Monday, November 19, 2012

Year End Activity with FRMI Employees

Pastor Edgar, and almost all the employees.
Around 6 years ago we started doing year end activities with our employees to show our appreciation for their work.  Over the years we have gone to water parks, an auto-safari and done things locally in Cubulco.  The employees decide on when and where the activity will be held, and understand that if the activity costs more than the amount in set in the budget they will have to cover the rest themselves. We encourage them to take the opportunity to go somewhere where they have not been before so that they can have new experiences. 
This year they decided that the activity would be at a mission camp/retreat center called El Faro (Lighthouse) situated on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean roughly a 5 hour drive from Cubulco.  For transportation the group rented a mini-bus from Cubulco for the day and left at 2:00 AM.  Since it was a long drive drove from Guatemala City, I decided to drive half way the day before to avoid being tired for the long drive back home.  (You have to remember that driving here is much more challenging and tiring than in North America).  Our linguist Jorge who was in the city joined me on the trip together with his sister and a friend who wanted to tag along.  We spent the night in a town around 3 hours from the city and while we were there Jorge's sister had the idea of going to visit a local Presbyterian church since she knew the couple who were pastoring there (most churches in the rural areas have a service almost every night of the week).  I must say that we were not all that keen on going because we were not dressed for church, but we decided to go anyhow. The service was already underway when we got there, but we were privileged in being part of the majority of the service.  Since it was a thanksgiving service (a common service often done once a month and not related at all to NA Thanksgiving) several members of the church participated by singing or reading Scripture. We were also asked to come up and share a bit about ourselves and the work we are involved in.  For me it was special to get to know another group of believers in a different part of Guatemala.

After spending the night we met up with the group from Cubulco at around 5:00 AM.  We drove to the Camp.  The road to the camp was in bad shape, but the scenery was beautiful.  We drove through lush tropical jungle, past volcanic rock formations and a boiling hot spring. When we arrived at the Camp our breath was taken away. The grounds were immaculate and the buildings well maintained. 
Hot spring
The first thing we did was have a devotional time after which I addressed the employees and thanked them on behalf of the mission for their dedication and work. Many of them will cease to be employees of FRMI this year since next year they will be working for AMG through the support of FRMI.  After that we went to the soccer field and played for a couple of hours in the heat and humidity.  This field was the nicest field I have ever played on in Guatemala. Then to the ocean we went to cool off.  For some it was the first time they had ever seen the ocean. For others they had never swam in the ocean before.  Some said... "it is true, the water is really salty".  For me it was a neat experience since it fulfilled one of the purposes of the activity which is to get people from Cubulco to experience other things in life.  After a delicious lunch, a nature walk, and some more swimming in the ocean we packed up and headed back home.  
Although most of our employees will not be working with us next year, I will continue to be in contact with the majority of them in the coming years. I am very excited about them working with AMG and the opportunities that AMG can offer them and hope that each one of them will continue to grow in wisdom and knowledge and that God will use them as instruments of transformation in the communities they work in.