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First Days in Guatemala


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cindy, Peggy, and I arrived midday on Monday this week. Dennis Rice handed me the keys to the Vine “van”. And so it begins. Driving in Guatemala is a piece of cake for a New York cabby, but for a country boy from Southern Appalachia it is a white knuckle, heart racing experience. The Rice’s had threatened us with a full days work since we were arriving at noon, but they were their usual gracious selves and gave us the rest of the day to unpack in “our” new home.

We have much to learn. Importing medical humanitarian aide is a maze of paper work, government and non government offices, shifting of financial resources to the right places to get the system to work.

Then we need to learn how to deal with a personal budget here where there is no trustworthy mail system. Nearly all bills are paid at different banks, standing in line is a sport all its own. Some want American dollars, others want Quetzals (the Guatemala monetary unit). It takes a day or more to pay bills.

Some things like electronics are much more expensive here, food about the same. Fruits and vegetables need washing before storage to reduce the risk of amoeba and parasites.

Vine International Guatemala is blessed with many friends both nationals and expatriots that help us get the work done.

There is much to learn; driving in thick traffic, the technicalities of importing containers, the language, and a hundred other things. While we will always miss our kids and you our friends, we are where God has designed. We are tired but catching up on sleep. We are excited and confident that all our “pot holes” will be filled by the LORD.

I know some of you wanted to send us “CARE PACKAGES.” Please work with us on this and for now DON’T DO IT. Give us time to learn if we can and how best to do so. Mail and package delivery are difficult. Customs can often be expensive experience. One small example of a young lady receiving a package from her mother. She took a full day off of work to come to the city paying for bus ride, was not allowed to see what was in the package until she paid the $10 fee only to open it and find a small book from her mother that cost $6.oo originally.

We know you care for us, but a package of homemade cookies has the potential of seriously disrupting our budget.

Immediate prayer concerns are learning the process of dealing with importing containers of medical supplies from the United States and other points, warehousing, and distribution; to not allow the urgency of these things in the physical realm to bring disorder to our walk with Jesus; to learn the language and in time to speak like a native is our hearts desire; to be used of God to be a blessing to Guatemalans in such a way that they have to ask us about Jesus.

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