Wednesday began early. I left the hotel around 6:30 AM to walk to the park to meet Adan and take the bus to Panajachel. We arrived in Panajachel by 7:15 and spent the next hour studying with a young man who helps teach youth classes. The weekly process is to study the Bible together in preparation for the class he will teach. We studied 1 Samuel 10 concerning the selection of Saul as king, trying to think of the kinds of questions young people would ask. It was a challenging study for me since I have not done a great deal of detailed study of that type in the Old Testament.
After the study, we shared a brief breakfast and then took the bus to Godinez where we arrived about 10 AM. The vistas of the lake as the bus climbs the mountains on switchbacks and amazing dropoffs is spectacular. At Godinez we found the church ready for us. The church has a nice building which they constructed with their own resources and efforts. The core of the church consists primarily of 7 women and their families and one young man who does almost all of the preaching. Sunday attendance of the adults is normally about 15. Most of the women are raising families alone because their husbands are in the U.S. working and sending money home. There is little or no work in Godinez so this has been the solution. As you can imagine, this puts a severe strain on the families, and also on the church. On the day we were there, five of the seven women came to the study. I spoke about enduring tribulations and problems, beginning in 2 Cor. 1 and spending most of the time in 1 Peter 2-4. The generosity of the Guatemalans is impressive, and they wanted us to share lunch which was a delicious and large portion of carne asada, a salad, a wonderful hot sauce, and non-stop homemade tortillas! After much delightful conversation, we caught the bus and were back in Solola by shortly after 3 PM.
Wednesday night is one of two Bible study nights during the week for the church in Solola. I taught from Colossians, extending the class to about an hour and a half. It is always amazing that no one seems to look at the clock and worry about when we will finish! Afterward we shared a cafecito and those present lingered to visit and encourage one another. I was the first to leave, ready to put the 20-25 minute walk back to the hotel behind me. The wind was cold and my body does not like the walking uphill and downhill (especially the uphill with the extreme grades one finds on many of the paths).
Thursday morning, I left the hotel at 6:30 AM to meet Adan to go to Santa Clara to meet with the small church there and encourage them. There are two options for getting from Solola to Santa Clara. One can go by land which requires going up from Solola and then down to Santa Clara, usually a trip of about 75 minutes. Alternatively, one can take the brief bus ride to Panajachel (10-15 minutes) and go across the lake to San Pedro (another 15-20 minutes), and then take a bus up to Santa Clara which is situated at some altitude above the lake. The total travel time is similar so we decided to go by boat and return by land. It was a beautiful morning to be on Lake Atitlan, and it was market day in San Pedro which gave a wonderful environment for enjoying a lakeside village. When we arrived in Santa Clara, we were greeted cordially by the two major families and after a time of visiting we went to the church building where I presented a lesson from 1 Peter on God’s promise to make us complete, affirm us, strengthen us, and build us up. The church is quite small but has its own building. One area I touched was the need to share the blessings God promises to his children. We were again blessed by the hospitality of the brethren, and after a lunch of eggs, frijoles and tortillas, we caught the bus to Solola, arriving shortly after 3 PM.
I spent the afternoon catching up on a lot of email and writing projects, and am glad that I was able to excuse myself from this evening’s Bible study and devotional with one of the church families. Perhaps after a night of rest and a more leisurely morning tomorrow, I will find new energy to finish the activities in Solola tomorrow. Saturday I travel by bus to Antigua to begin four days of preaching, teaching, and seminar in San Juan del Obispo.