We at St. Mary of Sorrows have a sister parish in Guatemala. St Peter’s is in the town of El Estor. El Estor is about a six hour bus ride from Guatemala city.
Three years ago Fr Hosea who was assigned at St. Peter came to St Mary to share with us what was going on at our sister parish. After one of the masses that Fr Hosea talked he gave everyone a card with his name and the name of the parish on it.
I put that card in my prayer book.
A few months after Fr. Hosea left I decided to see if I could find St. Peters in El Estor. I was going to spend the week after Christmas on this adventure.
First of all, I spoke no Spanish other than the words, “padre” and “taco”. Also, I didn’t call them and say that I was going down.
We have some people in the parish that go down to Guatemala about twice a year. They told me that I needed to get to Guatemala City and take the bus to Rio Dulce. And at Rio Dulce, I was to get on a “chicken bus” to get to El Estor.
My flight was first to Houston. I spent the night and took a flight to Guatemala the next day. My plan was to find someone on the flight to take me in for the night. I landed in Houston and discovered that my plan didn’t work.
The next day I was off to Guatemala City. I almost couldn’t get on the flight because my passport was to expire in two weeks, but I got on the flight.
On the flight I took out my Guatemala tour book and it talked about the ancient town of Antigua. I thought to myself I will first find my way there and figure out what I needed to do to touch my destination St. Peter’s in El Estor.
I landed in Guatemala and I discovered that Antigua was about 2 hours away. I got on the bus, and I talked to a medical student who was back packing in Guatemala. He also spoke Spanish.
I asked him if would help me find a place to stay. He did. I found a nice place for only five dollars a night and that included breakfast and internet.
The next day I got a bus to Guatemala City. At the bus stop in Guatemala City I learned that the buses to Rio Dulce left at 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, and 12:00.
I got on the 11:30 bus. After being on the bus for 5 hours, and was thinking that I needed to find something called a “chicken bus” in Rio Dulce so that I could find St Peter somewhere, I kid you not, in the Guatemala jungle.
I took out the card that Fr. Hosea had given me at St. Mary of Sorrows. I showed it to the lady next to me and she said, “Oh Fr. Hosea, I know him.” I thought to myself, Praise the Lord. Maybe this lady will have pity on me and help me.
At that point a man behind me said that lady in the seat across from me was going there. I said to myself, what do you mean by “there”. She was going to St. Peter to teach the Mayan Indians meditation.
I could not believe my luck. We got to Rio Dulce and she found the “chicken bus.” She spoke perfect Spanish. We were on the “chicken bus.” For about two hours going into the Guatemalan Jungle.
She told the driver to take us to St. Peter in El Estor. We got off, but because I never called and told them I was coming the parish was all locked up for the night. The lady that I met on the bus had the number. She called the office boy who came out and open the gate and let us in.
In the rectory I spoke with the lady who spoke with me in broken English. She was Italian and came to Guatemala to teach the Indian meditation. Then she told me something that was very interesting.
Five years ago she was in a serious car accident, and she died. She went to Heaven and had an experience of God. God told her, “Never to make any preparations in her life.”
She came back to life and lived by these words that the Lord gave her. The interesting thing is this she was on the 11:00 bus from Guatemala city to Rio Dulce. She felt God telling here get off the bus and take the 11:30 bus. She was obedient to this prompting.
I was on the 11:30 bus. If she had stayed on the 11:00 bus I would never have met her and would have been lost somewhere in the Guatemalan Jungle.
There were a few more adventures on this trip, but I will share them for a future time.
Blessing and Peace