Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Hope part 2

Contrary to the Bible, and in addition to presenting my prayers and petitions to God, I have been anxious for everything, at least to know the results for these three students.

Additionally, shortly after their round of interviews, I learned that one of the staff was also applying for this scholarship. Lila is a Bilingual receptionist at Potter’s House. Her parents are both full time in the ministry and their only source of income in addition to Lila’s is tithes from their home church.

Guatemala is one of the few remaining places in Central America where the Indegineous culture remains separate from the Spanish influence to a significant degree. In addition to Spanish some 22 languages are still spoken today by people living in the rural parts of Guatemala. Most are descendants of the Mayans. Yet remaining separate comes at a price. The indigeneous people are often descriminated against and for the most part remain very poor. Unable to receive education in their native tongue. Lila is currently learening Quetzekel in hopes of one day becoming an effective educator to those speaking a language from antiquity.

One of the women who work at Potter’s House also happens to be a past recipient of the Walton Scholarship and additionally serves on the first round interview selection committee. So I at least had some idea of how the students did after round one.

Everyone was impressed by Farley, his confidence and gunuinely heartfelt answers had brought something out in the judges and he had received a perfect 60 out of 60. Eulolia did quite well, however, most of the students applying for the scholarship had received significantly higher grades in highschool and she received a 2 out of 10 in this category making it questionable whether she would pass to the next round. Alfredo and Lila both were very nervous in the first round, Alfredo giving mostly yes or no answers, and failing to prove both his English and to adequately describe who he was to the judges.

Saturday took an eternity to arrive, 28 of the original 68 would pass to the second round and 10 of those would receive the scholarship. Saturday morning I called Gabi to learn the results. Unbelievably, all 4 had passed, Lila receiving the 28th spot and Farley the first. I was thrilled. However, first round interview scores were taken into account in the second round.

The next round interviews fell on Thursday and Friday of the following week, however the kids were gone at an English school which had been provided with free tuition for 2 weeks. They had to leave early, and arrived home Tuesday night. We practiced 8 hours on Wednesday, allowing them to practice answers for most of the likely questions. Eulolia went first of all applicants Thursday morning, Farley and Alfredo wanted to continue practicing so they came with me on a work assignment and we practiced interview questions in the car. At around 10 we received a call from the Walton committee saying they wanted to come visit Potter’s House and specifically the houses of the three applicants. I was blown away!..until I talked with Gabi and found out that the first round committee generally visits the houses of those who don’t make it to give them some assistence buying books or something to attend classes in Guatemala. Still good, but I really wanted and continued praying for them to make it all the way. We had also learned some other dissettling news. Of the 10 original scholarships 5 had already been taken from Guatemala and given to other countries because the applicant pool was so strong in those countries. After the first round Gabi was out of the decision making process and we were free to talk, hope and pray to our hearts content. At this point we realized that rationally only 1 or 2 could possibly make it.

Friday arrived, and we learned that it had been the directors who called, not people from the first round, this had to be a good sign right? However, Eulolia and Farley had both scored in the 60’s on a grammer exam taken immediately after their interviews, 80 was the minimum allowable in order to receive the scholarship.

When Gabi spoke with the directors, she learned that there were many good applicants and the decision was a hard one. Probably not going to be made until February of 2006, until after they had seen the applicants from all the countries to decide who would actually make it. I felt like I was going to die, I hadn’t been able to sleep in anticipation.

Just try to think for a minute what this would mean. Your whole life lived within a single zone in a single city. A few hundred meeters from one of the worst places on earth. Your streets are lined with trash, drugs, and signs of death. Amazingly you’ve just finished high school, but it’s time to start contributing to the family. This opportunity is beyond ones wildest dreams, I’ve had conversations with people who dream of escaping to the states in the tire wells of airplanes, and even should they get there they don’t have money or much of a chance. To live in a different country, to get a first rate education, to have the opportunity to tell your family, “That’s it, you don’t have to live here anymore.” To be able to actually start living and saving beyond the next meal.

These were the thoughts running through my head as Gabi and I went to pick up the directors. I sat waiting for the interviews to end on a beautiful leather couch in an extremely nice hotel. I couldn’t get over the contrast.

We finally got the chance to meet the three directors who held the future of our kids in their hands. They told us the decision they had arrived at and I was finally able to breathe again. We got in the car to drive to Potter’s House where all 3 of the kids whose houses would be visited had been waiting since 2 (and Alfredo when he returned from his Interview). When they got to Potter’s House after a brief presentation by the staff. The directors told the kids the results. Contigent on receiving an 80 on the English exams which they will take in April. All 3 will have the chance to begin classes in the fall. Farley at Harding University, Eulolia at John Brown and Alfredo at Ozarks University. Additionally, should they do well in their studies, this will open the doors for Potter’s House and future students of Potter’s House will have the opportunity to study in the states.

God is good, beyond our wildest expectations. 3 of our 4 applicants were able to receive a chance to do something they could never dream of or provide for themselves. They were told immediately, the only three in Guatemala to know before February. Plus, should they do well, the way will be opened for future students.

Pray for

  • PRAISE for the opportunity these 3 kids have and Diligence in studying for Alfredo, Eulolia and Farley
  • That they would receive at least an 80 on their English exam in April
  • A woman in zone three is a single mother and she must pay off her house by the end of this month. She had the money saved, but then she hurt her leg and now she doesn’t have a penny of it left. She is a widow and after the fire in February her kids are no longer allowed to help her scavenge and she is unable to walk to the dump. Should she be unable to pay she will be evicted. She needs just Q5000 to pay for her house. (between 600-700 dollars)
  • Many children are unable to go to school because they have to work all day. This week I leanred about a 5 year old who sits in a room cleaning out plastic bottles all day long. She works in the dark because her parents don’t want to use the money for electricity and she is not allowed outside to play unaccompanied because they fear for her safety.
  • My grandpa’s salvation and continued health

Thank you so much for your prayers and emails

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Dear friends and family,

In the midst of it all, sometimes I wonder whether what we do is really making a difference. Crime is at an all time high, just the other week the guard who watches the dump overlook was shot. Broken families are still the norm, and there’s no shortage of passed out or drug abusing men adorning the streets. Yet just the other day I had the chance to see hope in the form of three teenagers, and what a blessing it was.

Sometimes worse than the poverty itself is the monotony. You work unbelievably long days simply to provide food to survive, and you survive it seems simply to work. When you can’t save and you don’t have extra, there’s not all that much to look forward to. When an entire lifetime is contained within 8 or 10 city blocks, even hope becomes just a dream. However this Saturday was an event that oozed purpose in a world of such seemingly meaningless wandering. While for a majority of us in the states, finishing a year of school signifies nothing more than summer break, and graduation from high school is almost a given, for many of those in the dump it’s nothing short of a miracle.

If hope is to be found anywhere here, it’s in the kids. Maybe that’s one of the reasons people have so many. Saturday was a chance to reap that hope in tangible form. Saturday was graduation. Regardless of grade completed, all students are a part of the event, and almost double that amount of supporting family members. For a brief hour or two everyone forgets the myriad of problems that exist and we just enjoy the celebration at hand, admiring the achievement for what it is.

For three very special students, this is the last graduation at Potter’s House they will ever celebrate. Farley, Eulolia and Alfredo have completed high school. They are each the first in their family to have EVER gotten this far. But they aren’t finished yet. While attending school, in their spare time, with the help of volunteers, donations, and a scholarship to a language school, they have each learned English. On Friday I had the chance to coach them on interviewing and on Saturday they interviewed in the second round applying for a full scholarship to one of 3 colleges in the US. Having the chance to hear their stories has been one of if not my favorite moment that I’ve been here.

Farley is the oldest of 7, tough and confident while still reserving a smile for everyone, he’s a natural leader and while his English is the worst of the three, his answers are the best. Eulolia is both smart and beautiful, she’s extremely shy one on one but is an excellent speaker in front of crowds. She gives a wonderful speech at graduation and has already finished specialization as a bilingual secretary. Her father still works in the dump, searching for tires that still have a bit of life left in them. Alfredo is outgoing and always looking to be helpful. Recently, his father has been able to find work outside of the dump and now makes and sells piñatas. Surprisingly, and quite revealing, is the fact that all three of them live in two parent homes. And none of their fathers drink. All three of them share a common goal. To go to college in the states in order to bring back their skills and help their families and communities escape life in the dump. Eulolia puts it best when she says, “I want them to see that life is more than garbage.”

As we practice interview, it’s evident that these kids are smart. Apart from the actual content of their answers, they could be kids from any US private school. Their posture is good, and although they speak a bit slow, they are understandable and well-spoken. Additionally, they constantly give thanks to God for making all these opportunities possible. Their faith is astounding.

They find out if they advance to the next round in 2 weeks. I can’t think of a time I’ve wanted anything more badly than for them to be able to have this opportunity. Should they receive the scholarship, and should they keep their grades above a 2.5GPA. They will receive four years tuition, room and board, books, 2 round trip tickets per year (Christmas and summer), health insurance, and a $125 stipend monthly. Expanding their known world from a few miles to a few thousand. Thankfully, the applicant pool is small this year, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Of 68 applicants only 10 will receive the scholarship. Hope is there, but it has retained its slender figure.

Prayer Updates and Requests:

Hurricane Stan: Thank you so much for the support and prayer in response to my email. While here in Guatemala City we were relatively unaffected, Guatemala itself was hit worse by this Hurricane than any other country, suffering over 600 deaths and many more missing. One village was officially declared a mass graveyard by the government after days of searching only revealed bodies. While the initial damage has been done, the suffering in Guatemala continues, as houses need rebuilding, and much of the crops have been destroyed. In a country where many people live at a subsistence level, any disruption of the inflow is a matter of life and death. Please continue to pray.

As far as the dump, while the City experienced unusual amounts of rain, the dump was not closed, allowing work to continue as normal. Thanks for your prayers

Stan Hill (my grandpa): I was absolutely overwhelmed by how many people are praying. Thank you so much I continue to covet your prayers. My grandpa is doing a little better physically. So Praise God for that. He has had the opportunity presented to him to accept Christ, and now the choice is between Him and God. But please continue to pray!

Farley, Eulolia, Alfredo: Pray for wisdom for the judges, that if it be the Lord’s Will all three would be able to study in the states. Also pray for continued diligence for the three regardless of the outcome, and that if they don’t receive the scholarships that they would still have a way to attend college in Guatemala.

Potter’s House: Potter’s House is about to celebrate its 19th year of service. It is an amazing organization that has accomplished an unbelievable amount thanks to God and the help of volunteers. Yet we all need the continued help of our Lord. As the organization continues to grow larger and larger, pray for the leadership as they learn to delegate responsibility. Pray for wisdom in how to delegate and that they would grant the authority to carry out responsibilities given. Also pray for me, that He would give me patience in times of frustration. That I would be understanding of differences in culture. Don’t get me wrong, I love it here, but we can all use prayer.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

God Bless,

-Enoch Hill

The Other Stan

Today seems to just be one of those days. After writing the email about Hurricane Stan this morning I spoke with my brother and learned some more bad news.

My grandfather, Stan Hill, was diagnosed with terminal congestive heart failure. According to the diagnosis, he has between a few days and a few years to live. My grandfather is one of greatest men I know. His entire life has been devoted to other people, to youth, to education, to those less fortunate, to his friends, to his family, and to his wife. He has had a long and full life. He is a wonderful grandfather and I both love and respect him very much.

Once again I am asking for your prayer,

Pray for relief from pain,

for health,

For comfort and encouragement for Doris (my grandmother), and for his kids,

Also, while I realize that some of you do not agree with me in my beliefs of God and Jesus as the son of God, I include the following requests out of my love for my grandpa. If I truly believe in heaven and hell, and I also believe that the only way to heaven is through the son of God, Jesus Christ, that eternity literally does lie in the balance. Then respect for your beliefs must take a second place to my love for my grandfather and hope for his future. Therefore I ask ALL of you to pray for his salvation. If anyone could save themselves by works alone, it would be my grandpa. But the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 that: 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. So Pray: that he would realize that while he is one of the closest to perfect people I have ever met, he still has sinned and needs a savior. That he would accept Jesus’ perfect life and sacrifice on the cross as payment for his sins. And Jesus’ resurrection as well as the apostles writings as proof of his forgiveness.

Thank you all once again for your time, support, and prayers

God Bless,

-Enoch Hill

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hurricane Stan

Dear friends and Family,

I realize that writing this so soon after my last email violates my no more than once every two week rule but I figured this was important.

Guatemalan Government has just declared our status as red. After Dennis, Katrina, and Rita many of us are hurricaned out, tired of seeing the suffering on our televisions. Yet the suffering continues whether we hear about it or not.

Let me introduce you to Stan, Katrina’s little brother. This past week, Stan has claimed lives in over half of the countries of Central America including El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, and yes even Guatemala. At least 6 deaths occurred this morning. On top of that, thousands are losing their homes.

Remember the charming little hamlet of San Marcos that I visited just under a week ago? In this short time they have gone from picturesque village to disaster zone. They are currently one of the regions “incomunicado,” they don’t have electricity, they don’t have their phone lines, and while they have too much water, they don’t have clean water. Even worse, the mountainous terrain that is Guatemala is extremely prone to landslides. Blocked roads have made traveling in and out of the region a virtual impossibility.

But what is impossible for man is possible for God and that is my primary purpose for writing. Please Pray!

Pray for the families that have lost loved ones

For those who have lost their homes and possessions

That roads would be cleared and relief would begin

For the sickness and disease that comes from stagnant water and not being able to be dry

In and around the dump people have also been affected by the hurricane. While we have not received the brunt of the storm, the uncharacteristically high amounts of rain have made living conditions miserable, for houses that already couldn’t hold out the rain the increased load have soaked and even threatened to collapse the homes of many. Increased rain has also made the terrain within the dump extremely unstable and dangerous, preventing many people from their only source of income. The government is thinking of closing down the dump during this time. While that would keep these people safe from immediate harm, it raises the question of what these 10,500 people will do for daily income and food until the dump is reopened. Finally, unusually low temperatures have added to the inability to dry out and sickness is running rampant. The leadership of Potter’s House is meeting right now to decide how they should respond in the midst of this situation.

Please Pray!

Pray for those who have lost their homes.

Pray for those unable to work and buy food during this time.

Pray for those who are sick and cold

Pray for wisdom for Potter’s House leadership of how to respond during this time.

Thank you for your time and continued support of the people of Guatemala

God Bless,


On the Secular Side

Dear Friends and Family,

While I spend roughly 9 hours a day in the office, a lot of time remains to experience Guatemala outside of Potter’s House. So, this letter is dedicated to those moments. As always, let us begin with a few statistics/facts. The median income of Guatemala is roughly $1400 annually. Almost the entire upper/middle class has a maid, and you might too if it only cost you 110$ a month for 25 hours a week of maid service. Apparently political correctness hasn’t struck yet as anyone even the least bit overweight picks up the nickname “Gordito/a” (Fatty), which apparently is a nice thing to say. The far and away majority of Guatemala is Catholic and birth control is avoided like the plague.

Case and point, I play soccer on Saturday’s at 4:30 with a family…1 family. This extended family can create an entire team out of their male family members. They pretty much fit the stereotypical Guatemalan family to a t. A few years back they moved from one of the villages in the country to the city. Not because they wanted to, but to follow the money. The father of the family has 11 brothers and sisters including himself. Five have gone to the United States in search of better jobs (often just the husband will go to the states, in the hopes of working a few years, and sending whatever they can back to their family). Only two or three remain in their hometown hamlet.

Last week this family invited me to their village because there was a festival and a “cuadrangular” which means a four team soccer tournament. San Marcos is high in the mountains (even higher than Denver) and adjacent to the Mexico border near the west side. Believe it or not, the altitude is high enough to make the temperature downright chilly, and also makes walking a draining workout due to lack of oxygen. While located in the mountains, that doesn’t prevent the primary occupation from being farming. No, the land isn’t flat, but you should see these people’s calf muscles. I guess working a farm at a 45 degree angle will do that for you. Of course all the really flat pieces of land are reserved for soccer pitches, the one we will be playing on rests on the top of a mountain. Really beautiful but you’d better not kick the ball far off the field or you have to run down a mountain to retrieve it. Also, I have to imagine that the view was spectacular, unfortunately a cloud decided to perch on top of the peak and I couldn’t see the other side of the field, much less the surrounding view.

Well after a 5 ½ hour drive in a car where the most English anyone knew other than myself was how to count to three, we arrived. We donned our jerseys and the father gave a prep talk. Even though I only understood the half of it, I was pretty pumped to play. It was a full 90 minute game and we won 3 to zero, luckily I scored 2 goals and so they let me stay.

Back at Eleodoro’s (the father) brother’s house, we dined on this absolutely bland tasting bread, potatoes with nothing to go on them, a vegetable called ava’s which seem to be related to peas, and coffee, this meal was repeated for dinner and breakfast the next day. I actually like coffee now and have started electing it when offered. There was a bit more verity including chicken (which was excellent) and some corn (not sweet corn and not good corn) as well as some pineapple (AMAZING) for dinner. The next morning Eleodoro took me for a tour through his family’s land, we went to Eleodoro’s house (which he still owns), and went inside, it was almost straight out of a movie, I felt like a little boy following the futbol guru around. Anyways, inside the house with virtually no belongings was a dresser COVERED in trophies and medals. The bed had a man sized trophy sleeping on it. Not wanting to disturb the trophy’s slumber, we quickly exited. Outside was a honeybee farm ran wild, a few pigs, a dozen cats, a pair of dogs, a chicken tied to a board and a picturesque soccer pitch lying in the valley surrounded by the houses of Eleodoro’s brothers. The pitch only had one entrance from the south, every other side was walled by cliffs that went straight up from the pitch and one cliff on the west side that went down into these gorgeous green pastures spotted by cows, horses, and empty Gatorade bottles (yeah, even the Guatemalan country side could learn a thing or two about garbage cans and littering). Needless to say, the weekend was a magical one. We ended up winning the championship 2 to 1. The game ended in a mini-fight and everyone started running onto the field which I guess meant the game was over. On the economic side, for lunch we stopped at a little stand, my lunch of a chuchito, two tostadas and a glass of rice milk cost me about 67 cents. We splurged on dinner, fried chicken, beans rice and of course, coffee. Total cost: $1.50. I returned from my adventure, arriving back at the Riveras Thursday night with an additional trophy for Eleodoro’s room, a sack of potatoes, (those that didn’t roll all the way down the hill and off the cliff while we were harvesting them), A bruise on my right side from 5 hours in a car packed way too full of people, and a lifetime memory of San Marcos.

Life is good.

Love and Blessings

-Enoch Hill

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Chicken Soup for the Soul - Guatemalan Style

“Are you sure you want to keep this?”
As we clean the refrigerator I find a half eaten hot dog. Brenda, the second oldest daughter of the Rivera family assures me that her father will eat it later.
-This country could really use a Martha Stewards, or at least a Martha Stewards without stock options- I think to myself,
Honestly, no one in this country knows how to use a refrigerator.
After we “cleaned” the fridge (more of a rearranging than anything). I didn’t think much of the experience.
Work lately has been quite transitional. I’ve finished my stint at association Vida Nueva, and while I absolutely loved it there, I’m glad I’ve got a chance to see a few other parts of what Potter’s House does.
A week out of Vida Nueva, I find myself somewhat in charge of a youth group that has ratio’s taken right out of the loan department. 11 girls and 2 guys with two couples in charge. Monday morning we arrive at Aguilar colony, one of the 16 colonies that Potter’s House is currently doing construction projects in. A steep ravine frames the small hamlet, houses jutting out of the side of the steep edges. The other side looks like it might be a magic eye. But if you stare at it long enough, you won’t see a secret image, you’ll just see a pile of garbage built up over the years. As we walk down stairs built by another group from Potter’s House earlier this year, we are met by the sounds of gun shots, oh wait no, those are just fire crackers. The typical form of celebration and greeting in this country never ceases to make me jump just a little. Aguilar community is happy to meet us, we are introduced to Alejandra, the community leader and begin to play a game to get to know each other.
We also are introduced to our week’s work project, our estrogen endowed construction crew will be hand mixing cement, building a number of sidewalks, stairways, and retaining walls.
By the end of the first day everyone is tired, and this was only a half day. Alejandra informs us that Pedro, an 18 year old we’d met that morning, is quite sick. So the 18 of us literally jam into the one room house and make a crinkly circle around the bed to pray. His aunt is extremely thankful that we’d be willing to do it.
By the third day there is a general consensus that money should be raised for a cement mixer, but already the community looks a bit different, a stairway, a retaining wall and a new walkway have all been finished. As I lug yet another bag of cement, hardly able to hold it up, Lluvia, one of the strongest women I have ever met, walks by with a bag of arena (sand) on her shoulders that weighs nearly double mine. She informs us of how much better it has been since they have the stairs now. She describes carrying all her things up and down the side of a muddy ravine in the middle of rainy season. It sounds miserable. And now, they even occasionally have people come and visit them, something that never happened when their community was so hard to reach. The annual rainy season also takes it’s toll on the houses, every year a number will collapse, hopefully the retaining walls will give the houses a chance.
The second day I find myself working with Carlos, one of the men from the community. I soon learn he’s had the fortune to be a truck driver. Earlier in my stay in Guatemala, Julio, (my boss at Vida Nueva) informed me that if you want to pick up girls in Zone three, the best job to have is garbage truck driver, that’s practically the highest rung on their corporate ladder.
Carlos works incredibly hard, helping mix and throw cement, I learn about his family, all his children. Later I learn he’s younger than me and I want to throw up. But instead I smile and we decide to play futball (soccer) that Friday.
Everyone who has a chance comes to help us with the cement project, the children, the old, even a woman who’s 7 months pregnant picks up a shovel and starts mixing.
The girls from the youth group I’m with do a great job and somehow we manage to finish all the retaining walls by the end of the last day. They’ve also brought a number of suitcases of clothes to donate so that on the last day of work, there is a time for all the kids in the community to line up and get a new shirt or pair of pants.
The goodbye ceremony is surprisingly difficult. After a very cute rendition of David and Goliath put on by the kids of the community for our group translated by Samuel one of our two translators, everyone begins to realize that this is really it. By the end, everyone, even the guys are crying, God pitches in with a bit of rain to finish off the scene. Gifts, hugs and photos are exchanged and no one really wants to leave but the time has come.
For the last time Gethsemane Lutheran Church climbs the stairs, part of it mixed and laid by their own hands. The now familiar sound of firecracker sends us off letting us know that our time here was appreciated. The younger children accompany us up the stair way and as far down the street as they’re allowed. Another round of hugs and good byes to the kids and it’s over. Gethsemane heads back to Potter’s House but their hearts are still in the ravine of 1 room houses, of barefooted boys and wandering chickens. I however have a soccer game to get to. Quickly changing my clothes, Pedro, Lluvia, Carlos and a few more of Aguilar community accompany me to the local futball pitch. While the field is pure dirt it’s also pure soccer. They make fun of each other and me in the way of old friends and I try to defend myself in my broken Spanish. Shortly thereafter another crew from a different community arrives and we play community vs community. Our team wins 3-2 and as we head back Carlos invites me to share a coke with him. While I feel bad about him spending what little money he doesn’t have on me I’m also honored beyond belief. Pedro (who’s still a bit sick) and Carlos insist on escorting me back to Potter’s House and I return after one of the most tiring but best week’s of my life.
Back at Potter’s House, I haven’t been needing to eat my sandwiches that I receive daily from the Rivera’s because I’ve been eating with the volunteer group, but that’s no problem. There are now a host of boys who are willing to help me out with my sandwich hanging around the doors of Potter’s House when I return. The next week when I am working inside, anything the other volunteers or myself don’t eat at lunch, the lunch ladies are happy to take off our hands. And what do you know? I checked the other day and the half eaten hot dog was no longer in our fridge.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Price of an Orange

“Buenos Dias,”
“Buenos Dias,”
“How do you call yourself?”
“Is your mom dead?”
“What’s her name?”
In many ways, when the children are at school, it’s difficult to tell the difference from them and any other classroom of kids. But little reminders such as this conversation serve to jolt us back to reality. For lunch on Friday, instead of juice, someone had provided cans of soda for all the students. After lunch, a number of the workers in the kitchen and teachers were going around with black bags collecting the cans separately from the rest of the garbage. One assistant teacher was going through the garbage can, food and all, searching for any cans that might have gotten mixed in. The interesting thing was that after everyone had collected their cans, they didn’t just put them in a bucket and leave them. They all took their findings along with them. I remember back to an earlier walk with Lazaro. After we finished our canned juices, he told me to set the empty cans out on the side of the sidewalk and within 10 or 15 minutes they’d be gone. When you collect enough aluminum you can sell it. Enough said.
This past week I had the pleasure of working directly with a short term volunteer group. 23 people from a church in New Jersey came to give a week of their lives to helping the treasures surrounding the dump (Treasure is the word Potter’s House uses in place of scavenger because scavenger has a negative connotation here). After a day of touring, the group was welcomed to Potter’s House by one of the 100 communities surrounding the dump called Santa Piedra (Holy Rock). Potter’s House has separated the area surrounding the dump into these communities and has assigned each a community leader from within to listen to the needs of the people in the community (this one was made of roughly 25 or 30 families). These leaders will then present their needs to Potter’s House who will allocate volunteer groups to the approved projects. The project in Santa Piedra was to install concrete floors in place of the mud ones in two houses and to paint the gigantic cafeteria of the Potter’s House building.
A seriously multi mediatric welcome the presentation included the warm greetings of the people, dozens of balloons strung between houses and the wall separating their community from the dump, the sickening-sweet smell of rotting garbage, and the gun-like bangs of a 25 foot string of firecrackers (unfortunately for neighbors this also seems to be the traditional method of waking someone up on their birthday). While only two families would be receiving floors roughly 50 from the community showed up to welcome the North Americans. The session was a tear jerker for Guatemalans and Gringos alike as the locals expressed their overwhelming gratitude for the volunteers. Expressing their unbelief that, “Someone from farther away than I can ever dream of visiting cares enough about me to come and help?” Others described the hope and joy at seeing their community improve over the past decade or so, that change was happening, one giving a testimony of her life over the last few decades. One of the two women who would be receiving floors breaking down into tears describing how faithful God is and her joy that she mattered enough for Him to hear her prayers. The mud-caked children looking up curiously at the proceedings, contributing to the chorus of Puedo Ver? (Can I see?) as the gringos took photos with their digital cameras. A comment from one of the older women that this was the first time she had EVER seen what she looked like.
After pulling a 12 hour day on Saturday we finished all the work projects and there was a goodbye from the same community. Unfortunately I was unable to attend. An alter call (without an alter) was given and 4 people chose to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. It was an amazing week for both the volunteers and those who were helped. Numerous people expressed to me how much this week had changed them and their seemed to be a general desire to return the following year.
After work I return to the Rivera’s. Unlike our zoning in the states where we have the luxury of completely ignoring the poor should we desire, corrugated tin and aluminum shacks are crammed between the more affluent houses, guarded by high walls topped with barbed wire and locked doors behind that. Between that and the guards wielding shotguns, it’s hard to forget the higher levels of crime. The Rivera’s are a family of 5, the mother Llaneth (pronounced Janet) works at Potter’s House, one of the daughters is attending college to be an architect, another is working 70 hours a week in a Residency type program in order to become a doctor. (twice a week she has a 29 hour shift, is that even legal?) And the third has landed a job with her English skills and is currently receiving calls for a States based cell-phone company that are channeled through Miami. She desires to attend college someday but currently is helping to support the family. Nery, my host father, between us volunteers and the family ends up chauffeuring roughly 40 hours a week. In addition to this he has recently opened up an internet café and lately has been spending his evenings there. They have been a huge blessing to live with and they’ve asked me to say thank you to everyone in the states who is supporting me so “Thanks” from the Rivera’s.
One last story before I forget, for this one we have to think back to the days of the fantastic four (no, I’m not referring to the new movie, I’m referring to us four Wheaties before the other three left). We had stopped at a market and the moment we stepped out we met a barrage of people desperate to sell their goods. Among other things were these beautiful hand made baskets, with hand made yarn designs. This stop was after nearly two months of Guatemala experience and we had become proficient at saying, “no”. When they saw that we were not going to buy, one of the girls offered to simply trade this beautiful basket for Sally’s orange. AN ORANGE. I have no idea how long it takes to make a hand made basket with yarn sewn on top, but the fact that they were willing to trade the materials and that much time for an orange was overwhelming. Sally, being the virtuous daughter of Christ that she is, handed over the orange for free. I watched as the girl took the orange back to her family and the 8 or 9 of them split it and ate it hungrily. I hope this story will help you enjoy your next orange just a little bit more.
Love you all and God Bless,

Support Letter

Enoch in Guatemala
August 2005

At Urbana during Christmas of 2003 I made a promise to God that I would serve for a year of missions after I graduated from College. A number of circumstances made me back that number down to 2 months which I have just completed with Potter’s House in Guatemala. However, recently God has made it clear that my promise to serve a year still stands.
Potter’s House is a Guatemalan run ministry that is located less than a block away from the city garbage dump. Smelling strongly of rotting garbage and inhabited by more flies than people, casa del alferero (Potter’s House) offers hope to those who’ve spent their lives literally living in the garbage. In addition to basic relief including sandwiches, shoes and blankets, Potter’s house works to make a permanent difference in the lives of its treasures (a treasure is what they call anyone who relies on the garbage for their living). One unique aspect of Potter’s House is that it is run by Guatemalans, even more striking is the large portion of the staff who previously scavenged in the dump. For the last last two months I have worked in the micro loans department where we make loans of less than a few hundred dollars allowing the people to have enough capital to get out of the dump and start their own small business (fruit stands, barber shops, auto repairs, snow cones, etc.)
It's been life changing to live here, it really makes you think a lot about what's important. In many ways life is different here, some things are much worse, like crime is rampant (I got robbed the other day, although I ended up getting away without paying a thing), I saw a car intentionally hit a homeless man and sometimes death isn't the worst of it, surviving in poverty is. Then on the other hand, some things are much better, people actually take time to talk to other people. The guy at the local restaurant knows all our names, we actually talk. You realize a lot more about what Jesus was talking about with the poor. I'm a bigger believer in a social gospel than I was before. Just because we don't see poverty doesn't mean it's not our responsibility. So there's that combined with my promise at Urbana and I just don't think I can leave. I made an agreement last Wednesday that I will stay for another 10 months in order to complete a year.
So now I find myself in the opposite situation from where I expected to be. Instead of earning money at Allstate and supporting missionaries I'm giving up my job that pays a salary and am looking for support. Here are the details: I'm trying to raise $1000 a month for 10 months. I figure if I can find 50 people who are willing to pledge $20 a month for 10 months I'll be set. I don't know how much you care for the breakdown but here it is. $625 a month goes to food, housing and transportation to and from work and to church. This is a package deal and is done through Potter's House. $100 dollars a month goes to Potter's House itself for their staff and bills. The remaining $275 monthly will go for medical costs and medical insurance, clothing (I only have two pairs of pants down here), transportation and food outside of work, any additional unforeseen expenses, and a plane ticket at the end of 10 months. If I end up raising too much, the additional will be split between a fulltime missionary here named Matt who is currently under funded, and Potter's House towards sponsoring children, many of whom live and work in the dump.

Monday, July 25, 2005

12 in a Room?

Dear Friends and Family,

Last week I shared a room with 11 kids and one teenager who all live in Zone three (a zone that shares a border with the dump). I shared a valley with 120 kids and roughly 20 counselors in addition to roughly 20 gringos surrounded by lush green mountains (mountains that share a border with the sky). I shared a country with roughly 12 million people (A country that shares a border with Mexico, Belize and El Salvador). A country full of juxtaposition. Hundreds of single room shacks on the side of a breathtaking volcano wearing the clouds for clothes. A garbage dump filling a glorious gorge. Beautiful women carrying bags of garbage on their heads, wearing a creased smile on their face while harboring years of misery, of abuse and of deadly diseases in their bodies. The richness of the land here is indescribable a screaming contrast next to the poverty of the people.

Friday was the last day of camp. Camp was a chance to see an inside view of another aspect of Potters House’s ministry, the children. A definite high point of school is camp, located roughly three hours away, completely surrounded by mountains, lies Chiquimula. A town of roughly one hundred thousand people and one hundred degree weather. Near the town is the camp. Even seven weeks ago when we first arrived, the excitement for camp was building. Children and teachers both constantly asking if we were going to go with. For many of the children, this is their first time out of the city. Everyone is excited for the pool, even the teachers. Virtually no one knows how to swim. If you want to imagine it, picture 100 kids all packed into the shallow third of an averaged size hotel pool and a practically vacant deep end with a few gringos here and there teaching kids to float.
Camp is a chance to get away from work, from the time these kids can walk they have been helping their parents scavenge, unlike in the states, vacation days at school are sad for the kids because they simply mean another day working the dump. Camp is a chance to use a shower and to have your own bed. (Many of the kids share beds with brothers and sister, for example the first night my campers felt lonely by themselves and slept three to a bed.) Camp is a chance to get away from the dump, the idea of a trash can is a foreign concept to these kids. When you live in a dump, it doesn’t matter where you throw your garbage and so consequently, by the end of camp, our floor very much resembled home for the kids. Even the teachers (many of whom come from the dump) don’t understand the concept of littering. For example, after collecting the garbage from the bus, the teachers proceeded to throw the bags out the window. Camp is a chance to learn about Christ, the theme of camp was Mission Possible, and the children were taught the values of obedience, service, and thankfulness. The final night they prayed for all the things they had to be thankful for and it was very touching. They remembered those less fortunate than them, those who had no food, who didn’t have a place to sleep or someone to take care of them.
The school is a chance for hope in the future for the kids. These kids don’t know anything more than the dump, when I asked Rigo, an 11 year old in my cabin, what he wanted to do when he grew up if he could do anything, he responded that he wanted to be a teacher at Potter’s House. If he decides to follow through, he has a ways to go ahead of him, after finishing six years of school at Potter’s House, he will have to complete 3 years of basic school and then 3 years at a university for a teaching degree. In return, he will be able to apply for a teaching job. Which, should he secure a position, will award him with roughly 7 dollars a day. This in itself would be a huge improvement for him, but in addition he will get the chance to change the lives of hundreds more kids surrounding the dump, have meals provided, and have a safe and healthy place indoors to work.

While there are many good things going on here, there is still a huge amount of suffering. The other day while we were out in the city collecting for Vida Nueva, we came across Lesbia who is dying from cancer, she has spent all her money on doctors bills and is unable to repay her loan. So we pray for her but what more can we do? Past that what should we do? The questions are difficult, can we cancel her debt? Everyone who can’t repay has a very touching story, but Vida Nueva is already under pressure from it’s donors to show results, to continue towards self sufficiency. Maybe you can help? (If you really want to help let me know and I’ll get you the information you need to help out). The next house we visit is the home of a single woman, her husband was a bus driver but was recently murdered in a robbery, now she works a small business and at the same time tries to raise her two very young children.
Last weekend, while me and a friend were walking down the street we witnessed a homeless man walking slowly across the street, a car became impatient and started honking. After a few more seconds, the driver apparently had had enough and drove off, hitting the man as he left. The striking part was that nobody seemed to notice or care. A few people stared out of store windows, but we all have enough to worry about simply to survive, how can we help you? The man attempts to stand and fails. The people here are too poor, perhaps too calloused by their own pains to help out. Are we too rich, too calloused by our own comfort to help? I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, thirsty and you gave me something to drink. We give the man some money and he stares up at us in confusion. Too many nights on the street and years of sniffing glue have broken his mind, and now his body is broken too. My friend phones the hospital but it is closed so we leave and make our way back to the home of my friend Lazaro. Quit staring at me, what more do you want me to do?
The four room building is home to 11. Kept very clean and neat, Lazaro spends his weekends working with his dad to make additions to the house. During the week Lazaro’s dad works various construction jobs in the neighboring cities, his mom has a job as a cook in a ministry for AIDS children. Senor Pirir pummels me with questions about the Bible as their children serve us dinner. They are a beautiful and pious family and consider themselves blessed. I am touched by their hospitality and it really sinks in how little we really need to be happy, as well as how little time I have left here.
With only two weeks to go I am becoming exited to return to America but also am sad to have so little time left with these people. I have come to love the people I work with as well as our host family. The Rivera’s have been a huge blessing to live with.
It’s getting late, only 4 and a half hours until the rooster crows. So I should go to bed. Please pray for Nery (our Papa and seemingly full time Chauffer) as well as Tracy and Shane, all who are feeling a bit under the weather.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, I love getting your replies.
God Bless,

Got Time?

Dear Friends and Family,

Not only is punctuality not a virtue for people here, even the television stations seem to have no concept of time. The Academia (think American Idol meets Central America) runs for four hours every Sunday. The movie on TV just finished at 9:41…exactly. Just about the only thing that does keep time is the roosters. Unfortunately their day starts precisely at 4:30 AM. An hour and a half later we are up and showering.
Shower water is heated in a little heating coil directly above the shower head. There is only on or off, to get hotter water you turn the pressure down, more water means cold water. This is luxury compared to most houses, who have water for about an hour a day. They fill up all their buckets during this hour and use it throughout the remainder of the day. Still these people are better off than most around the dump. Their showers come direct from above, and their baths from below. As their dirt floors are finally drying out from last nights rain we arrive at Potter’s House. Today is particularly pungent as the rain water has accentuated the smell. Unlike the squirrels and deer that run rampant where I live in the US. The local wildlife consists of a myriad of vultures hovering over the dump and literally hundreds of lactating dogs running the streets. A few minutes later I find myself three blocks away at AVN (Associacion Vida Nueva) (Micro Loan Department) even here the smell remains overwhelming. I can’t imagine what it must be like for those who work directly in the dump.
Like normal I am not the first one to arrive. Lazaro, a 21 year old who lives in one of the neighboring towns is already here. Unlike me his day began before the rooster’s alarm. Every day he wakes at 4:00AM in order to take the two hour bus ride from Chimaltinango to Guatemala City. Spending roughly 10% of his daily earnings on bus fare. He won’t return until after I leave, fortunately the traffic isn’t as bad in the evening and he can make the trip in an hour and a half. The thirteen + hour work day is followed by school where he is studying to be a lawyer. Someday he hopes to have a family, be a lawyer, and own a small store. Apparently working two jobs is the norm here, yet somehow everybody still has time to talk with you.
As Lazaro doesn’t speak English I guess I’ve learned to converse to some extent in Spanish. At least I’ve passed the point where I can speak faster than I can play charades. Today I spend my time sorting checks and entering deposits into the computer. As I sort the checks I start to wonder why so many of them have thumbprints and then I realize that it’s because they can’t write. Walter informs me that Guatemala has the highest illiteracy rate in Central America and his figure of 60% is overwhelming (please note that when I give statistics I have received through people here, there is a great chance that I misunderstood something when translating from Spanish to English, add to that the fact that many statistics are made up on the spot and 60% is better stated as a lot of people are illiterate).
Back at Potter’s House the summer teams have started coming in from the states. Churches will supply one to two teams per week until the end of the rainy season (the end of August). Teams have and will continue to work in the surrounding communities. Potter house employees have helped create a system of communities to organize the people surrounding the dump. The communities have roughly 100 community leaders who will meet with their communities to let Potter’s house know what types of work projects can help their community. For example, one community has petitioned for concrete to be laid in their streets in order that rain water will flush faster through their community leaving the mud floors in their houses dry.
Most people who live near the dump know about Potter’s House and that they are a Christian Organization. As this week’s team handed out food and new shoes while helping to build a number of houses, many begin to ask about Christ.
Back at Potter’s two of my friends from Wheaton work in the school. Sally tells me about one of her fellow teachers who grew up in the dump. She had a number of kids and a husband with a drinking problem. Approximately 10 years ago her sister told her about Potter’s House and she decided to give it a try. Receiving help and hope she continued to get involved in the activities offered by Potter’s House. Fast forward to today, she works in the very place she once came to for help. She says she can’t believe that they would pay her to stay in this place. Her husband hasn’t had a drink in years and they were just recently able to buy a real house. In addition, with help in regards to funding from Potter’s House, she has recently received her Bachelor’s degree and has started her master’s degree in medicine. Most importantly she has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who she has claimed as her Lord and Savior. While not all stories are as happy as this one, God is definitely working through Potter’s House to make a tangible difference here both physically and spiritually.
I really want to write about my host family, but there is one other thing that I also want to write about and I am afraid to write too much. So just know that the Rivera’s have been absolutely marvelous to live with.
Ok the other thing that I wanted to write about is something that’s been on my mind lately. In my heart of hearts I’m a Christian but just outside that I’m an economist. After my last email I received a number of replies with sayings roughly equal to, “Doesn’t the way these people live make a person feel guilty for all the things we have?” And you know what? It does, at least for me, and it should. And I think that’s a good start, but it must lead to action. And I don’t want to euphemize the power out of these feelings just so that we can feel comfortable with the way we live. After seeing how hard these people work, there is no way I can say that all I have I deserve.
I’ve been reading a book (“God’s Politics”) lately that accuses religious Republican’s of getting caught up on a few issues like abortion and homosexuality and forgetting about everything else. And you know what? I think to some extent, he’s right. Especially when it comes to the poor. However, as a Christian Republican I believe that the government is inefficient at helping the poor, and that it is better done through individuals. That is IF individuals, (that’s me and you) actually start doing something with the money that we don’t end up giving to the government.
How many times do we see a poor person on the street and not give money to them because we assume they’re going to use it for drugs and alcohol (this may be a justifiable thought). But the problem is, the money we say we would have given to them had we known their intentions to be good, we most likely will never give to the poor. Whether it be our laziness or our selfishness we Christian Republican’s don’t do all that great a job of really giving that extra money we save through a smaller government towards the poor or towards some other worthy endeavor. Maybe the democrats are right, even if sometimes inefficient, something is better than nothing. Either way government alone is not going to solve the worlds problems and it is not enough to simply vote our problems away, we have to take action on an individual level.
Two of the three times I can think of where Jesus gives a direct response for how people get into the kingdom of heaven involve helping the poor. The rich young ruler was told to sell everything he had and to give it to the poor, and in the passage of the sheep and the goats, those who Jesus recognizes are those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison etc. (The third one I can think of is Nicodemas).
I’m not saying that I don’t believe in salvation through grace, but I am saying it’s time we started getting uncomfortable with the way we live, and doing something about it. There’s no shortage of poverty in the world, according to the facts in this book I’m reading, 1 billion (1 in 6) live on less than a dollar a day, and 3 billion on less than 2 dollars. You don’t have quit your job, there’s plenty of organizations to give to, but you may have to change your lifestyle. If you truly feel bad for how much we have, there’s nothing stopping you from doing something about it.
OK thanks for letting me rant.

Thank you for your letters and your prayers,

God Bless,
-Enoch Hill

PS. If you send me mail I do read it, but I only have access to the internet for a few minutes a day, so my replies are limited

Taller without Steriods?

Dear Friends and Family,
Have you ever wanted to be taller? Well you could have a bunch of costly surgeries and take steroids, or you could just pack your stuff and move on down to Guatemala. You’d also probably cut your cost of living by more than half, (although your standard of living would likely fall as well).
It’s true, you can find certain items for much less here than in the states. A bottle of agua pura (pure water) will only set you back around 20 cents (which is a good thing, considering the tap water will set you back on the pot). If you’re feeling a bit more spendy, you could buy some agua (which is the word they use for pop) for around 30 to 40 cents per 20 oz bottle. Yet at this point something strange (or actually more normal) occurs. You don’t pay for convenience in Guatemala, you pay for size. A 2 liter will cost you $1.20 and a 2.5 liter is $1.40. If you want a car you’re going to have to pay around double what you might in the states, and computers run even more expensive. Gas is around $3 a gallon, with all this in mind, it’s no surprise most of the people here elect (or are forced) into not owning a car. About every 10th car on the street is a Camianeta (or bus). Depending on the day, these cost 14-28 cents for a ride (as far as you want). This morning our 1.25 hour trip to work cost us each 14 cents. Yet with so few cars, you can still find plenty of repuestos (or car repair shops). It seems only about half the cars here actually run. On just about every corner you’ll find a repuesto, a local tienda (shop), or a passed out drunk man.
While the men are getting drunk the women are coming to receive their loans from the new life association (or asosiacion vida nueva…not spelled right). In fact 80% of the clients who take out loans from where I work are female. They have quite a unique system of loans. The official unemployment rate is over 50% in the City of Guatemala, although I can’t figure out what constitutes a real job. Either way, much of the economy here takes place on an informal level. Often the people who run these tiny businesses are barely scrape by, having hardly enough to live on it’s extremely difficult to purchase the goods and capital needed to expand and earn more. For this reason small scale loans can and have been very helpful to many people who are unable to find money elsewhere.
In order to take out a loan, you must find a solidarity group, with whom you will hold each other accountable. These groups consist of 3-10 people all of which are ultimately responsible for each other. Should one of member of the group fail to repay the loan then the others in the group must repay their share. Talk about peer pressure.
As our clients repay their loans they are required to take classes in basic entrepreneurial skills. Here they learn how their contributions effect the economy and they also learn how to responsibly run a business based on biblical principles.
Finally, as they repay the loan, the repayment plan is fixed, the plan is extremely simple. The amount of the first loan is 1000 Quetzales (Around 130$) per person and will be repaid over the course of four months. In addition to repayment the clients are encouraged to begin a savings account. Almost all of which do. And so they set aside around 2$ a week as savings.
Usually, my mornings are spent traveling with Walter and Lazaro from house to house in order to see how people are doing, to examine new client’s businesses, and to advertise. The people are truly beautiful. While extremely poor, for the most part they seem happy. They always invite us in, and occasionally they give us something to eat or drink.
Sixto is an older man who lives right next to the garbage dump, he owns a small fruit stand, and has been doing well with his loans. His house consists of a dirt floor a hammock and a small TV. Cluttering the single room dwelling lie a number of objects perhaps collected from the dump. Most of which we might call junk, these items include: ripped cardboard boxes, broken canoe paddles, as well as some small pieces of tin (with which he informs us he is going to enlarge his house). As we talk, he gives us each a bottle of coke and some crackers. I am overwhelmed by his generosity and although I feel terrible to take what little he has, it would be worse for me to reject his gifts.
For lunch we walk down the block to a small shop that sells tortillas for 1.5 cents each. As we return Walter makes a comment on how the price just keeps going up.
After lunch I begin working on an excel spreadsheet in order to automate some of their processes. Association Vida Nueva is a two story building, located approximately half a mile from the dump. There are four employees plus myself who currently work there. Vida Nueva currently has roughly 80 groups consisting of nearly 300 people with loans still outstanding.
Roughly 4 blocks from Vida Nueva is the building known as Potter’s House (or Casa del Alferero). Smelling strongly of rotting garbage and inhabited by more flies than people, casa del alferero offers hope to those who’ve spent their lives living in the garbage.
Victor, or Fito for short, is one of the most friendly people you’ll ever meet. After 22 years of being a, “recycler,” someone who rummages through the garbage for a specific good to sell, (yes their jobs titles have just about as much name inflation as jobs in the US) Fito now serves as the humanitarian director, his sister Auri mans the front gate, and his mom works primarily as a cook. Apparently Fito was third to the top of the gang world prior to coming to Potter’s House. Like in most any company, the dump has it’s hierarchy. Those higher up gaining better access to first picks of the garbage. The farther down the ladder, the less that’s left. However, promotions are not generally given, they are taken. Joining a gang can be very appealing, perhaps even necessary for life.
The work that God is doing through Potter’s House (including allowing Fito and his family to get out of the dump) is truly amazing. My time here so far has been outstanding and there is a ton more that I would love to write about but this is getting extremely long and I know that mass emails are sometimes tedious to read.
Thank you for your prayers and your time.
God Bless,
-Enoch Hill

Leaving Tomorrow

Dear Friends and Family,I leave for Guatemala City tomorrow. I'll be working with anorganization called Potter's House that is located right next to theGuatemala City Garbage Dump, which services the garbage of 90% (2000metric tons daily) of the cities garbage. It also serves as home toover 10,000 people and as office building to an additional 130,000people known to the locals as scavengers. These people battle throughthe stench and decomposing filth in order to find food as well asglass and aluminum to sell.In a country where over 50% of the people are considered below povertylevel, these people are considered poor by the poor.Potter's House offers relief through immediate aid (such as food andblankets), providing health care, through education, communitydevelopment, and finally through micro-financing which is where I'llbe working. ( ultimate goal is to make the occupation of scavenger obsoleteproviding the job skills and resources necessary to move out of thedump.My specific jobs (from what I can gather) will be to instruct the fulltime staff how to use Excel, as well as to interview people in orderto determine if they are a good candidate for a micro-loan (forexample, lending a family $50 US dollars in order to allow them to buyleather with which to start a shoe store).It's hard to believe that I leave tomorrow. These past few weeks havealmost been surreal. The end of college, 2 days ago witnessing themarraige of a close friend, yesterday seeing another friend off to themarines, and saying goodbye to many more. And as the date ofdeparture draws within sight, I have no time to reflect as I attemptto push years of Spanish lessons, into a week long cram session with
lives who have probably struggled and suffered more than I ever haveand ever will. The closer to departure the more inadequate I feel.Who am I who hardly can even speak your language to help you? How canI even begin to understand the pain that you\'ve endured your wholelife? How can I stare you in the face knowing that I live on a lake,that I have a whole bedroom to myself back in the states, that I justsunk more money into my education then you will probably ever see inyour lifetime? How can I determine wheather you should or shouldn\'trecieve a loan that could save your life? But where I am weak theLord is strong, and he uses the weak to do his will. And he is theonly ultimate hope any of us have. So I will try to be humble, andnot insult anyone too badly with my Spanish ability. If you get achance I\'d love to hear how you are doing.Hasta Luego, and hopefully I\'ll see you in the fall,-EnochIn order to keep you updated and because my access to the Internetwill likely be limited, I\'ll be sending out periodic mass emails. Ifyou do not wish to receive these emails let me know. Also if you knowof anyone\'s email address who would like to receive them let me know.Things to Pray for:Wisdom in how to interact,Grace in my interactions,Safety in travel, from disease and from criminal activity",0]
my final being to interact with real people. Real people with reallives who have probably struggled and suffered more than I ever haveand ever will. The closer to departure the more inadequate I feel.Who am I who hardly can even speak your language to help you? How canI even begin to understand the pain that you've endured your wholelife? How can I stare you in the face knowing that I live on a lake,that I have a whole bedroom to myself back in the states, that I justsunk more money into my education then you will probably ever see inyour lifetime? How can I determine wheather you should or shouldn'trecieve a loan that could save your life? But where I am weak theLord is strong, and he uses the weak to do his will. And he is theonly ultimate hope any of us have. So I will try to be humble, andnot insult anyone too badly with my Spanish ability. If you get achance I'd love to hear how you are doing.Hasta Luego, and hopefully I'll see you in the fall,-EnochIn order to keep you updated and because my access to the Internetwill likely be limited, I'll be sending out periodic mass emails. Ifyou do not wish to receive these emails let me know. Also if you knowof anyone's email address who would like to receive them let me know.Things to Pray for:Wisdom in how to interact,Grace in my interactions,Safety in travel, from disease and from criminal activity