Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One Year ago....

Family photo shoot at ruins in Antigua
 Photo by Katey Erickson

One year ago today, 4 very sleepy, anxious, excited Radfords awoke to get on an airplane. That airplane took them to a far-away land. (Not really that far-away) The land of eternal spring. (although right now it feels like eternal rain) Guatemala, oh how we love thee, let me count the ways.

Things we love (or have learned to love)

Market - At first, I was very intimidated by the market. I was used to a clean, well-lit, indoor grocery store. I took for granted the clearly printed signs that tell me exactly what to pay for my fruits and vegetables. I know that everyone in the store is paying the same price, I don't get a special price based on the color of my skin. Well, here the market is outdoors (or semi-indoors but very leaky). It is anything but clean, well-lit and sanitary. I get the "gringo" pricing, which means I look wealthy enough to pay twice what everyone else pays. It turns out that I actually like shopping in the market. I like the beautiful colors and the sounds of people chattering. I like practicing Spanish and interacting with the vendadoras. I still don't like the smell, but I can bear it for a short while. Guess what? Even though I get upcharged because I am a "wealthy, white American," it's still a fraction of what I used to pay at my beloved Publix.

Veggies!! Yummy!!

Rain - You cannot live in this kind of climate without coming to terms with the fact that it rains for six months of the year. I cannot say that I am a fan of the rain every single day, but I have come to appreciate some things about it. The rain keeps things fresh, green and tropical - "the land of Eternal Spring." I like having some quiet time in the afternoon to rest, read and listen to the rain. It slows the pace of my day. Another added benefit is that I don't have to watch the weather forecast anymore. May through Oct - it will rain everyday, usually starting around 2:00 in the afternoon. Nov through April - warm, temperate and blue skies. The temperature doesn't change much, ranges between 65 and 80 degrees year round. There's something to be said for predictability.

Some might say we are living the dream in a tropical paradise. Except for when the rain floods the streets and you have to walk through shin deep, muddy brown water. Or it washes away homes and businesses. Or you lay down in bed for the evening and the bed feels wet and squishy. It reminds me of one of my favorite passages of scripture:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
Lamentations 3:22-24

    Where are my rainboots?

      Eternal Spring

The rain can be a blessing and a curse all at the same time, but one thing remains steadfast - the love of the Lord. His mercies are new every morning.

People - It's the thing that drew us here in the first place. And at the end of a long, frustrating day, it's what keep us from running home to Georgia. I love the beautiful colors of their tipico dress. I love their petite stature. I love their warm smiles. I love to hear them chattering in their Mayan dialect. My heart breaks when I see the hard callouses of bare feet, the bent spine of the elderly who have spent a lifetime carrying firewood, or the hopeless look in the eyes of young people. The mama in me rages when I see a child with reddish-orange tint to their hair, (a sign of malnutrition).

“Yet their Redeemer is strong;
 the Lord Almighty is his name. 

He will vigorously defend their cause,
 so that he may bring rest to their land.”

Jeremiah 50:34

As we assimilate to our new life in Guatemala, it is our desire to defend the defenseless. We long to see his people RESTORED in body and mind, REDEEMED by the blood of the Lamb, and RELEASED as a light unto the nations for His glory alone.

at ruin of Santa Clara in Antigua
photo by Katey Erickson


  1. Wow! He is an awesome God and the Radfords are awesome people!!

    Blessings and crongratulations on your one year anniversary.

    Del and Teri

  2. We can't wait to see you!


  3. Beautifully put! I miss being there!

  4. Nice post and nice job... blessings... Gilbert