The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
Let no one make little of you because you are young, but be an example to the church in word, in behavior, in love, in faith, in holy living. I Timothy 4:12
My name is Diego Sebastián Gil Castillo. I am 24 years old and I graduated from college with a degree in international relations and international trade last year. I have been working at ILAG since 2013, and you could say that all my life I have seen my family serving in the church and working with communities in the rural area of the country. Seeing my family committed to the Church, traveling to the rural area of the country, receiving visits from large groups of people from rural areas or from another country, was normal.
When I was growing up I realized that the dynamics of my family were not very common. I realized that in my country, in Guatemala, not everyone has the same opportunities. The way of living in the city is very different from in the rural area, and many people are not aware of that, or if they know it is easier to ignore them or look the other way. But God never abandons.
Since I joined the work of Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala, I learned little by little. I started part-time in 2013. Because I had to go to college in the mornings, my job initially was to help with accounting and paperwork. Sometimes I traveled to the churches in the rural area when I was on vacation and did not have to go to school, which I began to like a lot, to know the reality of my people and still see great faith and good will; I realized that those persons were and are rich in spirit.
In 2017 I finished college and I joined the church-full time. January 2018 was when I started my "year of learning". This year has been incredible - what I have learned and lived in these 6 months is priceless. I am in charge of delegations - I prepare the logistics for the visits of the delegations to Guatemala, including itineraries, communications, and budgets. But the really important and beautiful part are the visits with my brothers and sisters in Christ, to witness that it is an accompaniment, and see how the bonds of being partners in faith are strengthened with each visit.
I love watching groups of people from the United States travel thousands of kilometers to visit their sister churches. How these people form a team, get on a bus, and are prepared to eat differently, sleep differently and even speak another language, travel 6 to 8 hours by land to reach a small community, and share the grace of the Lord. These visits are amazing - to see how people united by faith work side by side, and share and live together for a few days is my favorite part of my work. And to see how people who have visited many times before keep coming back, and when they are in the Lutheran Center or in their partner community say: "I feel at home."
I feel that I cannot find enough words to describe this experience. Maybe you are reading this and you have already lived it and remember it with great joy, or you are reading it but you need to see it with your own eyes. I can only say that I am blessed, to be part of this and to be a witness of what is happening, of God's work carried out, of what it is to walk together as family in Christ.
Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala