerChange, Esperanza para Guatemala, Children’s Hope Chest, Amor del Niños and Athentikos.
Once a month, EdT hosts a meeting and conversation with leaders around Guatemala in which they discuss what is happening in their own area and organization.  On the Saturday morning following our training, the EdT training group along with several leaders from other local ministries visited the ministry Esperanza para Guatemala.  We were led by José Armas, founder and director of Esperanza para Guatemala, on a tour around his facility.  The facility houses several play areas for the children, a library, an eating hall, a carpentry shop, a music room and several offices and classrooms.  His ministry is geared toward preventing children from turning to gangs or to the street as they grow up in a very gang-controlled and violent area of Guatemala City.

After training one night, we went to Antigua for dinner and fun!  Antigua is one of the most beautiful places.  I love it!!!  And I’m so happy I get to live less than an hour away from it for the next 6 months, so if you come to visit me I will for sure take you there!!  My first weekend here went by quickly, filled of lots of cards, yummy pesto pizza and of course some fútbol americano.  Go Pats!

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