Buenas noches amigos…..como estas? Estoy muy bien aqui. Yesterday, I worked in the cooking school with the ladies…It really gave me an opportunity to get into relationship with the women in the school. They asked me a lot about myself….it's cool how much they want to know about me….They asked to see pictures of my friends and family, so I showed them on the laptop…they really enjoyed that. These ladies are great cooks! Antoinette is teaching them very well. Although they are learning a lot, there are still many needs for the cooking school…more pans, ingredients for baking, etc. When the ladies make a cake, they go around Magdalena to sell what they have made. They usually sell their cakes by pieces, and one piece is usually about 7.00-8.00 Quetzales, which is about $1.00 U.S…..very cheap! The money that they make goes back to the cooking school to help pay for ingredient costs, but if there is money left over, the women keep this money. After we worked in the cooking school in the morning, Antoinette and I went to visit 2 of the families (of the women who are enrolled in the cooking school). The first house we visited was Lydia's family. It was only Antoinette and I who visited Lydia and neither of them speak English, and I am not fluent in Spanish, BUT, I really feel that the Holy Spirit has helped me to understand these people when we visit them because I have been able to hold a conversation with the people that we visit. Lydia has 3 children and is married. She has been very, very sick….in and out of the hospital for the past few years, and her children have also been very sick. All of the money that they make has gone to hospital bills and to pay for the medicine for Lydia. Antoinette told me that here in Guatemala, when a woman gets very sick, most times the husband will leave the wife/family to find someone else who is not ill to marry (which is CRAZY to me). However, Lydia's husband has been an exception….apparently, he has taken very good care of Lydia and their family and works as much as possible to help pay for her hospital/medical bills. Lydia began to cry when she was giving me her testimony and telling me about her sickness. The people here are so open and transparent. When I go into these houses, I am welcomed as family, and as family, I also bear the burdens that they have, so I am having to pray for strength often because all I want to do is to help, but I know that giving them my time means so much to them. The second house we visited was Ana's family. She is in her late forties (one of the eldest of the students). She does not know how to read/write. Ana has 6 children and is married, so there are 8 of them total. Apparently, a group from the U.S. came to her house last year and added on to it and provided beds for them so each of the children has their own twin sized bed, which is not common here. She told me about how she is struggling to provide for her family because although her husband works, he is struggling with alcoholism. He spends most of their money on his addiction, so there is barely enough to provide for the family. In order to make up for this, Ana works on the weekends….she makes food (mostly tortillas) and sells them to people in the community. Apparently Ana's husband has told her and their family to leave because he does not want to be with her anymore. He told Ana they have 3 weeks to get out, but Ana told him that she would not leave and she had nowhere to take her family. She wept when she talked about her husband and not being able to provide for her family. She told me that she will be sad when I leave to go back to the U.S. My heart just went out to her, and I honestly feel like Ana, along with the other people I have met/visited are my family! Yes, in only a week of knowing them!!! I just want to ask specifically for you all to pray for strength for me this week. I am struggling with wanting to fix all of these problems, and knowing that I can't. I am weighed down with the burden that all of these families are carrying…that only God can handle.
p.s. I can't believe I've been here for a whole week already….it has flown by!