28 June 2011

a volcanic ascent

Brodie is here!! Wahoo!!

Last weekend, we took advantage of a sunny morning to go 1.5 hours away to the VolcĂ n Pacaya to have a little hike. It`s been on my Guatemala Bucket List to hike a volcano, and I finally got to do it- It was amazing!

It took about 1.5 hours to summit (and, I`m not going to lie, it was a bit harder than expected) with a guide and our very motley crew. We had some Mennonites in Birkenstocks (who ended up going up on burros), some 60ish year old Swiss people, 3 very speedy Israeli girls, and a guy in a sports coat and loafers. What a team!

On the way up, we passed through lush greenery and saw amazing views of surroudning volcanoes, farmland, small towns, and God`s amazing creation. It was a bit steep, but such amazing views! Once we got to the top, it seriously seemed like we were on the moon! Totally barren, black volcanic rock everywhere with tons of steamy rocks everywhere- I felt very NASA-- It was so cool! Sadly, because this is the volcano that errupted last May, there isn`t much more lava to see, and tourists are no longer allowed to go right up to the crater (yeah, I think that`s a good call...), but it was still COMPLETELY worth it!

At the top, we went into a natural cave that was heated by VERY hot volcanic steam -it felt just like a sauna!-and, yes, we did use it to roast marshmallows!!! What a cool experience! Best of all, I got to do it with my best friend!

bendiciones, juli

27 June 2011


I'm going to San Antonio next year!! I'll be serving as a YAV again in this city, hopefully working with Latina women who are victims of domestic abuse/ rape.

I'm so excited to take this opportunity to continue to work with Latin American people, to learn about injustices in my own US context, and to work with women!

Please continue to pray with me as I finalize my job placement, fundraise again, and close my Guatemala chapter.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support, world!
bendiciones, juli

20 June 2011

playing in God's creation

So I've been helping to facilitate a group of 4th year pharmacy students for the past 2 weeks from Texas Tech (and really enjoying it) and this Sunday, we took an especially special Sabbath day to relax and play.

My fellow YAV, Laura, had told me how cool it was when she went, but I tried not to get too excited, lest it not live up to the hype. Well, I got to go to Semuc-Champey with the TX Tech group, and seriously, world-- it's on my Top 10 Coolest Moments of Juli's Life list.

So we start by taking a very death-defying 30ish min pickup ride (as in, standing in the bed of the truck) from the hotel to the miiiiddle of nowhere. Surprise! We've arrived! So we pay and go on a "short hike" (which was pretty much completely straight up... Thank goodness for the Chacos, bc some people were wearing flipflops..) to the lookout place where you can see all of Semuc Champei ("Hidden Waters Under Rocks")-- the huge rushing river that goes underground for 900m and then pops out on the other end... where the river goes underground, there are maybe 15-20 turquoise limestone pools of different sizes, depths, and sizes. DANG, our God is great.

We soak in the view and catch our breath for a bit, then start the descent (keep in mind it is very much rainy season-- aka everything was VERY muddy and slippery) and after at least an hour total of hiking, we reached the water. Our guide took us to see where te gushing water goes underground (many people have died there; oh great thanks) and then we played in the 1st pool for a while... Which we thought was cool until...

We went down to the other pools and got to swim, dive, cliff jump, waterslide, and just play around in this amazing natural waterpark. The water was SO clear and beautiful, and it was miraculously sunny-- just SO beautiful!! After about an hour, we got to the very end of the pools where we could see te river shoot out again! We thought that was awesome, until...

Then, our guide took us into a little mini-cave, where we literally had to point our faces upwards in the like 3inches of air between rock ceiling and water-level... Once we (terrifiededly) got to the end of that, we swam underwater to the light to get out of the cave. I mean, SERIOUSLY?!?! So awesome!!

Then we made our way back to the first pool to meet up with the non-swimmers in the group and have a much-less-strenuous hike back to the entrance for our picnic lunch.

Man, God is amazing!!!
Bendiciones, juli

ps: photos definitely coming soon.

12 June 2011

what does Guatemala sound like?

So I have no idea what the kids are listening to these days in the US... But in case you were wondering what life here sounds like, just put these songs on endless repeat, add in some dog barks and car horns and you've pretty much got my life soundtrack....







Ps: I didn't pre-watch those videos, so I sincerely apologize for any inappropriateness.
bendiciones, juli

01 June 2011

a prayer from Thomas Merton

Another shout out to Brodie who sent me this in a letter not knowing that it fits PERFECTLY with my current state of future-planning...

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.