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The older Antigua, Guatemala cathedral, Iglesia El Carmen, and San Juan de Dios Convent

The old Antigua, Guatemala cathedral

The old Antigua, Guatemala cathedral

Recently I traveled to Antigua, Guatemala, for the first time. Although I want to travel all around the world, Guatemala was never on my radar. But it was a “God thing.” I’m writing a Guatemala blog series to show you the beautiful pictures and to share about the amazing things God did there. This is Blog #4, The older Antigua, Guatemala cathedral, Iglesia El Carmen, and San Juan de Dios Convent. You can read my other blogs about Guatemala at the links below:

Blog 1: My trip to Antigua, Guatemala http://www.bethjones.net/my-trip-to-antigua-guatemala/

Blog 2: Travel requirements, the Guatemala grocery stores, and the street markets http://www.bethjones.net/travel-requirements-travel-requirements-grocery-stores-street-markets/

Blog 3: Antigua’s beautiful ancient cathedrals http://www.bethjones.net/antigua-beautiful-cathedrals/

*******

As I shared about in my first blog about traveling to Guatemala, nothing went according to MY plans when I traveled to Guatemala! But that turned out to be a very good thing. God was truly ordering my every step. My new friends there, Kim Rogers and Stan Edwards, invited me to stay in Guatemala longer when it was nearing the end of my week there.

Stan and Kim with lemonade

Kim said a week wasn’t nearly long enough to visit Guatemala, and she could show me around more. She had already given me a walking tour in Antigua, which really helped me with finding Parque Central, cute coffee shops, restaurants, the street markets, the grocery stores, and more. 

my beautiful Air BnB in Antigua, Guatemala

my beautiful Air BnB in Antigua, Guatemala

I told them that I couldn’t because I was running out of money and my booking at the beautiful Air BnB where I was staying in Antigua ended on Sunday morning. They graciously invited me to stay at their house (free) a couple of days. Stan said I wouldn’t need any more money, because they would feed me–he would cook for me and Kim (he’s a great chef and they were amazing hosts). I prayed about it and said yes. What a blessing this was! I will share more pictures of their beautiful condo home later.

Kim's and Stan's beautiful home

Stan’s and Kim’s beautiful home

One of the sites to see on my list traveling there was the older, Antigua, Guatemala cathedral. I had not been able to see it when my Spanish teacher Elvia and our driver Allan took us around Antigua to see the cathedrals (there are many!) and the ruins on the 2nd day of my stay that week. But when I went to Kim’s and Stan’s beautiful condo home, Kim took Stan and me on a short tour, including the older, Antigua, Guatemala cathedral–I was so happy!

If I had not stayed a couple days longer, I would have missed out on seeing this and the surprise God gave me here.

Older, Antigua, Guatemala cathedral entrance

Older, Antigua, Guatemala cathedral entrance

It costs 40 Quetzales, or around $5 US, to visit the ruined Antigua Guatemala Cathedral. The Antigua Guatemala Cathedral is a special ruin; the wreckage of the earthquakes from 1541 through 1669, and then the one in 1773, left it a beautiful mess.

Despite how the earthquakes left it in ruins, the older, Antigua cathedral is breathtakingly beautiful

Despite how the earthquakes left it in ruins, the older, Antigua cathedral is breathtakingly beautiful

In the old Antigua Guatemala Cathedral, you can see the full structure of the cathedral with the sunlight streaming through the exposed arches. Some of the many side chapels remain intact, and you can see details, such as seashells, carved into the chapels.  I noticed a seashell carving right away.

You can also visit the underground part of the Cathedral, which I didn’t do, but Stan and Kim did. While they were looking at this, God gave me a beautiful surprise: a groom and his bride on a wedding photography shoot. I felt it was prophetic that Jesus our Bridegroom is returning soon for His lovely Bride, the Church.

The Bride and Her Groom  in the older, Antigua, Guatemala cathedral

The Bride and Her Groom in the older, Antigua, Guatemala cathedral

Bride and groom, Antigua cathedral

Bride and groom, Antigua cathedral

As written on the blog Sacred Wanderings: “If you are just going to see one of the Antigua Guatemala Churches, make this the church in Antigua that you see. Not only is it in a really convenient location, but it’s a perfect example of the newer style of church in Antigua and the beauty of the ruined churches of Antigua.” I so agree! This was my favorite cathedral to visit (so far!).

cathedral window

cathedral window

pretty purple flowers in the cathedral

pretty purple flowers in the cathedral

The boulders (ruins) of the cathedral were massive. These ruins really spoke to my heart about how short and transient our lives are, and how important it is to live for Jesus each day.

Boulders (ruins) of the cathedral

Boulders (ruins) of the cathedral

There is a sign on a wall in this cathedral which reads, “No climbing on the walls.” Stan told me and Kim to restrain ourselves from climbing it, LOL! Obviously people have done this before, hence the need for the warning sign!

No climbing on the walls!

No climbing on the walls!

Another surprise at this cathedral was a cat among the boulders. It was so beautiful. My daughter Leah said I should have taken it home with me. Stan and Kim petted it. I gave the cat some of my bottled water to drink (which it did), and as I walked away to leave the church, Stan told me that the precious cat was meowing and wanted to follow me home!

cat at cathedral

cat at cathedral

cat on boulder

cat on boulder

Stan petting the cat

Stan petting the cat

Kim petting the cat

Kim petting the cat

The cute cat following me after I gave it water

The cute cat following me after I gave it water

Iglesia El Carmen is an intriguing cathedral with the stunning, intricate columns. It is not open to the public, but you can view the last version of the ruins, dating from 1728, from the cobblestone streets. I can’t imagine how amazing it was, before earthquakes destroyed much of it. Originally its Spanish baroque facade had 24 beautifully carved columns and some are almost intact.

There are many street vendors (the indigenous people) trying to sell their wares here. It’s very hard to tell them “no,” as you know they need to make a living each day! Stan and Kim also discovered a new restaurant to try one day, that is near the cathedral.

Iglesia El Carmen

Iglesia El Carmen

Iglesia El Carmen massive cathedral

Iglesia El Carmen massive cathedral

Stunning columns of Iglesia El Carmen

Stunning columns of Iglesia El Carmen

Iglesia El Carmen against the blue sky

Iglesia El Carmen against the blue sky

Another interesting and gorgeous church in Antigua, which my Spanish teacher Elvia took me to first and then Kim showed me also, is San Juan de Dios Convent. I love its warm yellow color. It was founded in 1636 by religious men to treat, at separate locations, Spanish patients, mulattos, Indians and other members of the church.

San Juan de Dios Convent Church

San Juan de Dios Convent Church

Elvia told me that doctors from all over the world come here to treat patients in need and to perform surgeries. She said the priest(s) and doctors work together, and that God had healed people who come there, so many people wait in lines at the little park nearby to go inside for help and to schedule surgeries.

I love the beautiful palm trees in this peaceful park.

people at park

people at park

How I wanted to start preaching on the street, telling them that the Lord Jesus can heal them today! Forgive me, God, for not having the courage to do so. Maybe next time I go there, I will! 

San Juan de Dios Convent

San Juan de Dios Convent

park by San Juan de Dios Convent

park by San Juan de Dios Convent

I took many pictures when I traveled to Guatemala. I hope that I’m getting the names of these churches/cathedrals right and that these pictures are from the inside of San Juan de Dios Convent. The cathedrals are breathtakingly beautiful: the art, the sculptures, the altars, the architecture, the paintings and the murals, the chandeliers/light fixtures, and the ceilings (many with painted artwork on them). Everything is intricately designed, and you just want to stop to stare and admire it for a long time. Some churches are still open for Mass/service, so you have to be quiet as they are praying/worshipping.

Altar inside church

Altar inside church

Inside San Juan de Dios Convent church

Inside San Juan de Dios Convent church

San Juan de Dios Convent art

San Juan de Dios Convent art

San Juan de Dios Convent's sculpture of Jesus

San Juan de Dios Convent’s sculpture of Jesus

In my next blog, I’ll share about the amazing thing that God did at Parque Central in Antigua (Park Central) and various pics of beautiful Antigua.

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Blog, Business, Faith, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Travel

Antigua’s beautiful ancient cathedrals

The old Antigua, Guatemala cathedral

The old Antigua, Guatemala cathedral

Recently I traveled to Antigua, Guatemala, for the first time. Although I want to travel all around the world, Guatemala was never on my radar. But it was a “God thing.” I’m writing a Guatemala blog series to show you the beautiful pictures and to share about the amazing things God did there. This is Blog #3, Antigua’s beautiful ancient cathedrals. You can read my other blogs about Guatemala at the links below:

My trip to Antigua, Guatemala http://www.bethjones.net/my-trip-to-antigua-guatemala/

Travel requirements, the Guatemala grocery stores, and the street markets http://www.bethjones.net/travel-requirements-travel-requirements-grocery-stores-street-markets/

*******

Traveling is both exciting and can be scary. But this was not my first rodeo traveling abroad. I’ve been to other nations, such as Switzerland, France, Israel, the Bahamas, Canada, Kenya, and Ireland. Before traveling to Guatemala, I watched a lot of videos on YouTube about Antigua and Guatemala to prepare for it and plan to make the best use of my short (one week!) time there.

Me drinking cappucino at Parque Central

Me drinking cappucino at Parque Central

So I typed a tentative itinerary of what I planned to do and where to go while there, and emailed it to my Spanish instructor, Elvia Reyes, who was showing me around the first couple of days, and to my friend Kim Rogers, who lives there. Both are very knowledgeable about Antigua and gave me great tips and advice before I arrived.

Beautiful ladies. My friend Kim Rogers & my Spanish instructor, Elvia Reyes

Beautiful ladies. My friend Kim Rogers & my Spanish instructor, Elvia Reyes

But when I got there, all my plans went out the window! Almost NOTHING happened according to my itinerary. Kim laughed about this and said, “Welcome to life in Guatemala!” I hired Elvia’s driver Allan to take me around Antigua (instead of using a Tuk Tuk, a chicken bus, or an Uber). He and Elvia were so good to me, BUT…what about my itinerary?!!!

Because I was depending on someone else to drive me around, I needed to go by someone else’s schedule, not mine! I knew that the schedule would change when I got there, but didn’t know it would change that much!

This included when I would wake up every day. After Kim arrived there (the day after me), she would text me on What’s App at 6:30 a.m. Are you kidding me? I am SO not a morning person! But because this was KIM, I went with it! I was just excited to actually meet her in person (and her boyfriend Stan, their friends, and Elvia, and Allan) and get to know them.

Kim and me by La Merced church a couple of days later - the place where God told her to move there.

Kim and me by La Merced church a couple of days later – the place where God told her to move there.

I prayed before the trip, asking God to order my steps each day, and boy, He did. This trip was all about FLEXIBLITY! 

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Travel requirements, the guatemala grocery stores, & the street markets

red flower

red flower in Guatemala

I just returned from traveling to Antigua, Guatemala. It was a “God thing” and I’m so thankful to Jesus for this great opportunity. I can’t post all the pics I took there, but wanted to blog with some of the beautiful pictures I took and share what happened while I was there. So I’m writing a Guatemala blog series here for you at BethJones.net.

God did amazing things there. You can read my first blog, My trip to Antigua, Guatemala, here.

This is Blog #2, The Guatemala grocery store and the street market. I share about the traveling requirements to enter Guatemala, how I got around there when I wasn’t walking, and how even shopping in a foreign country can be such an interesting, rich experience. Be sure to check back here for more blogs and pics of this incredible trip.

PCR test

PCR test

The Coronavirus pandemic has tragically impacted our entire world, and has been frustrating for “world nomads.” For months this year, the USA’s and Guatemala’s borders were closed and began cautiously re-opening in fall 2020, but with restrictions for airlines, restaurants, stores, street markets, and more. 

To travel to Guatemala, you don’t have to quarantine when you get there, but you must present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test to show the airline employee (s).  These requirements may change when you book your flight (or drive there or go by ship). I didn’t want to do the test, but that is what I had to do in order to travel there.

Presently, this test must have been done within the last 72 hours. I drove an hour to a medical clinic in Lamar, Missouri, to get a rapid results test done. They have the results within 15-20 minutes, giving you the piece of paper with your results to take with you. I didn’t want to chance taking the test and then not having the results in enough time, and not be able to go! (The regular lab test can take several days or longer.)

For my flight to Guatemala, as I showed my ticket and my test result, the airline’s employee at first told me, “This isn’t the right kind of paper.” After he consulted with several other staff, and I calmly waited (for once!) for God to move on my behalf, they finally decided it was fine, and stamped the red “okay” on my ticket!

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