Today was day 8 of 9 of the missions trip (not including travel days), and a lot of team members are feeling the effects of culture shock. But nothing lifts one’s spirit above the clouds better than lifting one’s body above the clouds. A sweet encounter with our earth, with a fiery encore from El Fuego, today is not a day to be easily forgotten.
We awoke at 6 p.m., as usual, and had a breakfast of fruit, eggs and tomatoes and plantains. After that, we trekked up the hill to the school. At the school, we joined the secondary chapel, where we sang and danced to upbeat music. After the chapel, we went to the roof of the high school and saw a magnificent view of the mountains. Construction work today included bracing rebars together and shoveling sand and gravel into piles. Some team members also helped with English classes.
After working on the construction for a bit, we took a break for our snack, which was delicious, as usual. Shortly after, a large group of us headed to the playground so we could play soccer with the kids. Those who didn’t play soccer spent the time playing on the playground with the younger children. At 11 a.m., four of us (plus Mrs. O’Neill) headed to a family’s house for a house visit. There we met the mother of 3 children at the school, who shared her testimony. She told us how God has always provided for her family, ensuring that her children were able to attend school year after year, even during the hardships of Covid. The group then prayed over her and her family’s well-being and said goodbye.
We arrived at the Casa for lunch and were very excited to see that we were being served lasagna. We all were careful to eat a large lunch, since we would be having a later dinner and loaded into the bus for the drive to the volcano Pacaya. The drive went fairly quickly, probably because we all slept through it.
After a seemingly short car ride, we arrived at the base of the path, which is where reality began to set in for me. After starting the hike, many quickly realized that it was going to be a test of strength. I, too, felt this quite quickly, as I do not enjoy hikes. After an hour and a half, and a 3-km walk, we all prevailed, marveling at the magnificent view from the top of the mountain. We were all in shock at the lack of life and the abundance of volcanic rocks. As a treat for our treacherous walk, we all enjoyed marshmallows roasted over the heat of the volcano. The walk down wasn’t nearly as exhausting as it was going up, since gravity had become our friend. We were all soon loaded onto the bus and ready to get home and shower.
The bus ride back to the Casa wasn’t as short as the way there but when we arrived, there was a delicious dinner of hotdogs waiting for us. After the dinner, we spend the night relaxing and preparing for our final day in Guatemala, which is a bittersweet thing to consider.