November News 2011

The smallest good deed is worth a thousand grand intentions!

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."    Luke 6:37-38

Continue to support missions around the world:
1) Cusco, Peru - Romulo Tupa - Local Missionary; Lima, Peru - Pace Family - school and church plants
2) Guayllabamba, Ecuador - Tulcanza Family - Local Missionary Church with four outreach locations
3) El Batan Missionary Alliance Church - Ninos de la calle en riesgo
4) Just For Kids Orphanage and School- Valle de los Chillos, Ecuador
5) Home of Hope - Malawi, Africa, Canadian Missionaries
6) Missionaries and mission trips that God plants in our hearts - Renee
7) Helping Hands Foreign Mission - Orphanage - Cochabamba, Bolivia
8) PIBA Primer Iglesia Bautista de Armenia - programa de compasion
9) Miguel and Boris - street kids from Ecuador who are now going out as missionaries in Eastern Europe and India

God is blessed when we bless others.

Our Travels Around Lake Atitlan

In the month of thanks, we are reminded to be thankful for all we see around us as well as all that God has blessed us with in our lives, especially as we see those less fortunate all around us here. I am constantly thinking that "by the grace of God, there go I" because it is only by divine intervention that we are born where we are and into what circumstances.
We used our time over Thanksgiving to travel to see the most famous lake in Guatemala for its beauty. It is surrounded by volcanoes and many small villages that each have their own style, dress, and cultural idiosyncrasies. 


You have to love the chickens in the baskets, totally unaware of their fate, thinking they are just out for a nice stroll.
We visited Chichicastenango, a town up above the lake that is famous for its market, both tourist and local products. It was amazing to see all the terraced fields of vegetables and crops all across the hills on the drive up. I have never seen so many tomatoes growing in one place in my life, along with beets, carrots, corn, squash, and potatoes. You don't see many people making brooms by hand any more but in rural locations, it is a skill that earns you your daily bread.


In every town, you can see the brightly painted cemeteries located on the hills just outside of town. It makes it seem more like the celebration that it should with all the colors rather than a lot of black and grey concrete!
Heading down around the lake, it was amazing to see places underwater. It turns out it wasn't because of poor planning (totally) but the fact that the lake is constantly rising. The lake is surrounded by volanoes and has a lot of character but not a lot of fishing, except for the locals. It is mainly for enjoying and hanging out around for the tourists, and farming and tourism for the locals.


One of the big crops grown right by the water are onions.

Weaving is an industry that is employed in all the villages. Each one has its own colors and patterns and the fabrics are all made by hand on looms by the local women. You can see on the loom below the fabric as it is winding around the bolt. I know it looks like I know what I am doing, but I don't think anyone would buy whatever I seem to be making!



The other interesting aspect of the weaving process, is that the colors are all made from local plants and materials. They had orange made from carrots, purples from beets, and blues from indigo. It was cool to see the colors that could be made from vegetables you never thought could be used for that.

In the plazas and by the churches you could see anything and everything being carried on someone's head. It seems to also be a good protector from the sun! Even the smallest children seem to start early to get the hang of balancing baskets, pots, and even flowers on their heads.


In Santa Catalina, we were able to see the festival in honor of this saint of their pueblo as they had a parade, fireworks, and a lot of rum going back and forth in the streets. The "floats" were covered in mirrors to reflect any evil which I hadn't seen in many places since Mexico. They paraded the perimeter of the town with the floats and ended up at the local church for the grand finale.


Our favorite place to see a local market was at Solola and it was like trying to pick your way through a beehive. There were people everywhere hustling and bustling to get their eggs,chickens, and other supplies, and in turn, to sell or trade their products. If you stopped for a moment to look around, people would run right up your back. If someone had something big strapped to their back and was coming your way, you'd see the whole train of people backing up like dominoes as bigger wins in this case! What was really cool was to see the locals dressed in the cultural garb as part of their natural day. The men had really colorful shorts and pants and shirts that you  wouldn't see on any guy in the US for sure!



Our adventure took us all across the countryside, even a few "shortcuts" and misdirections as locals told us that we could go "either way". It always amazes me when I think about all the things and places we've seen, and all the God has created in this world that is truly awe inspiring. My goal during December is to take the time to draw closer God and to take the time to just be in His presence and seek his will. If you know me at all, you know how hard it is for me to "stay still and be" so it will be a challenge for me. I know though that the benefits will enrich my life and I encourage you to do the same and allow God to direct and bless you as the year ends and into the new year!

Steve and Cathy Carpenter

Prayer Requests

- opportunitites and open hearts to those around us; mission trip possibilities
- for my friend to hear God's voice in her life
- to find the right local church where we can serve and worship
- continued daily safety for us and our students in Guatemala; traveling mercies for those teachers at CAG that are visiting other countries
- God's guidance for our nieces and nephews; surgery/recovery prayers for an aunt and nephew
- health issues that continue for the pastor's wife, Fabiola, in Guayllabamba

Praise Reports

-  the opportunity to visit Ecuador again in March and see how work is going there
- witness opportunities with teachers at our school
- continued good health and minimial car troubles
- safe return of our niece's fiancee from Afghanistan
- minimal tremors and earthquakes here in Guatemala so that we aren't scared on our 6th floor

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