Last month, a delegation from Our Savior's Lutheran in Stillwater, Minnesota and Christ the King Lutheran in Durango, Colorado traveled together to visit their companions at the ILAG. Both churches share a companionship with the people of San Juan Bautista in Zaculeu, Petén. In this week's Caminando Juntos, Becky Maier & Sandy Fabio, members of Our Savior's, reflect on time spent with their companions.
"It has been three weeks since I left Guatemala and I have many special memories of the friends that I met there," Sandy writes. "The families in Zaculeu were very welcoming and so willing to open their homes to us."
Their time with one another was marked by sharing together in meals and worship, as well as activities with the children and women of the communities.
"They cooked delicious meals for us," Becky remembers. Sandy agrees. "They made a dinner with chicken, black beans and tortillas and a lunch with chicken soup. We had the opportunity to cook a meal of spaghetti for them. I think they enjoyed the Oreo cookies the most though."
The delegation led the children in crafts and activities based around the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den. "After hearing the story, it was special to watch one young boy share the story with his grandmother," Sandy remembers. They also did activities crafts with the adults of the congregation. Men helped the children make masks, while also working on painting and decorating photo frames for photos they took with the delegation. The women of the congregation even received facials, learning to do them with one another for a bit of self-care.
One of the most powerful experiences that companions witness is when they worship and pray together. "Worship time was very meaningful," Sandy writes. "Their church is the center of their community and the elders of the congregation have laid the roots for the next generations to have the chance to worship together and grow in their faith. You could feel God's presence in their worship."
Time spent with our companions is often simple, marked by radical hospitality, healing prayers, joyful children's lessons, and lots of laughter, but this time together produces complex feelings, opening us up to how truly global this church is. Becky sums it up bests in two short paragraphs:
"And they shared their lives with us. They cooked delicious meals for us, they proudly showed us their fields, they shared their dreams for not only their church building but also for the people in their midst and for future growth. They shared their homes and they taught us Spanish. We prayed together for those in the community who are ill. We laughed together and we had fun playing with the children. We worked together to put their new stoves together so that the women will have a healthier life with less smoke in their kitchens.
"It was truly a time of accompaniment and we give thanks for our friends in Zaculeu. They are encouraged by our time together and we are renewed."
Thanks be to God!
Becky Maier & Sandy Fabio
Our Savior's, Stillwater