Martinez Mail Sept-Oct 2017 pt.1- The departure

Even as prepared as one can be, there are circumstances that can never be anticipated. Such was the case as Robin and I made our plans for 30 days in the US. Our carefully constructed plans included keeping up with our normal ministry outreach’s in Guatemala while adjusting the focus of one eye, towards Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

On this day in mid-September we are out and about with the people of Guatemala, celebrating National Independence!

Mid September is the culmination of weeks of celebrating “Independence” across the country of Guatemala. In our city, vendor stalls begin to line the streets, marching bands that have been practicing for months, (late into the night), will have the chance to strut their stuff, and thousands of people on foot are taking it all in. Traffic in the city slows to a crawl, making simple tasks near impossible. In this environment, friendships are renewed, people of all backgrounds unite, and political differences are set aside.

The streets are jam packed with people who take up places anywhere and everywhere. A blanket and patch of grass is fine for watching, eating, and sleeping………..because this is an all day happening.
Months in advance the empty lot just over the wall from our home, makes a great practice field for this marching band. That’s every day from 5pm -9pm, rain or shine. By parade day, Robin and I could both play drums and bugle without effort!

The following day, it’s business as usual, especially for the political minded and their demonstrations that block traffic and choke the entire country into a standstill. It is here that all our well laid plans to leave Guatemala for the US changed. Our exit plan, that was to be a well choreographed ballet of graceful movements, to the calming strains of the Blue Danube waltz- fell apart. All of a sudden, we were in fact, “running-around-like-chickens-with-our-heads-cut-off”. The flurry of activity it took to push our departure back by 24 hours, was mind-boggling. All to get ahead of the announced roadblocks and airport closures. With preaching, teaching, and meeting commitments written in stone, there could be no delay. Just another day in the life of a missionary in Guatemala, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

As we landed in Dallas, we were expecting the usual, out-of-the-frying-pan-and-into-the-fire, immersion into U.S., culture. For reasons unknown, this time seemed tame by comparison. It is one of my all time favorite experiences, to trundle along with four large suitcases while shoulders are slung heavy with carry-on items, to catch the shuttle bus to the rental car center. With the rental car keys in hand we set off for 30 days or so of adventure in the good o’l Us of A. We merge into traffic, accelerating towards…………………but that’s another story. Stay tuned for Martinez Mail Sep/Oct 2017 pt2 The Reentry.


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