After a powerful week of ministry with a sister church in Guatemala our group had the opportunity to do a little sight seeing. And did we ever see the sights! The picture is of my good friend who became known as "Pastor Sheep" all because our Guatemalan brethren could not say "Chip". Yes, we all laughed long and hard over this one in his life! Pastor Sheep is looking out over the incomparable Lake Atitlan in central Guatemala as a storm is rolling across its waters.
We spent the day in Panajachel doing the typical tourist thing of buying all kinds of unique treasures to carry back to the United States with us. It is an incredible feast for the eyes, ears, and nose. The visual impact of the hand made wares is nearly overwhelming. Guatemala is noted for its textile production and in Panajachel many hand woven items are on brilliant display. They believe in using color and it is beautiful. I have a photo of an alley where many of these items were for sale and the color is almost overwhelming!
The eyes are busy looking even as the ears are busy listening. Everyone is hawking their wares for you. Enough tourists over enough years have visited Panajachel that the locals know enough English to bombard you with their sales pitch. Forget just walking and looking! "Twenty dollars! Twenty dollars! No. O.k., for you fifteen dollars. I make you a special deal." If you are not accustomed to bargaining you are in for a crash course! If you accept their first price, well, let's just say you are not getting your money's worth! Not only are you paying far more than the item is worth but you are also missing out on the joy of interacting with these craftsmen about the real value of their wares!
Lake Atitlan is considered among the most beautiful lakes in the world. It is surrounded by three volcanoes (one of which you see in the photo) and it's waters are a stunning blue/grey. We did not avail ourselves of the opportunity to go out on the lake and visit the communities surrounding it (I think I will definitely do this on my next visit) but the brief visit we paid there is forever sealed in my thoughts as one of the outstanding days of my life.
As for the photo, it was as we were getting ready to climb aboard our van (driven by the incomparable JUAN PABLO!). Pastor Sheep stepped to the wall to take in one last look at this marvelous creation of God and I happened to be in the right place at the right time to capture the moment. When I look at the photo it's almost as if I'm looking through Chip's eyes on one of the most remarkable places I've ever visited.