It is Sunday, February 5th, 2023 and I have reached the half-way point in my trip to Guatemala. Last week I stayed with a family in Antigua Guatemala while I studied Spanish at La Union Spanish School. It was a great week. I walked 1.5 miles to school every morning along the ancient, cobblestone streets of Antigua, filled with modern traffic. My teacher, Gladys, and I spoke Spanish and reviewed Grammar for fours hours every morning. After class I walked back to the house to have lunch with Betty, the owner of the house. She doesn’t speak English at all. She was very patient with me as I struggled to tell her about my morning as I enjoyed her amazing authentic Guatemalan food.

After a much needed nap I strapped on my plen air painting gear and headed out for a painting adventure. I was able to do this on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. See the gallery below.

I knew that I had to preach on Sunday (this morning) at the Lutheran Center, so on Tuesday morning Gladys and I agreed that the best homework I could have would be to write my sermon in Spanish. First, I wrote it in English. Then I translated a little bit each day into Spanish and, over dinner, Betty and her 20-year-old Son, Anthony, would listen to my translation and give me suggestions. In the morning I would read it to Gladys and then discuss the next part.

It was so much fun.

This morning I was able to preach that sermon and it went really well.

I have to note something really special. This will be especially meaningful for my readers who were with my at Easter Lutheran Church a couple years ago. The last time I visited Guatemala I couldn’t speak Spanish at all. There is a man here named Estuardo who is the same age as me. I really like him, but we could never communicate without a translator. It was so frustrating. It was then, in 2019, that I decided to learn Spanish so that I could have a conversation with Estuardo. I officially began studying with Dulingo in May of 2020 and then took some online classes in 2022.

Yesterday it happened. Estuardo picked me up at the house in Guatemala and we spoke in Spanish for the entire one-hour car ride to the Lutheran Center in Guatemala City!!!!! It was awesome. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not fluent in Spanish AT ALL. Yet, we were able to hold a meaningful conversation about his family and what he’s been doing since we were last together.


It is Sunday Evening and I just finished teaching the first group of Church leaders with Pastor Karen. I was able to say of lot of the things I needed to say in Spanish. They were very patient with me and we learned a lot together. Wow, am I swimming in the deep end right now. Yet, by the grace of God I haven’t drowned. And, I’ve made some new friends. BTW, Pastora Karen and her team are amazing.

That’s the update. Enjoy the paintings.

Monday’s Adventure: The Church of the Virgin of Candelaria, near my house in Antigua
Tuesday’s Adventure: I had a meeting online in the afternoon, so I didn’t have enough time to paint (sunset is 6:00pm). so I drew this tree in el parque Central. the ceiba tree is the national tree of Guatemala
Wednesday’s Adventure, part 1: I’ve painted the arch of Saint Katarina twice before, but my teacher really wanted me to paint it again. I gave the original to her.
Wednesday’s Adventure part 2: I had a little time after painting the arch, so I drew this tree in el parque Central.
I took a photo of Betty’s house and drew this in my room after dark as a gift for the family.

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