Albrektson's Prayer Letter (Guatemala ISP Conferences, February-March 2008)
The tourist bureau calls Guatemala "The Land of Eternal Spring," which may be perfectly true in a meteorological sense, but it was the land of daily surprises on my last trip. I had just returned from Tokyo, and after a one-week turnaround, caught up with the rest of my team for a pair of International School Project convocations in Guatemala.
The first conference took place in the idyllic island town of Flores, which just happened to be the place where the Mayans fought their last stand against the Spanish. Our first clue as to how unique the conference would be was when teachers showed up an hour early. Then we realized that about a hundred more teachers were coming than expected. Almost every small group leader commented on the warmth and openness of the teachers in their group. And my interpreters were the best in the business. See in the picture how Jorge even imitated my gestures!
After a day of sightseeing in Tikal , we wondered what our second conference would be like. It proved equally rich. Yes, we had more people than expected. But each day brought a new challenge. Day one: The hotel couldn't manage the "snack break" and we were immediately thrown 45 minutes behind schedule. Day two: The local Teacher's Union declared a strike and street demonstration that paralyzed the busses. Our teachers just ignored the strike and left home early—via taxi!
In the midst of the second conference a new regional minister of education took over from the one who had spoken at the opening ceremonies. When the new minister attended the closing ceremony he was amazed, and said, "These teachers are actually having a great time! I've never seen this at an educational conference before!"
Please pray as I leave for Kyrgyzstan tomorrow. The regional minister of education is very cold to us. Remember that my last conference in that country in 2005 ended in revolution and a hasty exit.
Thanks for allowing me to have this ministry!
Ray & Kathy Albrektson