Pocketmod Runner

Kevin, you genius. Thanks for changing my life with the introduction of this pocketmod thing. I've been doing push-ups, sit-ups, practicing guitar, drinking water, keeping my closet tidy, keeping better track of my spending, video editing, learning more Spanish vocab and verbs all because of this sweet disposable PDA. Unfortunately, some of the editing components are not available for Mac. But, now that I'm a time-managing fanatic, I was able to develop my own .pdf template in a program called Pages. If you want my template, I'll email it to you. It has the 8 page image placeholders and the bottom four even flip upside down automatically. Pretty Rockin'. Amber wasn't a believer at first. But yesterday, she asked me to print off another pocketmod for her and she even wants to help design some of her own pages. Her favorite page is the conversion table for Quetzal to CAN$. She's even telling her friends about it. Someone get a towel, cause this thing is on fire!

Because of it, I have begun running again. I have run 4 times 20-35 min each time. Each time has been in a different direction and between 6 and 7 AM. Walter has joined me for the last three runs. He's my neighbour.

This is him playing Joseph on Christmas Eve in a Christmas Drama put on by Impact Ministries. Here, he is lamenting the fact that Mary is pregnant - and not by him.

This is just like my old journals

One of my life goals is to keep a daily journal for 5 years. I have attempted this goal at least 10 times. Inevitably I get 2 days behind and spend half an hour trying to recollect those 2 days. This exhausts some cortex in my head so that by the time I get at my journal again, I'm 7 days behind... and before I know it I'm bothering Amber with questions like: What did we do that monday after we saw that movie with so-and-so in it?

So, it's been a couple weeks now since I've blogged and much has passed undocumented.

Oh well.

We had a 2 day holiday to Honduras. By spending two nights there we were able to renew our visitor's visas upon entry to Guatemala for another 90 days. This was our first trip with our new 2001 Kia Rio. In total - gas, restaurants, hotel, entry to the Copán Ruins, and more - our trip cost us CAN$250. It would have cost us almost $200 to renew our visas in the Capital, so essentially it was a $50 excursion.

For US$30, "Am I Clear" Jorge guided us at the ruins for 2 hours. It was time to break out the Nikon F65 for real pictures, no more digital nonesense. The most striking memory of the ruins is how intact the idols/carvings/alters are. Much easier to visualize people offering sacrifices and such to these carvings of stone than at Tikal. They have a ball court there where games were played, the winners got to get sacrificed - gladiator deal - talk about "whoops, I scored on myself again!" eh?

(scary huh?) (ok, I took a few digitals)

Christmas was a blast. Gifts Food Drama Phonecalls Fireworks. Amber got me a very thoughtful gift - a lamp, so I can read at night. The lamp has a square shade on which she afixed the four photos shown here.

Currently, I'm working on the new Impact Ministries website. This CSS business is getting a little clearer.


These past 7 days

[Ervin and Estuardo carrying blankets]

Friday: I was in San Lucas Tolimán delivering aid to the victims of Hurricane Stan, walking down this pictured street, speaking to Amber on the phone when behold! I had to jump to the left because I was about to step into a fountain of urine proudly spouting from a 2 year old boy. Immediately after exclaiming to Amber what had happened, an orange dropped from a tree and hit the ground, just brushing my nose. I thought driving while talking on a cell phone was dangerous! Mercy!

Saturday: Got a call from Amber early in the morning who got a call from Saison (my sister) that our beloved car of 5 1/2 years had sold. wESTERn pontiac BUiCK (Ester Buck) in Edmonton sold us the car and it took us 180,000 kms. I hope she serves Neil, her new owner, well.

Saturday: After receiving the phone call, we loaded a boat at 7 am with 100 lb sacks of corn, metal laminant, rice, sugar, salt, and other staples. Then we got onto the boat and travelled to the other side of Lake Atitlan. No one told me we were doing this. I thought we were just going to see the lake at dawn and then eat breakfast (which we ate at 10:30). Lake Atitlan is bordered by three volcanoes and many mountains. It's tremendously beautiful. I rode on the roof of the boat with Eric, Jairo, Jorge, Willy, Erin, Fernando, and Rolando.

Saturday: We landed in Santa Catarina Palopó. We unloaded the boat and carried the supplies on our backs through a steep alley for about 350 metres. Exhausting.

Saturday: Our destination was a pink church tucked into the fray of houses too close together to allow streets. The landslide in this community involved huge boulders which broke loose and careened through the town destroying eight homes and a church. The family living in the first house in the path of the boulders was killed. The panic ensuing after and the shouts allowed everyone else below to evacuate their homes before they were destroyed. This pink church had three pebbles on the front step.

Saturday: My baby sister, Salomé turned 26 today. We thought we'd send her a photo of Blaise wishing her a Feliz Cumpleaños. Blaise is at the age where anything that is brought within an arm's length is lunged for and planted into his mouth.

Sunday: Yesterday, Rita got some photos developed for me in Coban. I had photos developed at the same place a few weeks previous at the price of Q62 + Q20 for doubles. The price the gave Rita for the same deal was Q99 total. That's a difference of Q17. So, this morning I visited the shop and presented the discrepency, expecting a refund of Q17. Instead I got to watch a worker hammer numbers into her calculator for five minutes and then exclaim that one of them cost Q17 more than the other. I agreed. She then said that the price had changed. The customer IS always wrong.

Tuesday: On Sunday evening, we received an invitation at our door. The invitation was for a company party being thrown by the owners of Carneceria Esmerelda (meat shop). The owners are our friends from church - Ervin and Estuardo. The party commenced at 10 am today and took place at a park in Santa Cruz (up the road from Tactic). It included live music, a sermonette by Les, very fun games led by Walter (Estuardo's brother), and then a delectable meal of meat. The families present were those of the workers and each of these families was then given a gift bag of food stuffs for our enjoyment.

Wednesday: I popped by Juan Luis' dental clinic to take some file photos for the ministry. He and his wife have been serving with Impact Ministries for as long as we have. I watched this boy of 11 or 12 scamper into the chair, lay down and open his mouth to receive the big needle. He didn't squirm or make a sound. Five minutes later, when the freezing had taken place, Juan unfolded a napkin and placed it on the boy's chest and pulled a tooth and lay it on the napkin. The boy bit one of those white sponge cylinder and grabbed another napkin. Juan told him to come back on Monday. The boy nodded and mumbled "Adios" as best as he could and took off with his friend, who also had gauze in his mouth.

Thursday: Amber and I bought a new car. It was a tough decision as we have enjoyed not having a car and weren't sure if we really needed one. The good thing is that we pay as we use it: no insurance, just fuel and repairs as needed. I saw the add on an email we got from Inter Missions. "Robby in Antigua has a car for sale." So I emailed him and got details. With the sale of our car we could afford this one and it's 4 years newer and is in great shape. Behold the 2001 Kia Rio - 4-dr, cd, manual transmission, fan. I got dropped off in Guatemala City with Eric and Jairo and completed the paperwork and handed over a check. Then Eric drove us around the city to take care of some errands they had. I took the wheel at Metro Norte (northern gateway to the capital) and drove the 3 hours (165 km) to Tactic. It felt good to drive a peppy car that could pass all the big trucks and buses in the mountain passes.


Une Manque d'Electricité

We've been experiencing major power outages here in Tactic. The normal 1/8 of a second outages that switches my computer off and then laughs at me has been replaced with 8 hour outage assaults.

Coincidentally, electrical circuitry in my brain seem to be in disrepair. I have been having an unusually difficult time speaking French, replacing French words with Spanish ones.


Lady in the Water

I'm so stoked!

We are not of this world.

(is "stoked" outdated? if it is, great! it's time for a comeback - like fab! weirded out! groovy! and perhaps the most tubular of them all: gnarly!)

Torn by sympathies

So... forget it, here are the articles I've been reading regarding President Chavez in Venezuela, US foreign policy, Christian public reaction to Chavez, Chavez reaction to Pat Robertson, and reaction by non-Christians to Chavez kicking a mission agency out of Venezuela:

some hi$tory of oil in Venezuela

some ignorance towards Venezuela and Pres. Chavez

some brutal reaction to US Imperialism

some further ignorance regarding Christianity

some further information on New Tribes Mission

My reaction to all this is that because of the way Christ's name has been misrepresented and used politically in history to "control the masses" and to generate income, the backlash is grizzly and terrible and justifiable! Why do Castro and Chavez and Tito express such animosity towards Christianity? Because they see the dichotomy in what is preached and what is done - Tito for example was imprisoned and tortured by "God appointed" royalists. Cuba was under seige by colonial powers that were in bed with state churches. Venezuela has been used by the United States, a breeding ground for religious fanaticism, for its oil riches for nearly a century.

Generalization: Christians despise socialism because socialism despises Chistianity. So, what if I'm both? How do I relate to those Christians who don't know their right hand from their left as far as people carrying the banner of Christ politically, economically, philosophically and socially? How do I relate to those who in response to Christian actions - hate my beliefs?

Should become a double agent?