My big dream is to travel all around the world to many nations. But Antigua, Guatemala was never on my radar, and yet I just returned from traveling there! It is what I call a “God thing.”
My friends Ron and Rhonda Hedrick, who are missionaries in Guatemala, had both invited me there to visit and to speak to women, but I sensed it was not the right time yet. They are doing a great work for God there, feeding hundreds of hungry people.
Then last year, I became Facebook friends with Kim Rogers, who heads the not-for-profit organization, Heart for Guatemala.
She inspired me with her posts and her beautiful pics of Antigua, Guatemala. I felt God stirring my heart to go there and began to pray.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:1, “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”
I am not the type of person who needs 100 confirmations to make sure what I heard is really God! Jesus says His sheep hear His voice, and I am His lamb (a Christian believer). But since Guatemala is dangerous, I felt that I needed God to confirm that I had heard accurately and this was HIS idea, not just my own bright one. 🙂
As my sister Maria pointed out when I told her about the trip and one of my daughters had expressed concerns about me traveling there alone, I have been to other dangerous nations, including Haiti, the Bahamas, and Kenya, Africa!
After getting to know Kim a little more on Facebook, she invited me to Antigua to visit her – and she even offered for me to stay in her home! When I shared with my friend Ron that I was thinking about going there, he too invited me there (again), offering for me to stay in his and Rhonda’s house for a week.
Ron also gave me a directional, prophetic word of knowledge to choose one place to go (Antigua or near Lake Atitlan, where he is), and choose that place. Then take another trip to the other place. That way I wasn’t trying to pack too much into one trip. Words of wisdom. I chose Antigua, and he said he thought that was a good choice for my first time in Guatemala, since Antigua is tourist-friendly.
I knew these were the two confirmations I needed to make the trip.
After that I asked God to give me a dream about going there to confirm it even more. He gave me three dreams that I believed were from Him, confirming for me to go. I had peace in my heart that this was God’s will for me, and I began to pray fervently and ask my small group of intercessors to pray, too, for God’s protection over me and my family, for His provision, and for His leading.
Two big needs were for my plane fares and my accommodations there. Initially, I was going to stay with Kim at her beautiful condo home (more on this later!), but Guatemala’s border had shut due to Coronavirus while she was traveling around the USA with her boyfriend Stan and she didn’t know exactly when she would be going back to Antigua. She suggested the Air BnB, owned by Diego, who is the boyfriend of Kim’s hairdresser Stacy in Antigua.
I contacted Diego on Air BnB, and when the border to Guatemala began opening and God provided financially (through my hard-working husband Ray and a few of my generous friends), I quickly booked the one-bedroom, one-bath, beautiful cabin after seeing the pictures and reading great reviews. Diego reassured me that if the border to Guatemala closed again, I would not be charged for the cabin. They have a flexible cancellation policy.
It was the right choice. I stayed at this beautiful, very clean, safe Air BnB in Antigua, that is just a few blocks (walking distance) from Parque Central (the Center Park in Antigua, where there are coffee shops, restaurants, stores, and the street and Artisan markets). I LOVED Antigua and I want to return there again, staying at this same Air BnB, for a longer time!
The bed was so comfortable with its great mattress, soft white comforters and sheets, and supportive pillows. I often struggle with insomnia, but slept like a baby all week long at this place!
I loved the real, pretty plants in this place. Outside was a little patio with a table and two chairs in a pretty garden, where I had my coffee in the morning and read my Bible and prayed. Here is the pretty, compact Bible I purchased on Amazon (King James Version) and took with me.
The flowers in Guatemala are so beautiful and unique. Due to how much rain Guatemala has (an average of 40 to 80 inches in the southern and eastern part, and double near the Caribbean shoreline) and the spring-like weather all year round, the trees and grass stay green and flowers blossom. Guatemala is called “The Land of Eternal Spring” because of this.
I loved the terra cotta stone tile on the floor of the Air BnB and want to do my sunroom at home with this kind of tile.
This Air BnB has a little kitchen and sink, with beautiful wall tile. It has all the amenities you need, such as a French press coffee maker (with the coffee provided!), plates, bowls, cups, glasses, pots and pans, eating utensils, a little stove, and an Eco Filter to filter the tap water (don’t drink the tap water in foreign countries, as it can cause bacteria/parasites and make you very sick. Only order bottled water at restaurants and wash fruits and veggies with bottled water before eating them!).
At first I was dubious about drinking this water, but Kim told me it was fine and I did drink it. It tasted fine and I did not get sick from drinking it. Kim said it was specifically created for Guatemala water.
The Air BnB has a comfortable black couch and pillows, with a cute little blue table. I loved it and used it to study my Spanish lessons and write in my journal, as well as to eat.
The first night my Spanish teacher Elvia Reyes (she is amazing– I hired her to teach me the basics of Spanish before I went there) and her friend and my driver Allan (who picked me up at the airport and took me back) stopped by the restaurant Tacool’s on the way, as I had asked to buy tacos to take to the Air BnB to eat for my first night. They were delicious—especially with the guacamole. Kim laughed and said that was Mexican food, not Guatemalan–but it was on my list to do and great! I hired Allan to drive me around Antigua. He and Elvia were such a blessing to me!
The Air BnB also has a little closet with shelves to put your clothes and other belongings. I hung up my dresses and clothes. This was very convenient. It also has sliding windows made of thick board, for more privacy and to block the light. This really helped me sleep better at night. In the morning, you can open them and the sunlight streams in, with the view of the pretty garden.
Sunlight streamed through a tall bathroom window, gently waking me in the mornings. (Also a rooster who crowed a little, lol!) I hardly needed an alarm all week long, and got on a great schedule of rising early and going to bed early.
It was so peaceful here. I truly loved it and hope to go back soon, for a longer time!
The Air BnB has two rooms, and the bathroom is the other one. It has two nice wooden shelves where I put my makeup and other toiletries, and a shower. The bathroom also has this pretty terra cotta tile. The owner Diego provided a hair dryer. I did buy dollar store, flamingo flip flops to wear in the shower to protect my feet from any type of athletes’ foot, etc.
You don’t need a special adapter or anything to plug in your phone and other devices. There were several plugs in the cabin. I did forget to bring a surge protector to plug in my iPhone, something I recommend (although my phone seems fine). Shampoo and conditioner were provided in the shower in the dispenser. The only things I had to ask for all week were extra trash bags and a couple of extra towels.
Oh, one important thing! In MOST places in Guatemala (including restaurants), you do NOT flush toilet paper! I had a very hard time remembering this for some reason (habits die hard), and prayed the toilet wouldn’t stop up at this Air BnB. Fortunately, it didn’t. Just something you have to get used to there. The pipes that carry sewage under the streets are small. This is common in Latin/Central America. Weird, huh? You throw away toilet paper in the TRASH CAN!
The advantage of an Air BnB is that they are often a lot cheaper than hotels. This is the BEST one that I’ve ever stayed at! It was PERFECTO – perfect for me for this week! Kim and Stan just traveled around the USA this year, staying at Air BnB’s, averaging $25 to $40 a night. She is now writing a book called Cheapskate Travel, and I can’t wait to read it when it’s published!
In January 2020, I began slowly buying the things I needed for the trip, a few at a time, so I wouldn’t have to buy everything all at once. I already had a black backpack and a small rollerboard suitcase to take on the plane, from my trip to Ireland with our daughter Leah.
I bought a few new dresses (many of the local Guatemalan women and girls wear dresses), and I also packed these, rolling my clothes tightly to fit into my rollerboard:
- several blouses;
- two pairs of jeans and some yoga pants;
- a couple pairs of socks, undies, and a blue jean jacket to wear to the airport;
- good walking sandals, the boots I wore to the airport (it was cold here in Kansas City), and the flip flops (should have brought my Nikes, but no room! I do recommend good supportive walking/running shoes, due to Antigua’s cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks!);
- my journal, Sharpie and other pens;
- my Spanish lessons in a notebook;
- my iPhone and charger, a battery pack and charger;
- and makeup and toiletries. I learned from being a flight attendant for a short season, “Pack light and tight.” I did not check ANY bags, as I didn’t want to risk them getting lost. I took the backpack and the rollerboard on the plane. When I left, I gave away some clothes to make room for the small souvenirs that I bought my family and my intercessors. You do NOT need as much as you think! Obviously, if you’re traveling for longer than a week, you will need more than I brought, and will need to check your luggage. On some airlines, you have to pay more for checked bags and/or certain amounts of weight for luggage.
In my next blog, I will be sharing what I did on my 2nd day of traveling to Antigua, Guatemala. Please be sure to check back here to learn more about the amazing things God did on this trip!