Guatemala Glimpses

Date posted: Tuesday 25 October 2016

This week's reflection includes thoughts from two members of the recent delegation to Cristo Luz del Mundo in Santa Amelia, Petén. Como Park Lutheran and Lutheran Church of the Resurrection are mutually partnered with Cristo Luz del Mundo, and they traveled together.


I remember:


  • Watching expressions of Walmart shoppers in Guatemala City as we filled our basket with marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars was only a weak forerunner to seeing the delight of the people around the campfire in St. Amelia. Perhaps a tradition of s'mores has begun;
  • Playing peek-a-boo with the little ones as they broke into giggles;
  • Great appreciation for a bowl of rice and chicken placed in front of me by a young woman who had appeared with many others before dawn to catch, pluck and whack the birds with a machete to break their bones;
  • Hearing the unrestrained laughter of the women when some of us tried our hand at making tortillas;
  • Dodging the errant Frisbee that the children threw with abandon;
  • Discovering I could sleep on wooden planks;
  • Admiring the unwavering skill of our mountain man driver through rain, sun and darkness, over hill and dale and never-ending speed bumps as he kept us safe;
  • Being astounded by Karen's grace, calm and competence - so needed with medical evacuation, extensive detour and three hour ferry wait (main bridge collapse), bus break-in and theft of belongings, and change of flight schedules.


Kristin Anderson
Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Roseville


Our time spent with Cristo Luz del Mundo (CLdM) was excellent. We experienced two baptisms with the new baptismal font, constructed by one of CPLC's member's father. They jokingly exclaimed it was more beautiful than the one at ILAG, and are happy to have this beautiful work. The congregation's members are more upbeat and participatory than our delegations have seen in the past. They are gaining recognition in the community by having lived through a crisis and surviving. Leadership of children, youth, and women were very noticeable. We enjoyed Q'eqchi lessons, learning activities based on the Reformation, creating s'mores over an open campfire, and playing baseball or tossing Frisbees in the open spaces. On this trip, each household received a water filter for healthy drinking. For our next trip, we will help extend piping from each member's inside stove to the outside of the house to promote healthy breathing.


The trip had its up and downs, of course. We are constantly warned about the corruption, thievery and violence in Guatemala, but have not experienced it - until now. The fact that we were comfortably having dinner in a nice restaurant when our things were stolen was a god-send. It could have been worse. The fact that we stayed safe and comfortably housed and fed despite a bridge collapse on the main road back to Guatemala City was truly a sign that the staff at ILAG go to great efforts to ensure our safe return. While we experienced our own discomfort, we were all inspired by the positive changes we were seeing in our partner congregation, Cristo Luz del Mundo.


Ruth Pechauer
Como Park Lutheran, St. Paul