Guatemala Reflections part 3

Guatemala Reflections:

Wow!! What a week this has been!! THe first day of travel started out slow but picked up speed as soon as we got in country. we had some setbacks with baggage issues but we were here!! We got to Panajachel and most people went out to do some shopping. i stayed in and journaled. We went to bed that night and went to San Juan, La Laguna the next day and we went on a tour of the city. We were stopped outside of the new turf field, seeing if we had to pay to get in or if we could just take a look real fast, when i saw a familiar face. It was my friend Cristobal from the last time i was there!! He was one of the main reasons i went this time, honestly. I remembered two names from the first time i came down. Cristobal, Christopher in English, and Diego. Both of them are sixth graders in the school we taught in. The little kids are easy to get to know: they tug on your hand, ask you to play with them and give you hugs all the time. The older kids are much more reserved about meeting people. They might or might not even say hi to you in the few days you are there. I started a relationship with Christopher and Diego last time and i wanted to continue to build that relationship this time. Seeing Christopher was so much fun. His face lit up when we recognized each other and remembered the other’s name. It was awesome. As the week progressed i got to know the younger kids too, like Wilman, Marisol and so many others. I played with them at recess and stuff, but i tried to get to know Christopher and Diego a lot better. This was made so much easier by the other guys inviting basically the entire school to soccer games every night. I got to meet so many of the older kids like Fredy and Jose and another Jose and it was just a blast. I just couldn’t believe it was time to leave so soon. i was so excited to see those guys every day and just hang out with them. Fredy was so much fun to just be around with his constant high fives and random thumb wrestling matches. Diego was still a little standoffish but, thanks again to the other guys, even he couldn’t say no to a huge soccer game with us -in the rain- splashing through puddles, splashing people with the puddles to mess them up. We had so much fun, all week long. The day we left one of the sixth grade guys carried my bagdown to the dock. i had so much trouble saying goodbye to them all. they were such a joy to be around, laughing all the time, barely understanding them most the time. It wasn’t just me they wanted to see again. Trent Fleener and i were on the same team all week long so we were hanging out together all the time with the sixth grade guys. The day were left, before we boarded the boat the guys asked if i was coming back in August. I said i did know when our church was going to come back, but probably in March. I told them i might or might not get to be on that trip. Then they asked if Trent was going to come back with me. I was so excited to see them accept someone so fast that had never been there before. it took me two trips to get that close to them and they accepted Trent just as fast. i’m going to continue praying for them and i hope that one day i will get to come back with Trent so we can continue to build the relationships that were started this week.
—–Peter Thompson—–

Jeff Hirleman

This week in San Juan La Laguna has been such an amazing experience for me. God has blessed me so much by letting me see him at work in another country of the world and I am so thankful for that. One of the people that I met that touched my life and heart the most was Tom. Tom just retired from teaching/working at a school in San Diego but instead of kicking it for the rest of his life in the US he bought a one way ticket to Guatemala to live in a tiny city and teach at the small christian school for however long he wants. Watching him spend every waking second with the kids was inspirational. He knew almost everyone of them by name and knew everything about them. One of the kids he said came over in the morning before school and then didn’t go home again until late at night. Getting to ask him just simple questions about what he does was a privilege in itself. I will never forget how involved he was and how God has used him in the most amazing way.
Besides getting to see Tom at work, I was also able to spend a lot of time teaching and playing with the kids. Each one of them was always happy to see you and their smiles were contagious. Although it was hard to understand them most of the time it was still incredible to be able to games and other things to bond. We were able to play many soccer games and got to know some of them pretty well. I hope someday I will be able to go back and hang with the kids and see Tom at work again.

Jamie Ryan

This week in San Juan, has been such a heart warming experience. Spending time with the kids, they were so amazing, and were so much fun to be around. Spending alone time on the top of the hotel looking at the mountains and the lake
really amazing. I can not tell you how amazing God is. His creation is so beautiful and so perfect.
This was one of the best weeks of my life, playing with the kids to playing soccer, i mean what could be better! I will never forger the kids at that school they touched my heart forever! I hope next year i get the chance to go see the kids again!

trent fleener

Oh my gosh!! this entire trip has been so amazing i do not think i can put it into words or any explanation what so ever. Yesterday on weds. we left from San Juan to come to Antigua. That day was the hardest on this entire trip. We had to leave the kids. As we went down to the boat, all the older kids came and carried all of our bags down the hill to the dock. I had an extremely hard time saying goodbye to all the kids, especially Freddy and Christopher. They are both in 6th grade and i really got to connect with them in and out of the classroom playing soccer. Its amazing how fast God changed my view on soccer. I used to absolutely hate soccer with almost a passion. I thought it was a stupid game that had no point. The 3 days in San Juan i played soccer every opportunity i could, about 4 hours a day. I know god did this because it helped me connect with the kids on a level i never expected. While it sucked to ay goodbye to everyone, the boy i missed the most wasn’t there. Little Lucas, a 1st grader with the most amazing bowl cut ever seen. I got the opportunity to spend a lot of time with him during class and at recess. Going past all the sadness, we got to Antigua. This place is so amazing. The city has so much history to it. Our house is amazing!!! We have hot water and real beds. Today (friday) we have spent most of the time shopping. I got some great things but since some are surprises for people who might be reading this (mom & dad) i wont disclose details. Right now we are just chilling and wasting time waiting to meet the girls for dinner. I do not want to leave. God has done so much to all of on this trip im afraid that if we leave, that will stop happening. I know its not true but I have connected so much with the kids and the area that i know would never have happened without God.

Vasilios Tryphonas II
Aka: TJ/Teej

Hello! How are you guys 🙂 I am just taking a few moments to fill you in on the amazing week we have had in Guatemala. I have been here 6 times with the church and each time has been an amazing new adventure. I love meeting new people and being able to continue relationships that were started over 6 years ago. I have been truly blessed. Thanks to all you at Hillcrest who have been praying for us.
I have so many stories to choose from and I will tell you many when I return home. So find me friends and family and I will fill you in on this week, and tell you story after story of God’s amazing grace and mercy which are new every morning… or are they?


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