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[...]
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Pastors and Bishops:
Greetings on behalf of the Augustinian Lutheran Church of Guatemala. We remember you all in our Sunday prayers, every Sunday. We think of you often and are grateful for the gift of sharing this partnership with all of you.
The end of 2019 was productive, and the last activity was Diego Gil visiting Global Mission offices of the ELCA, as he shared experiences with many people around the world and Latin America and the Caribbean. In the picture we can observe Rev. Jaime Dubon, director of Latin America and the Caribbean desk; the Rev. Soliette López from Nicaragua, and Diego Gil, coordinator for delegations of ILAG.
The year 2020 started with fruitful activities as Violeta Paau, Julio Cesar Cao and Raymundo Quib attended an international Health School in Chile for 15 days. Their reports were such an encouragement for ILAG and the Health Ministry; they came back full of energy to share specially about human rights, women's rights, and health issues.
With great joy we share that Violeta, Julio and Raymundo are sharing what they have learned with the leaders and with MILAGRO Educational Center. Violeta will share her knowledge one hour a month with MILAGRO´s young women, and also with the children at the elementary school with Beatriz.
MILAGRO Educational Center started the new year with six new young women: three from San Antonio Tzeja, two from Playita, and one from Israel, plus the eight who were at the center last year. It was a joy to see all of them getting to know each other, the curiosity and welcoming to each other. We also have a new teacher for the MILAGRO Center, Melissa Sipaque; we are sure you will enjoy meeting her this year. Melissa is representing ILAG at a Lutheran World Federation event in Chile.
We are very grateful for the gift of partnership that has allowed these young women to have an opportunity in life to change their history.
And talking about education, the new school year has begun. We have 124 children signed up. The children and teachers have started in the old school, as the new school building is being remodeled, and in this process we found more issues than we would like. We knew it would happen and it is normal in this kind of process.
The drainage, and electricity system need to be fixed, and the main gate too. The good news is that we have received money for reparations, and we will do our best with the resources we have. We have already remodeled two classrooms, and in the process of remodeling the two classrooms, the neighbor has a big leak on his wall, as he has his bathroom in that area, but he hasn’t fixed it.
Safety is in place, and we hope the children will move to the new school building before its dedication on April 15; we hope we will have some representatives from synods, partner churches and global mission.
We are also glad to share with you that Samantha Quintanilla, financial representative from ELCA Global Mission, and Stephen Deal will be visiting us soon. We are looking forward to receive them and have a productive time together.
Churches continue serving God's people and sharing His good news. We started the year by having a meeting with Santos Chun and Julio Lux, pastors who will be new regional coordinators. We did a lot of planning, and they are very excited and at the same time nervous about this new “learning experience” and I agree, as all of us are new to this process. We have prayed a lot over this plan, and we have planned it very carefully. Please, we ask your prayers as we move forward.
This past holiday, we did a lot of reflection about where we are going in this path, and how God has called us to serve His people. We were cleaning offices, papers, etc. and we ran into many pictures of the beginning of ILAG. Beside the fact that we were young and at that time didn’t know where God was leading us, we decided to follow Him with no doubt. So many people have finished education, and have changed their lives, so many people have improved and have grown on their faith. So much history, good history, as everything is a learning process for everyone. When we stop and look back and realize how far we have walked in this journey, it helps to continue not losing sight and vision of what this call is about. And it´s about God´s people.
We are grateful for the time off we had during the last two weeks of 2019, to have time to debrief, reflect, and rest. May this new year bring all of us closer to God, and to each other in God´s mission.
In Christ Peace,
Pastor Karen Castillo
On Behalf of ILAG