Sunday, March 29, 2009

The drive to through Mexico to Guatemala- what an adventure

Well to pick up where I last left off (a week ago today). The drive to Guatemala from the US (virginia) through Mexico is done. Heavenly Father was allowing me learn patience on several levels.
So we did as we were told and approached the Mexican border early Monday morning. We crossed the US border with no problems but then as we attempted to cross over to Mexico it did not take long to realize that apparently I had done everything wrong that I could before hand and that resulted in us being stuck for over 10 hrs in what Stormy called no-mans land (not in Mexico or the US), costing extra money to fix the mistakes. From there we drove and drove and drove some more (3500 miles total). I had calculated 3000 miles but hey whats another 500 miles. By the way with a tow dolly it is impossible to go in reverse, that makes things interesting in narrow mexican and Guatemalan streets. Mexico was/is beautiful. We drove down the Golf coast, they call it La Costa Esmeralda or Emerald Coast. Which was dotted with fishing villages, beaches and green Mts. I even saw some pretty good surf a couple of times. Yes I was tempted to stop and catch a few waves since I had my boards on top of the car but I didn't dare put Stormy through any more pain. In the Mexican State of Vera Cruz we started crossing the country to the pacific side which is actually due south. Seems like Guatemala should be due south of Mexico but it is actually east. Anyway while crossing the country we crossed through these giant wind mill farms. There must of been like a thousand wind mills. And they are 80 meters high. That 220+ feet. They were impressive. They are using them for alternative energy.
So after about 30hrs of driving in just Mexico (including getting my fuel pump replaced that went out and a mechanic happened to see us stranded in a gas station and was nice enough to replace it right there for us) we arrived at the Guatemalan border. Long story short it took a day and a half to cross it. From there we drove all the way across the Guatemala (about 10hrs) to reach our house. Well actually that is the parking lot were we are renting a space that has a boat dock that we use to cross the river to get to our home. Then we moved all of our stuff by boat to the house and we were finished officially on Thursday at about 3pm. So there it is the trip that was to take 6 or 7 days took 9. What an adventure. It was awesome.
Since we have been here we have done alot of work at the house and alot of people in town have been very helpful. We did go visit La Finca Paraiso (Paradise Farm) where they have hot spring water falls. It is in the middle of the Jungle. Very relaxing. It cost 20 Quetzales to go. $1.25 each. I will take you all there when you come visit. I have met alot of new friends and made alot of business contacts already, well they are all pretty much one and the same. I have also inquired about some volunteer work that we can do. There are alot of opportunities to serve.
Mel and the kids will be here late Tuesday night. I can't wait.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Well alot has happened in the past few days. We had a crazy couple of weeks between the first week of March (when I returned home from my last Guatemala trip) and March 18th. We put the house on the market which required purging it. We sold or gave away all of our big items on craigslist except our bedroom set. That was fun. Then we had to decide what stuff we wanted to take (it all had to fit in the Suburban and A Isuzu Rodeo that I am towing to Guate). On Wednesday my business partner and good friend Stormy and I started driving towards Guatemala. I am currently in Brownsville TX. We tried to cross the Mexican border yesterday but the Mexican Transmigrant office was already closed so we were returned back across the US border and we will be crossing tomorrow. The trip has gone very smooth so far. Our first day we left mid-day in Newport News VA and we drove through NC and SC and ended up stopping alittle north of Atlanta GA. Thursday we drove the rest of the way through GA and Alabama and Stopped in Miss. Friday I got to see alot of the country I had not seen before (which I always love seeing new places). We drove through Miss and into LA (we detoured 20 miles or so so I could see New Orleans) then entered northeastern TX. We drove through Houston and stopped Victoria TX. Yesterday we made it to southern TX where we meet Charles and Lorena (Victor Castillos niece and her husband, Lorena is also Sister and daughter of some Guatemalans friends TT and Lety) so they could give us some pointers on crossing the border. They where very helpful and nice. Charles also helped us find a place to get new tires for our car dolly. The tires were pretty worn and we didn't know if they would make it through Mexico and to Guatemala. We have been in the Bronwsville TX area since yesterday midday. It is probably good that we got a chance to get some extra rest and to watch some of the NCAA bball tourney. It is beautful here (reminds me of Florida). In the morning we continue our trip. I can not wait to see Mexico. I am sure it will be beautiful.

I love you all and can't wait to hear from you


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just being sentimental!

That's a picture of the kids traveling on the Rio Dulce on our way to Livingston.

Ok - so I'm starting to get sad. The excitement for our move is still there but it is being taken over by a sadness to leave all of you. It has finally hit me! I just wanted to send out a note saying thanks to everyone.

Nathan and I have both been blessed with great families. I am so grateful for the love and support they give us.

We have also been blessed with fantastic friends who are like family to us. I can't even think about it without wanting to cry!

You all have to keep in touch and keep praying for us. Please pray that we will be able to find and help many people and make an impact in their lives. Pray for our safety and happiness and please, please please pray that I will be blessed to learn the language really fast!!!!

We love you guys!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When is the best time to do something crazy?

You may call it a coincidence but I do not remember the last time the stars aligned so perfectly (to do something crazy that is). Many of you know that I am a big sports fan. My beloved Redskins have been on a hot streak. Lets see last Superbowl win was in 1991. Hey, that was when I was living in Guatemala. They have had only one playoff win since then. Us Redskin fans call it a victorious season if we just make the playoffs or at least beat the Cowboys once during the season. I'm a big UVa fan. Which naturally means I hate Va Tech, right. Well lets see. Our football team started its 3rd string QB by the time the season got under way. Now we normally struggle to win when we have the 1st stringer in. For our season finale against our biggest rivals (those hokie pokies) we started at QB our defensive corner back. Just to throw those hokies off guard. And it almost worked. We only lost by 3. That's a success by today's standards. Our basketball team.... we used to just try and make to the big dance but now we just want to make the NIT but we will settle for less. Why do I keep following these teams. I must love the pain. Back to the stars being aligned perfectly. Our beloved gov't has done everything possible to destroy the insurance industry especially the Medicare insurance industry. I'm sure the gov't has helped your industry whatever that may be or at least given you a sense of a little more security, right. Ha Ha. And lets see my absolutely favorite political party is now completely running the show and being lead by my favorite politician. Some that know me may say that we our running from those dang stars. But I assure you that this is nothing but coincidence (with a nudge). With great adversity comes great opportunity. It is obvious that my sports teams have a great opportunity at hand and I consider the same for myself.

So lets hear your take, when is the best time to do something crazy, or at least try something new?



I wanted a bigger picture on my blog. I can't figure out how to put a big one right at the top and don't have time to figure it out before we go. I am so technically behind. I wanted to add a slideshow but can't figure it out, so that will be coming!

We are packing and purging and tying up loose ends. It's a little hectic but we are still thinking of all of you.

Thank you for all the great comments so far! I loved the answers to my ten item question! You can learn alot from a person by what they would bring. Joann's friend item was my favorite! I wish we could take you all with us!

Love ya,


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Xela's Post

Daddy said he would help me share my feelings. I'm not allowed to get on the internet by myself yet.
I am so excited to move to Guatemala. I am going to miss all of my friends and family. I can't wait to see the rest of your comments.
I went to Guatemala for the first time last April. It was alot of fun and it taught me to be more thankful for what I have. I can not wait to go back. I hope you all come visit us there.



Saturday, March 7, 2009


If you were moving to a foreign country and could only take 10 items from your house and had to give everything else away what would they be?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Nathans 1st Post

Wow what an exciting time! I went to Guatemala as a missionary in 1991 for the Church of JesusChrist of Latter-Day Saints. I had the experience of a lifetime. One that truly changed my life forever. During this time I learned so many things that had a deep impact on me. I truly learned who I was and what I was made of. I learned a love for people. As I had time to learn a new language and culture I grew a greater appreciation for my own. I started to understand how blessed I was to have been born in the USA. However I quickly learned how talented people how lessor temporal means are in other areas. For example when you have little temporal distractions and options your relationships mean so much more. I learned from these people the true meaning of being a life long friend, not just being a friend as long as there is a self-interest present. In short I feel like Guatemala gave me so much more than I ever gave her.
Since the time I met my wife Melody (like two days after returning from my mission) in June of 1993 I have shared my love of Guatemala and its people with her. I was so fortunate to take her backpacking through Guatemala in 1998. To my surprise she love it also. In 2000 I went on 2 trips to Guatemala, one with my sister Kim and another with Melody. I spent the next few years focusing on business pursuits and watching our 4 children grow (Ammon 12, Xela 9, Brigham 7, Gabriella 2) as a piece of my heart longed for an opportunity to be in Guatemala. In April of 2008 Melody and I decided to take the 3 older kids to Guatemala for the first time. They loved it. Now we had a houseful of people that loved the country and its people. I could really see us living there some day, but when. Well that time came at the end of 2008. After a chain of events happened, we felt as a family that the timing was right to take this leap of faith and move to Guatemala. We have felt several confirmations from the Holy Ghost that God has a special mission for our family in Guatemala. We do not know exactly what that is yet but we know that he will provide many opportunities for us to serve his special people there.
Wow I must have the most wonderful wife in the world. She is truly my 100% partner and supporting. She never doubts me. I know she will be a true blessing to many people in Guatemala just like she has been here in Virginia. She is Gods special gift to me.
Well I invite all our many friends and family to be part of out adventure by following our blog and invite everyone of you to come visit us in Guatemala. You will have a place to stay. And I guarantee it will enrich your life. I have to date taken 7 people to Guatemala for their first visit and they have all loved it.


You're Doing What!!!???

"You're doing what?" This is the question we got from our friends and family when we first made the announcement back in November of 2008. I can understand their surprise. Many of them had no idea that this was actually a dream of ours since the first time I visited Guatemala with Nathan 10 years ago. It is a beautiful country with amazing people.

I think we always knew in our hearts we would live there someday.

Nathan was doing well in the insurance business as a broker, but really was not happy and pretty stressed alot because the government kept messing with the rules and restrictions of the products. So, when someone offered to buy the management share of his business he jumped on it. Some friends of ours from Guatemala offered for us to stay in their home they were building in the Quetzaltenango area. It is a beautiful home and got our wheels tuning. Nathan started making business plans and I bought Rosetta Stone Latin America! We prayed about it and the Holy Ghost confirmed the decision. We haven't looked back.

We did however change our minds about staying in our friends house because we decided to import cars and Quetzaltenango is a long drive from the port. We decided to look for homes on the caribbean coast instead.

We found a great house! I would post a picture for you, but we don't have one yet! It is right on the river and only accessible by boat, but it has an amazing view, cocunut trees, a inground pool and a private beach.

I will post a picture once we have one.