Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Guyana - February, 2004


After living in Guyana for over five months, I finally had overnight houseguests!

My parents and sister flew into Guyana on February 5th and were able to stay with me until the 13th. Needless to say, it was an amazing experience! They were able to dance and sing songs at a youth campfire, participate in a service project, take part in a Guyanese house blessing, chase cows and donkeys out of my yard, attend a late-night guitar jam session, play basketball with the neighborhoods kids, and of course – they attended all three of my Sunday morning worship services. When the trip was over, we were all a bit tired from trying to pack a month’s worth of activity into a week!

A major highlight of the trip was being able to see Kaiteur National Park, which is located southwest of New Amsterdam into Guyana’s interior rainforest. It was a fantastic adventure! Not only were we able to see many plants and animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, the waterfall itself was completely breathtaking. Kaiteur Falls is the largest single-drop waterfall in the world at 741 feet. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before, especially when I was able to stand at the brink of the falls and look all the way down! It was awesome! (Don’t worry. I took plenty of pictures!)

As I reflect upon my family’s visit, one thing I know I’ll never forget was standing in the pulpit, looking into the congregation, and seeing my parents and sister sitting among the 250 Guyanese people in attendance. (It surely wasn’t difficult to locate the Wisconsinites in the crowd!) Also, I will never forget the thrill of seeing them interact with the loving and generous people whom I been trying to describe in these letters for the past five months! All in all, it was a fantastic trip that none of us will ever forget. There were only two things that could have made their trip better: 1) I wish they could have stayed longer, and 2) I wish my brother and sister in-law could have come. (Who knows, I’ll be here for six more months, so maybe I will convince them to make the journey!)

While my parents and sister were here, I was reminded of two significant realities: 1) I am extremely blessed to have such loving and supportive family, and 2) I am extremely blessed to have such a loving and supportive congregation. I know that it can be difficult for my family as I am away, but they have remained supportive throughout our time apart. Also, I know that it can be difficult for this congregation to have a foreign Intern, yet they have remained supportive throughout our time together. I simply thank God for my family and I thank God for the people of Ebenezer Lutheran Church.

And of course, I want to thank you all for your continued prayers and good wishes. Your support means a great deal to me. With Ash Wednesday less than a week away, things are going to get real busy during the next six weeks, so I will need your support now more than ever! So keep those prayers coming!

I wish you all peace and love,

Brian Konkol