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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

From the Ontario, Canada Work Team

Written by John VanderMeulen
ÓThere's some work that has to be done in Guatemala; would you like to go?Ó That question was given to a group of us, and after prayerful consideration it was off to Cubulco. The compound (where the Bible translation is done and home of the Kattenbergs) was where the work was to be accomplished. In the compound there are three houses. The contents of the house that acts as the office had to be moved into the smallest house so that the Everts family could move there. This involved moving computers and phone lines, upgrading electrical, painting and cleaning. There was also a carport to be constructed and some plumbing to be looked at, along with other odds and ends. The team consisted of Bill Janssen and George Neven of our Brantford church, George Brink and Jeff Bultje of Chatham, and John VanderMeulen of Vineland. Mrs. Herfst's mother, Theresa Brokking, and her cousin, James Bouwmeester, were also there to help.

We flew to Guatemala City and from there we drove to Cubulco, and what a drive it was! The scenery was amazing--winding roads, up and down mountains, and all that is between you and a thousand feet fall are a few rocks and a couple of twigs! You have to see it to believe it! Once in Cubulco we went to the compound, unpacked, and Pastor Herfst gave us a quick tour. It was really something when we saw the words IGLESIA REFORMADA CRISTO ES LA LUZ, our church in Cubulco.

After settling in, it was off to work. Most things went quite smoothly but it was sometimes frustrating when you didn't have the proper tools or the right supplies (no Home Depot in Cubulco). In the end, the carport was finished, the computers and phone lines moved, and lots of painting and cleaning up was done. As far as a team effort goes, it was a success.

Although work was the main reason we went, it wasn't all we did. We couldn't come all the way to Cubulco without seeing all there is to see. We went for a walk up "the hill," a mountain by our standards, and saw a beautiful view of Cubulco. We also visited John and Connie Otten, and John showed us in and around the hospital. We were very impressed with how it is set up and what a great job the Ottens are doing there. Next, it was off to the market. What a busy place! It was surprising to see all the things available, not only local goods but North American goods as well. It is also something to look around at all the people there and realize that everybody is looking at you! One incident occurred when George, Bill and Jeff were buying souvenirs. While they were bartering, a women came in and stood waiting behind them. When they asked Pastor Herfst to tell her to go ahead of them, he told us that she wasn't there to shop, she just wanted to listen to us talk.

One highlight of our trip was when we went to see the bridge. It is an understatement to say that building it was a lot of work. Although now you can drive right to the bridge, when it was being built all the materials had to be carried by hand through the mountains for many miles. Because of problems with the wind catching the bridge and tipping it, every other board was taken out. This made crossing it quite an adventure, which some of us enjoyed more than others!

Another highlight was attending the worship services. They are held on Saturday and Sunday nights. Bible study, Sunday School (for the many children) and a service in Achi are held Sunday mornings. Although Pastor Herfst preaches, other responsibilities in the church service are shared by members, such as Bible reading and leading the singing. We really enjoyed the music (guitar, piano and flute) and the singing of Spanish hymns. It was amazing to be sitting in church in Cubulco, with people of a different culture, background and language, and yet we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. You get a true understanding of what God can and is doing there.

One day while in Cubulco a man came to Pastor Herfst crying. He had heard that they were leaving and wanted him to stay. Pastor Herfst didn't even know the man who then told him that he had been sitting outside the church on the street, listening to the message and then leaving before anyone knew he was there.

Lives are being changed by God. Spending time with the Herfsts and seeing all that they do has changed all of us. Their whole family is so open and giving, not only to us but to everyone they come in contact with. We went there to help them, but in return they did so much for us. We thoroughly enjoyed the meals, the trips to all the sites, and especially the time we spent together getting to know them and all the work that is done. God is doing wondrous things through them. Our eyes have been opened in many respects and our lives have been enriched by the sights and experiences of our time spent there.

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