Today we took the day off of working and spent it in Antigua. The weather today was beautiful – much like every day that we have had here. High of around 82, low of around 61.

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Our first stop in Antigua took us through a coffee plantation. I don’t know that I have ever seen coffee plants in person before. There were coffee beans everywhere. For some reason, there was also a lot of chopped wood around. Piles and piles of it lining the streets on the plantation. After we parked, we all went zip lining. That was a real treat. Even the truck ride up to the top was fun. Some people saw some deer and lizards on the drive. The route wound up the side of a mountain, and the road was next to a very steep cliff. One time, they needed to stop the truck and check the engine for something. I wasn’t sure if we were going to have to walk the rest of the way, but everything was fine. I had never gone zip lining before, and it was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. I believe we went on seven lines – each one longer than the one before it. The views of the mountains and the volcano were spectacular. I took a bunch of pictures. Hopefully, at least some of them came out. The people running the zip line tour were fantastic. Extremely friendly, and excellent English. I felt extremely safe, and well taken care of.

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After zip lining, we went into the central part of the town where the market is. We were told to stay in groups of no less than three people, and to make sure that we carried any bags carefully. It was very crowded, and a big mix of locals and tourists. We started by going to the center of the market where we went to a bank to exchange our US dollars into Quetzales. The exchange rate was around 7.5Q for 1US. After getting some Q, we broke up into groups. Most people went to lunch first. We ended up at an authentic Guatemalan restaurant. I thought it was funny that they played American 80’s music. Random things from Ah-Ha to Metallica. Anyway, the food was fantastic. I got a plate of chorizo, potato salad and broccoli salad. Domino got a chick leg and thigh, with potatoes and guacamole. I decided to have a beer with my lunch, but it wasn’t all that great, not that I was expecting it to compete with the beers I normally drink at home. Lunch cost about 30Q a plate, which works out to about $4US. That’s amazing!

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After lunch, we headed towards the market. The market was about what I expected – lots of vendors whose English mostly consists of “I give you good price”. Some vendors had things you would find in a typical dollar store in US, while others had handmade crafts of all kinds. There were also lots of people selling fresh fruit of all types. And there were a few places selling bootleg copies of current movies. And there were some obvious knockoffs – like Oakley glasses, Beats headphones. There was even a Playstation One that was marked FunStation on it. Prices for things were great for the most part. They always started pretty bad, but then you were expected to negotiate with them on the price, which brought things down to a fairly decent price. Domino even got herself a hair wrap. It looks really nice! At the end of the day, I ended up spending much more money than I thought I had spent. Oh well. I think I got some good souvenirs.

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After heading back to My Father’s House, I took a much needed nap before dinner. Dinner tonight was a piece of beef, rice, and beans. They also had some pickled vegetables that were a bit on the spicy side. The beef was a little tough, but it was still delicious.

Oh, before and after dinner, I was able to have a Frisbee catch with some of the guys here. That was fun. I haven’t thrown in a long time. One of the little boys who loves here joined in. I was very impressed with his throws. It seemed like he was shy and didn’t know how to throw, but he threw quite well for a boy his age.

After dinner, we had our nightly devotions withe the whole team. We learned about two of the ORI staff members who we have been working with this week. They currently help out with the food runs, but they are only doing that to  help out while they transition that work to somebody else. They previously did a lot of work with the work teams, and they will soon be beginning a special vocational program to teach the orphans some work skills that they can use. I found it very interesting that they have given up their lives to support this mission. They live off donations, and they sell whoopee pies to the missionaries who come here for $1 a piece. They don’t have a retirement fund that they are saving away for their future. This is their life.

Tonight we learned that there are 370,000 orphans in Guatemala. This is the highest number of orphans per capita in the world. I believe this is the number of kids who are living in orphanages, which means that they either have no parents at all, or their parents have abandoned them. ORI currently supports 48 orphanages, soon to be 50. Those 48 orphanages make up about 2,500 kids. Sounds like a lot of kids, but when compared to 370,000, it’s just a very small fraction of the population. It would be amazing if the love of Jesus that we spread through these orphans turned their lives around to be able to make a difference not only in their country, but in the whole world. Wouldn’t that be amazing? I am glad that Domino and I are able to be a part of this.

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