Day One: Orientation, Church, Miraflores Museum

Today was a full day, beginning with breakfast and orientation led by Carla Gonzalez and Leonor and Jerry Kennel, who work with CASAS — an educational program that usually serves college students — on the SEMILLA campus. Leonor expressed gratitude for our program since money we pay for housing and programming helps fund the hundreds of students throughout Latin America who study with the seminary. While we are here primarily as learners, we also are grateful this can be a mutually beneficial relationship. Following orientation, we saw a new video on the seminary that included an interview with Dan Thut, SSTT group member Juan’s uncle, who served at CASAS for a number of years.

The group then opted to attend the worship service at Casa Horeb Mennonite Church, which included a celebration of the church’s 40th anniversary. The congregation is closely affiliated with the Anabaptist seminary where we are staying. SSTTers attended the first part of worship and then went to the youth Sunday School class, which included input and then a variety of games, including a version of “Upset the Fruit Basket.” We ended our time at the church with a group photo of our SSTT group along with youth from Casa Horeb.

After a delicious Guatemalan lunch at SEMILLA, the group went to the nearby Miraflores Museum. Guatemala City is located on the site of an ancient Mayan city, and all of the artifacts in the museum were found on or near the site of the museum. We then exchanged money and returned to campus, with some of us taking an additional walking tour of a local plaza and grocery store.

This evening students are writing their journals, playing ping pong and otherwise enjoying life on the SEMILLA campus. And today, during Guatemala’s rainy season, we had no rain at all — mostly sunshine throughout the day! That was very much welcomed.

This evening we are tired, but we should be able to turn in early. Tomorrow we will begin our classes with Israel Ortiz on “Youth and the Fullness of Humanity: Life in the Light of the Kingdom and the Ethical Teachings of Jesus in the Context of Current Challenges.”

It’s good to be in Guatemala with this group of rather extraordinary young people.