If you’re ever in Guatemala shortly before Christmas there is a phenomenon that you might not even realize is happening as you drive the PanAmerican Highway (CA-1) through the mountains. Children are found sitting along the highway waving at the cars that go by.
While that seems less than remarkable at first mention, the fact that there are not just a few random children waving at the cars that go by but hundreds and hundreds of them. Some are in small groups of two or five, others are sitting by themselves waving at the passing cars. Others are in groups of 20 or more huddling around blazing fires and turning to wave. In December of 2012, in just under a mile of driving down the curvy mountain roads between Los Encuentros and Tecpan, I counted over 100 children and mothers along the roadside.
After seeing these children who wave last year and again this year, I asked around and the best I could find out is that at some point someone stopped and gave gifts out to some of the kids on the roadside. Apparently, word got around and the legend of the waving children began.
As we planned a trip to the city, Chrisi and I decided that we wanted to do something for these kids. Chrisi picked up 30 pounds of rice and beans in one-pound bags to have them ready for the trip. We also gathered some Christian tracts to share with them.
So, as we started down the mountain, we saw the first group of kids waving at us and we pulled over to their delight. It was a small group, but they rallied around the side of the car as we shared the best Gift ever — Jesus Christ. We asked why they were waving and even had our friend, Juana, ask them in K’iche’ but they didn’t answer. After sharing with them about Christ, we gave them each a bag of rice or beans and a tract and then headed on our way.
The next group was larger and we shared the Gospel with them and then had them line up to keep things in order. By the end of the line, we had only one bag of rice left. This we gave out to several mothers holding their babies along with some bread and tracts that we had left.
After those three stops we kept moving as we didn’t have any of the rice or beans left nor did we have nearly enough for the groups we saw crowed along the road side.
What an exciting way to make our way to the city: Giving out Christmas food and the Gospel! Next year we need about several hundred pounds of beans and rice when we try this again!