The National Flower of Guatemala

The Lycaste skinneri var. alba is the national flower of Guatemala, this flower is also know as the Monja Blanca or The White Nun Orchid.

The White Nun Orchid

Lycaste flowers, like all orchid blooms, have three petals and three sepals. The petals are typically yellow, white, or orange, and the sepals are yellow, orange, green, or reddish brown. The petals and sepals may be marked sparsely or densely with red, reddish purple, purple, or reddish brown spots. The lip (ventral petal) may be very similar to the other two petals, as in Lycaste aromatica or Lycaste brevispatha, or colored quite distinctively, as in several subspecies and varieties of Lycaste macrophylla. Most Lycaste flowers are medium in size, averaging about 5 to 10 cm, but Lyc. schilleriana is 16-18 cm across. Some Lycaste blooms have a unique fragrance - the scent of Lyc. aromatica has been variously described as cinnamon or clove. The blooms of the species Lyc. cochleata, consobrina, and cruenta also have a pleasant scent.

This orchid is a rare flower in the Verapaz district of Guatemala, symbolizing peace, beauty and art. A decree by General Jorge 1, in 1934 made the white nun as the national flower. Since then its commercialization has been prohibited.

A Letter from our Partners in Guatemala

From: Andrew & Rebecca Loveall

Missionaries to Guatemala

A Discipleship Mission

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings and blessings from Guatemala. Everyone here with the Escuela Integrada Schools project sends their warmest regards and blessings to our family, friends, supporters, and prayer warriors in the United States and Europe. This is not a full newsletter (Andrew will try to get one out later this week) but a short note to let everyone know what's happening here.

We received a threat last Thursday; a threat of violence or assault against the Antigua school and against Andrew specifically. This came about as a result of our normal activity and decisions -- which are geared towards the protection of the children and families of Escuela Integrada. We took this threat seriously and started extra security measures here. In fact, Andrew just received two quotes (Friday afternoon) from local security firms for the placement of armed guards in the Antigua Escuela Integrada school.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example,
that you should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21 NIV

At about 2:00am Sunday morning, men broke into the Antigua school. They sawed through the protective bars of the front window and gained access. They broke into and ransacked Andrew's office and carried out much valuable equipment, including digital cameras and two older notebook computers (our new computers were, as always at night, with us at our house.) They grabbed some money that was kept in Andrew's office as well as valuable documents. This all happened while we were hosting the short-term missions team from the Green Hills Baptist Church.

We have good reason to believe that these men were armed.

However, we had in the building two of our young men -- Juan and Victor (many of you have met them both during visits here) who were sleeping in the kitchen -- behind it's metal security door. They called Andrew, who called the police. Unfortunately, the police went to the wrong address -- about 2 blocks down the street. However, the police lights and sirens (so it seems) scared the burglars -- who dropped all the valuables they had into a corner -- and fled. We have thus recovered most of what they were in the process of stealing.

These men tried to breach the security doors on the main office -- without success. While one door gave way, the main security door held firm and they were unable to access the main office. Because of the police presence, instead of losing much valuable equipment, we lost about Q150 in cash (about 20 dollars). We are pleased and grateful that the Lord protected our young men and that He protected the school in this way.

Of note: on examination of what they were trying to steal, we know that this was a serious attack.

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.

Psalm 125:1-2 NIV

Why did this happen? What evil is behind this? We don't know exactly, but we suspect that the enemy of our souls is displeased with this summer's activities here. We have come to the end of the 2008 visiting team season. Our annual main ministry outreaches, which our work builds towards all year, have been completed. Our main adult ministry outreach was completed with the visit of the Circle of Love team of doctors, nurses, and support personnel. Our main children's ministry outreach was completed on Friday with the completion of the Green Hills Baptist Church (La Habra, CA) team program.

Over the summer, with the work of these teams of others, there have been over 300 decisions for Christ in our work here. We have rebuilt and / or repaired the houses of over ten poor families. The new classrooms in El Tesoro (the war refugee town) are almost completed. Literally tons of clothes have been distributed. The Circle of Love team as well as the leadership of Escuela Integrada were honored with a private meeting with Dr. Rafael Espada, the Vice President of the Republic of Guatemala. We are seeing a spiritual harvest in the work here like never before.

This has also come as the U.S. and European economies have tanked. Finances are tough. We did not make the July financial needs (double salaries mandated by the government, etc.) and -- indeed -- are still behind in paying the July mandated "bonos" to all our employees, although the teachers have all been paid. The July "bullet" was not dodged this year and has been put off till the end of August, when these legal requirements must be paid. We are very badly behind financially. This seems to be the story in a great many families, churches, and ministries as people in the States and Europe lose available income. So this attack on the school seems, surely, to be intended to dishearten us. The enemy seems to believe that we will be discouraged by this attack. He wants our people -- and the children and families here to be afraid. This is normal --we are on the 'front lines' so to speak.

We are not afraid. We trust in the Lord.

In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation." Isaiah 25:9 NIV

Please pray for our safety and the safety of the Escuela Integrada schools. Please pray for our finances -- specifically that we can raise an extra $10,000 above normal August needs over the next two weeks. We must get caught up. The work of the Lord depends on it.

We call on our supporting churches and organizations to make special, intercession for us -- we ask you to all pray. We are considering the placement of professional, armed guards in the school for a period of 90 days. If we do this, it will cost about $1,400.00 extra per month. We have not yet decided whether or not to do this and are diligently praying about this decision.

Rebecca travels to the States (Chicago area) to begin the first leg of her graduate studies at Wheaton College. We need your prayers for our family at this time. There are many, many needs among the children and families here. We are still confronting the abuse and mistreatment of these precious children -- and we need your prayers -- and we need the Lord's strength and wisdom as we navigate the mentoring and counseling challenges here.

May the Lord bless you in all things!

Your brother and sister and humble servants,

Andrew & Rebecca Loveall

Missionaries to Guatemala

"God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as

you have helped His people and continue to help them". - Hebrews 6:10 NIV

How fair is “Free Trade”?

In Guatemala the violence has increased dramatically in the past sever months since Cafta was ratified. Suggestions have been made that maybe the Guatemalan government may be to blame for some of the violence. This year alone there has been 8 murders, 2 drive by shootings, and the kidnapping and rape of top union officials daughter.

Cafta is supposed to help the small local farmers and so far all it has done is bring fear to the little man.

"Guatemalan workers are being targeted for their union activity," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said. "Without the freedom from fear to join unions and bargain collectively, how can we expect any workers to benefit from a trade agreement?"

Violence for this country is very common. There was a coup that started in 1954 and lasted until a peace accord was signed in 1966. The coup was started on behalf of the United Fruit Company to overthrow the democratic government. The coup is what started a 36 year civil war which started military dictatorship, death squads, and genocide. Even though the peace accord was signed it did not stop the violence. The ongoing violence against workers in Guatemala makes it clear that talk of free trade improving human rights in developing countries is far from reality. Free trade has done nothing but increased poverty, while rewarding the government and take away any hope for the poor indiginous.

Guatemala needs more electricity

Sustainable Power Corp. is please to announce the purchase of 1, 000 acres to build a new 1 gigawatt power plant.

"This acquisition continues our intention of expanding our business throughout Central America and in other parts of the world. This plant, when completed, will permit us to begin producing green power at very competitive pricing with our friends in Central America." John Rivera, Chairman and CEO of Sustainable Power Corp.

The acquisition will be finalized upon completion of appropriate documentation with the property contributed valued at approximately $4,000,000.

Sustainable Power Corp. is an international green energy total service provider focused on environmentally safe power generation.

With electricity in such high demand in Guatemala this is a win win situation. Most of the homes in the highland area's of Guatemala live with one light bulb or no lights what so ever. The heavy demand on electricity in the larger metropolitan areas of the country causes brown outs or loss of electricity for up to several days at a time. So any news about possible increase electricity in the country is good news.

Genpact a world leader acquired a delivery center in Guatemala City

The newly-acquired facility is Genpact's first in Guatemala and will extend Genpact's Latin American presence beyond Mexico. The new delivery center will house some 700 to 2000 professionals.

"Our expansion into Guatemala demonstrates Genpact's ongoing commitment to globalization and to continuously improving our ability to deliver global business impact for our clients," said Steve Rudderham, Business Leader for Genpact's Latin American operations. "The region's close proximity to the U.S. makes it a convenient location to provide near-shore support for our clients' customer-service, finance and supply-chain processes. As demand for these services increases, we will explore new opportunities to grow our presence in Latin America."

The acquired delivery center in Guatemala City is located by the largest public university and is hoping to attract key talent from the college.

The funding for this project was from GE Money, a division of the General Electric Company.

"GE Money is delighted to introduce our global servicing partner, Genpact, to the Guatemala market place," said Charlie Crabtree, Senior Vice-President & COO for GE Money. "Throughout the world, Genpact has demonstrated their ability to deliver world class service to GE customers and we are excited to extend this relationship to Guatemala."

For more information, see our website at:

Guatemala gets rocked by another earthquake

The China View news is reporting that Guatemala got hit by a 5.2 earthquake Sunday. The earthquake hit at 8:25 local time and the epicenter was southwest of Guatemala.

To view the complete story click here.

Jennifer Chiong, Miss Guatemala

Jennifer Chiong Miss Guatemala is Miss Reina de la Costa Maya 2008

Top three winners - Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala

For complete details of the pageant please see click here


I saw this article on one of my Google alerts,

The Guatemalan Embassy has once again donated a large quantity of medical and hospital equipment to the Government of Belize. The equipment includes complete medical emergency kits, advanced surgery equipment, bandages, gauze's, oxygen tubes, electrodes, dispensers, drape surgical screens, hospital sheets among other items. The donation is valued at 46 thousand dollars and was handed over to the National Emergency Management Organization.

I thought that this was very interesting since the medical community is Guatemala seems to be always in need of these supplies themselves. But the hospitals in Belize must be in more need of these supplies than Guatemala since the Embassy did this great donation to there neighbor.

Malnutrition in Guatemala

Life in Guatemala for about 87 percent of the country is tough and hard. We have experienced extreme malnutrition in the familys that attend our 3 schools. When a child is starving they cannot learn, that is why we have a morning meal and a hot lunch for the children that attend our schools.
Guatemala is first in children Malnutrition in the continent and fourth worldwide, said the Human Rights Ombudsman when he submitted his documents.
Education, nutrition, and healthcare are some of the high prioritys we take with our young people. If we want to see this country change for the good, these 3 things have to be high on the priority list. The young people of today are our future of tomarrow.

The Rain Lilly or Zephyr Lilly

The rain lilly is a native to Mexico and Guaetemala, the formal name for the rain lilly is called "Zephyranthes". Zephyranthes are commonly called rain lilies since they often come into bloom after it rains. Zephyranthes flowers are very similar to Habranthus flowers and both are called rain lilies. Habranthus flowers point upward BUT at an angle and have unequal stamens, and Zephyranthes flowers point straight up and have equal stamens.
The grandiflora variety has deep rose pink flowers, also funnel-form but larger than the Zeph. citrina about 10 cm across.

Propagation can be done by division or separation of well-rooted bulbs. This can be done just after the blooming period. Almost the whole year, they grow green leaves.

Although the rain lilly are tropical in origin, they can tolerate winter but not in a freezing point. In winter like all other plants, they lose there leaves and rest or hibernate so that in spring, they burst with beautiful flowers.

Guatemala's attorney general resigns

According to Reuters on July 29, 2008 the top prosecutor Juan Luis Florido left halfway through his term a spokesman from his office told Reuters.

With the violence at an all time high in the country and with one of the highest crime rates in Latin America the attorney General did little to stamp out crime.
President Alvaro Colom has not give a reason for Florido's decision to step down.
Thousands of murders of high profile people are still left unsolved, groups of death squads are still running loose in the neighborhoods.
Human rights groups have been urging the government to ask for the resination the attorney general in the past several years and now it finally has taken place. So hopefully we will get a new attorney general that will make it a high priority to do something to stop this epidemic of crime.

Aid coming to help flood victims in Guatemala

With the recent flooding in Guatemala the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) according to the adventist news network is providing food to over 1,000 families that have been displaced.

According to the Guatemalan government roads, powerlines crops and homes have been washed away due to the heavy rains that have hit the eastern and central highlands of Guatemala.

A total of 25 municipalities in six departments are under the state of calamity due to rains, landslides and flooding of the last few days.

Long Delay

Sorry for the long delay and not writing sooner. I have been quit busy at work doing end of the month postings and other financial reviews.
Have heard from our partners in Guatemala in the last few days. They had a interesting meeting with the Vice President of Guatemala along with another partner who is trauma surgeon in IL. here are a few pics with meeting a Vice President.

I will be back soon to add more updates to this blog.
In the mean time check out our web site for additional pictures and updates.

Where is Guatemala

Guatemala is located in Central America. Guatemala borders Mexico, Belize, El Savador, and Honduras.

Guatemala is roughly 42,043 sq miles in size, slightly smaller than the state of Tennessee. Guatemala's capital city, Guatemala City, is located in the southcentral part of the country. The country consists of three main regions— highlands with the heaviest population, the tropical area along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, and the tropical jungle in the northern lowlands (known as the Petén).