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[...]
When we visit our family in Guatemala, share the Good News of the Gospel, eat, sing, pray and play, we may forget the desperation of so many in the country. During the most recent visit of the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Roseville, and Como Park Lutheran, St. Paul, we were reminded of this. Hours before we were to return to Minnesota, most of us lost some or all of our luggage, including cameras, computers, backpacks, passports, and a lot of dirty clothes.
So many unusual circumstances led to the break-in of our van and the loss of our possessions. A broken wrist the first morning called for a change in routine. Pastor Karen & Pastor Tim Bernard went to the hospital with that member of our delegation and had to arrange an immediate flight back home for her. The rest of us packed the van and drove through the city where we could reconnect; consequently, we neglected to secure our passports at the Lutheran Center. But that comes later.
Our time spent with our companion congregation was fantastic. The church was vibrant and strong. Our relationship in Christ continues to grow. As we left, we were already excitedly planning our next visit.
Unknown to us, while we were in the village with our companions, a bridge on the main highway to Guatemala City collapsed (much like what happened to 35W in Minneapolis). We thank God that no one was hurt. But, we had to reroute through the middle of the country, on a less serviced road. We had a 3 hour wait for a ferry and didn't arrive at our hotel until 11pm. Our last day in Guatemala was largely spent in a traffic jam. At 8pm, tired after 12 hours of driving, not having eaten since noon and not having moved in 2 hours, we decided to stop for dinner.
As we left the van and headed into the restaurant, we were tired and complacent; we didn't think to make sure that our passports, valuables, and belongings were safe. Enjoying the afterglow of a marvelous visit with our companions in the village, we forgot what life in the city was like and what the people have to live with every day.
I wish that four delegation members didn't have to stay two extra days to replace their stolen passports. I would love to have my camera and all the photos of our time with our companions. I miss my iPad. I am replacing my favorite travel clothes. But, I am not angry or disheartened. We were given so much by our companion family! The things that I now miss are just that - things! People who are desperate do desperate things. I am loved and will forgive just as I have been forgiven. Peace be with you.
Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Roseville