The Alure of Holy Places

Trip Start Oct 10, 2007
Trip End May 15, 2008

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Saturday, December 8, 2007

After many years of persecution, genocide and destruction the Mayan people of Guatemala continue to strive and survive.  There are 21 different active Mayan languages in Guatemala. 70% of the population in Guatemala is of Mayan decent and many of those continue to practice their individualized form of Mayan religions, often combined with Catholic celebrations as well. 

However, in recent years, there has been a strong development of Evangelical Churches due to a major, and effective, influx of Missionaries de Los Estados Unidos.  Thus, in San Pedro de La Laguna, there is one historically beautiful Catholic church, one Baptist wedding cake and, from my understanding, over 30 Evangelical churches. 

Now, Iīll be the first to admit that the evangelical faith is a bit scary.  For example, after a one or two hour conversation en espaņol, I was asked if I wanted to die.  I answered with a clear "no" and the missionary stated that he and others of his faith did because only in death would they truly be close to god, that whenever they get sick they thank God with a big G because they might be closer to death.  Ok, well to each their own but a little creepy too. 

I will give credit to the Evangelicals, however, that when they arenīt worshiping in what seems like a hole in the wall home they have clearly hired an excellent exterior designer whom paints the more elaborate churches in brilliantly matching colors.  The Catholics will always win though in their elaborate celebrations and grudging willingness to allow the Mayan people to maintain their own traditions.
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