Sunday we attended a Kekchi church out in the country. Phyllis shared with me a Kekchi skirt and shirt she had been given, so I was even able to dress the part. Rosebud was too, as we had purchased a shirt for her from the weaving co-op we visited the previous day. (The Kekchi ladies’ skirts consist of EIGHT YARDS of fabric and a drawstring. It is quite a feat to deal with all that fabric to put the skirt on, let alone wear it around all day!) We drove 45 minutes or so through more gorgeous land and then had to hike 10-15 minutes up a narrow trail to the church. The Kekchi have learned from their Latino neighbors, that louder music is better, so they have pretty big speakers in their churches. As each person enters the church (which is just one large room) they go to the front or their seat and kneel to pray before doing anything else. The service is similar to ours with singing and announcements and prayer and a message. All visitors are invited up to give a welcome. Since the Groffs had prepared us for this, we were ready. 🙂 Ted also played and sang a short song for them, and Galen was asked to give the message in Kekchi (which he had also been prepared for). Rosebud was again quite an attraction with the children, and she enjoyed interacting with them too.
After the service, we were introduced to the piano player, Wilmar. He spent a year in the United States a year ago with MCC and is now back with his family and working to discern what to do next. Since he speaks English, Spanish, and Kekchi he was an immense help to us during our trip. We had lunch with Wilmar’s family. His father, Felipe, is a relatively wealthy farmer in the area who has quite a bit of coffee. Following our lunch of Caldo (a traditional Guatemala soup with chicken, güisquil, and other vegetables) and, of course, corn tortillas, the men gathered to discuss coffee and roya and what opportunities there were that Ted could assist with. On our way back to our car, we looked at Felipe’s crops. He has quite a bit of coffee (with various effects from the roya) cardamom, and 28 varieties of fruit. We also stopped and visited a nearby coffee beneficio (processing plant) that has been out of use for about 5 years.
Back at the Groffs’, we spent some time talking about what we’d seen so far and what we felt our mission would be and our vision. We ended that evening with a great time of prayer together.