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The National Palace and Central Park

July 14, 2009

Friday, July 10th

Central park and the National Cathedral of Guatemala

Central park and the National Cathedral of Guatemala

On Friday we went to Central Park in Guatemala City.  It is located downtown, next to the National Palace and the National Cathedral.  We were told that at night this location could be very dangerous and to really watch our belongings while there.  It isn’t a “park” in the sense that it had grass, trees, and flowers.  It was mostly cement with a large fountain in the center. When we pulled up, the first thing that struck me was how many pigeons were all over the “park”.  It was also obvious that this was a good location to do the drama.  It was used as a “walkway” to get around this part of the city.

Team 6 doing drama in Central park

Team 6 doing drama in Central park

When we unloaded the bus we located a spot we thought would attract a crowd and started dancing to music.  Within ten minutes we probably had around 100 people gathered to see what was going on.

We did the drama three different times in this location.  Each time we had a good response to the invitation given to accept Christ. Although we were exhausted from two weeks of ministry, our team pushed through and were able to pray with over 100 people by the end of the third drama.  The kids kept running back to the bus to get more Bibles to give away.

Praying with group after drama

Praying with group after drama

They prayed with individuals and also with large groups.  As a I walked among the groups praying, I praised the Lord for His faithfulness.  In the morning I had prayed that God would make Himself known to our kids.  This was our best day of street ministry. The people were interested in the drama and many were eager to talk to us about God.

Many of the people told our kids they didn’t think God could forgive them because of their past sins.  Our kids let them know that NONE of us deserve His forgiveness and that there is nothing we could do to earn it but it is freely offered. All we have to do is repent (meaning to turn away from our sinful past) and accept Him as our Savior.

Zoe praying with women in Central park

Zoe praying with women in Central park

This led many to pray with our kids and ask God to forgive them.  Witnessing someone who is so burdened with their past, eagerly lay their burden down at the feet of Jesus brings this deep feeling of satisfaction.  It can be very emotional.

After we completed the third drama we walked across the street to the Presidential Palace for we had been invited by the wife of the President of Guatemala to meet with her and take a tour of the palace.  It was a special day for our team.  The palace is beautiful although it is more of a museum then a real “palace”.  The presidential family doesn’t live there.  It is more ceremonial than an actual working or living place.

We had a tour guide that took us around the palace.  We saw beautiful rooms, paintings, and water fountains but my favorite part of the tour is what happened in this room that is used for official ceremonies. One of our translators told me that he was shocked we even got to go into this room, because hardly anyone was allowed into the room because the floor is made of this special wood and they didn’t want to scar it.

Team 6 singing "How Great Thou Art"

Team 6 singing "How Great Thou Art"

The guide took us to the center of the room where there is a star-like design in the floor.  He told us that he was Christian just like us.  He told us that it was at this exact same spot that he heard this beautiful sound that changed his life forever.  He said that one day he was in the palace and he heard this English speaking group singing “How Great Thou Art”.  He went home and asked his wife what the song was.  At the time he wasn’t a Christian but she was.  She didn’t recognize the English words, so he hummed it for her and she then recognized it was “How Great Thou Art”. She didn’t know how to sing it in English but sang it for him in Spanish.  The encounter with this song was the beginning of the process of his accepting Christ.  He told us that he loves the song in Spanish, but he prefers to hear it in English because that is how he first heard it.  He then asked our group to sing “How Great Thou Art” in English.  It was beautiful.  It will be one of the memories that I treasure most.

Rose Ceremony in National Palace in Guatemala

Rose Ceremony in National Palace in Guatemala

After the tour we went down to this courtyard to meet the President’s wife.  She came and greeted us and then we witnessed this ceremony that happens every day.  It is called the “Changing of the Rose Ceremony”.  Kathy Gowler, one of the leaders of this trip, was given a rose in which she then placed in the palm of the “Peace Statute”.  This is a high honor.  President Bush participated in this ceremony in 2007. After the ceremony the president’s wife  let us take some photographs with her.

When we got back to the hotel, we went straight to FAGNEM. Chris Wheeler, a youth minister from Nashville, Tennessee was the speaker.  He did a good job of relating to the students and preparing them to go home where they will encounter difficulties.  He adopted a child from Guatemala last year so he really connected with our experience.  He challenged us to go home and talk about Jesus with our friends not necessarily about Guatemala. He reminded us that no one is going to be as excited about our experience in Guatemala as we are so Jesus should be the focus of our conversations when we talk about the last two weeks.

I started the day being most excited about visiting the National Palace, although this experience was special, the memories I will take home are seeing our team pray with people to accept Jesus as their Savior and singing “How Great Thou Art” for the tour guide.

Random Thoughts and Happenings:

One of young adult leaders who is from Conway, Arkansas knows Kris Allen and was in fact on the committee that helped promote him and prepare for his parade during American Idol.  He told me that Kris Allen is an “awesome man of God”.  I love that!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Janis permalink
    July 14, 2009 3:42 PM

    I cried when I read this. What else can I say. God is faithful ! ! Can’t wait to see you in person.

  2. July 15, 2009 2:37 PM

    That is a beautiful story. Not just the salvation in the park, but the singing in the Palace. How a simple song, brought a man to Christ. Amazing.

    By the way, did your shoes serve you well?

    • Jennifer permalink*
      July 15, 2009 9:50 PM

      Thanks Megan. I love my shoes! They are a perfect fit!!

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