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You are invited to attend a gathering on June 7 at 7 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in St P[...]
Date posted: Wednesday 30 October 2019
On August 19th, 13 members of Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan left for Guatemala. On the 20th, we split into two delegations. Six members journeyed two days to visit our partner congregation San Marcos in Maya Itza. The remaining seven stayed at the Lutheran Center to spend time with our partner Salvador Del Mundo in Guatemala city, the ladies at Milagro center and children at El Mirador school.
The plan was to assist the members of San Marco in the construction of their new church. As fate (or God) would have it, the need when we arrived was to pour the concrete floor and a member of our delegation does that for a living! The members of San Marcos had ideas on how this was to be done that differed from how our expert thought was best. With some diplomacy and grace they were able to work out the process. Robert showed them how to lay the first section, then had them do the second section themselves while he looked on. All this was in temps of 104F. They left the members of San Marcos with a new skill to finish the job in the coming weeks. Robert wrote the following blog during our trip that relates to concrete work:
Working with the people in Maya Itza to pour the new concrete floor for the church became very symbolic for me later in the trip. Concrete is made up of four key elements: rock, sand, water, and cement. Although cement is the lightest and least of all the elements in the mix, it is what gives concrete its strength. While rock, sand and water are available in many places in the world, cement is a rare element. Cement must be mined from deep within the earth, milled into a fine powder, dried for days on a large table and placed into bags.
Corinthians 3: 10-11 teaches us “Like an expert builder I built the foundation of that house. I used the gift that God gave me to do this. Others are building on that foundation. But everyone should be careful how he builds. The foundation has already been built. No one can build another foundation. The foundation that has already been laid is Jesus Christ.”
The teachings of Jesus and the love of God are like the cement. We have taken many years to learn the teachings of Jesus and realize God’s love, but if we do not share this with others it is like a bag of cement stored in a warehouse, useless to anyone. Mixing large blocks of concrete and sending them out to others will not build a strong foundation. Only when we bring the cement to others, combine it with the rock and sand and then add water can we form a solid concrete foundation in God. A relationship without God is like concrete without cement. It forms a very weak mud brick that cannot be built upon and can easily wash away.
Our partnership is only 3 years old but but we were able to "cement" the relationship with presence and cement.
We built our theme for our visit around being "hands on in community." Before we left for Guatemala, Easter Lutheran hosted a send off where members added their hand prints to t-shirts. We took all these t-shirts to Guatemala where we had the children at El Mirador school and Milagro ladies add their hand prints to the shirts we gave them. We told the story of the friends who took their sick friend to Jesus and lowered him through roof as a way to demonstrate being hands on in community.
We were able to spend most of three days with the ladies from Milagro. We started our visits with a game of Pictionary with cards that had both Spanish and English words as an ice breaker. We built a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle with the ladies. This was something new for them, but they quickly got the idea of how to put the pieces together. We started it all together; we left as they continued to work on it. When we came back, they proudly showed us it was all done. The puzzle emphasized the theme of all parts contributing to the community. During other visits, we continued to do various activities that related to this theme. The Milagro ladies also led us in activities. While they were very shy with us at first, as the week went on their confidence and smiles grew.
Because some of us we were in Guatemala City for a full week, we were able to have several visits with our partner, Salvador Del Mundo. We did a home visit one evening with several members. On another evening we met at the church with a larger group. We had a wonderful evening of sharing about the struggles at our church and hearing their struggles. They continue to struggle with keeping members engaged and growing their church. On Sunday our Maya Itza contingent returned and we all got to worship with them and had lunch together afterwards.
Hand in hand, we were able to grow our relationship with our two partners.
– Kim Becker
Easter Lutheran Church, Eagan