Our time in Chajul has been inspiring. Thursday evening we had a simple chicken and black bean dinner at the home of the Presbyterian minister before retiring to our hotel.
Friday, in Chajul, was an extremely busy and emotional day. We began the day by taking the bus to a tiny village outside of Chajul that has just started a Presbyterian church. The church has a congregation of 8 families and the first Mayan female minister. She told us her emotional story of divorce, poverty, desperation and leaving her children in Guatemala City to find work in the rural fields of Guatemala. She and her small daughter lived on coffee for a year because they could not afford food. Finally, she spoke of turning her life around and finding God before accepting her calling and the challenge of starting this uplifting, little church.
They were so appreciative of our clothing and donations for the children of the church. She spoke of the difficulties of starting the church. How members of other churches accused her of being incapable of preaching the gospel because she was a woman and divorced. Because of these accusations, 5 families left her church.
In the afternoon, we went to the Presbyterian church in Chajul. What a wonderful story they can tell. The church was started 15 years ago and now has a congregation of 400! They are in the process of building a school, next to the church, which should open next year.
Finally, we made a pastoral visit to a 92 year old woman in Chajul. She is the oldest person in Chajul. We sang some Spanish hymns and English hymns for her and prayed for her. It was a very moving experience for everyone. We began the last leg of our journey to Panajachel this morning at about 9:00 am. However, before we left we were fortunate enough to have the 4 archeologists who were staying at our hotel kindly offer to show us what they have been doing in Chajul. They took us to a little house with walls over 500 years old. On the walls, underneath 500 years of painting and plastering, were ancient painting done by the Mayans in the 1500’s. It was truly an amazing sight. We hopped on the bus and made our way to Panajachel.