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[...]
Luke 2: 28-32
Simeon took him in his arms and blessed God: "According to your word, Sovereign Lord, you can now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples: light that enlightens the nations and glory of your people Israel. "
In this time of Advent, we give thanks to God, because in His great mercy He gave us the gift of His Grace, for our Salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we are on the verge of ending this year of 2018 and looking back on all of the activities carried out during the year, we can only give infinite thanks to all the people that God has called to support His ministry in Guatemala.
After finishing one more school year at the Augustinian Lutheran School of Guatemala, full of good experiences, successes, we received the blessing of receiving an award for educational quality.
Likewise, finishing the first year at the Educational Center for Women MILAGRO, 8 young women successfully completed their formal studies. In addition, they received courses in finance, human rights, women's rights, and technical arts such as: cutting and sewing, weaving, embroidery, carpentry, masonry, bakery, among others. But above all, knowing that this is another year won for these young girls, who without the MILAGRO center, would not have an opportunity to have a decent and different future.
At the same time, in the last assembly of the year, we listened and shared with the leaders of the rural area their experiences, their learning, and their challenges. Knowing that this year is another year of sharing the message of grace in many regions of Guatemala, in addition to carrying out a holistic ministry, taking into account spiritual and material needs. In this way, we listened to their reports of pastoral visits, services, baptisms, confirmations, first communions, and the health program, in which 305 improved stoves have already been installed. Only 85 families still need to receive a stove.
Similarly, experiencing how the women's ministry is growing stronger, having more women in our churches who express themselves with greater certainty, with the knowledge that they are daughters of God, and having representation in their churches, gives us an inexplicable joy.
And we could go on about the different ministries of ILAG, such as music, youth, health, partnership ministry, education with scholarships, leadership, children in which there is active participation in the churches.
The Augustinian Lutheran Church of Guatemala continues to grow not only in number but in faith, in Lutheran identity, in unity, in strength, knowing that like many brothers and sisters we are equally sons and daughters of God.
And with this firm assurance and thanksgiving for all the blessings and service that took place in our communities, we want to send a greeting full of love from the members of the Augustinian Lutheran Church of Guatemala, wishing that in this season, in which we remember the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, you will receive many blessings in your lives.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a New Year full of new challenges fighting for justice and building peace, with trust in God that everything works for good.
The Rev. Karen Castillo
Augustinian Lutheran Church of Guatemala
Photo used with thanks to Betsy Preston of Grace Lutheran in Apple Valley.