Loaves and Fishes in Abundance
I am always surprised where I will find something about hunger and how we are called to help bring it [...]
Date posted: Thursday 20 January 2022
References to education and the energy surrounding the experience are a part of the text Rev. Herbert Brokering wrote for this familiar hymn of praise (originally written to celebrate St. Olaf College's 90th anniversary). As we begin a new year of walking together with the Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala, the 2022 school year just started this week. Your prayers, your presence, and your gifts to the ILAG’s Education Ministry show your strong commitment to its focus on learning. God has done and is doing marvelous things!
Beyond the local impact CLAG and the Milagro Center have on empowering girls and young women to become confident learners and future leaders in their communities, these programs are also shared with a broader audience through Pastor Karen’s participation in faith-based organizations.
The Milagro Women’s Center was featured in a Sept. 24 post on The Lutheran World Federation Facebook page:
The center is growing, with 13 girls today, up from six three years ago, said ILAG President Rev. Karen Castillo Echeverría, when she participated in a recent training on women’s human rights organized by LWF and partner faith-based organizations. Milagro, which means miracle, offers formal education, skills in baking, sewing and masonry, and music lessons. The young women, all from marginalized rural communities, also learn about finances, women’s rights, family planning and care of their bodies. “Each time they go back on vacation to their villages, they develop a program that they teach in the community with ILAG’s support,” shared Castillo.
As the global annual training program shifts [through LWR] to a regional-based approach, Castillo is confident of the knowledge, skills and language she has acquired to stand up for women’s rights and train others. ”When we teach, we learn more and every opportunity to learn more is a treasure,” she adds.
The ILAG is an active member of the Christian Ecumenical Council of Guatemala, who mission is “to create spaces for meeting, respect, dialogue and accompaniment where the exchange of knowledge and experiences is encouraged, recognizing and affirming life in all its diversity. In addition, the ILAG has spoken about important topics on gender and social justice with the Interfaith Sector of the Centinelas por la Dignificación del Estado, a nonprofit organization that works towards equity, dignity and human rights for all Guatemalans. During the 2021 fall seminar, “Political Incidence from Faith” sponsored by the Interfaith Sector, Pastor Karen participated as a speaker.
As a part of the United Nations' annual international campaign to eliminate violence against women, the ILAG's Colegio Luterano Agustino de Guatemala was featured on the Dec. 3 SPAS Facebook page. This was one of many highlighted by the ELCA's Global Missions: Latin America and the Caribbean for empowering girls and young women to become future leaders.
When Pastor Karen reposted the LWR Facebook information from Sept. 24 on the ILAG page, she said, “The work that the ILAG has carried out for many years—and it bears much fruit now—is in thanks to the support of many who are not always publicly mentioned in these broader audiences but have been very important in the development of God's ministry in Guatemala. This includes a committed ILAG staff, the Southeastern Synod ELCA, the Saint Paul Area Synod ELCA, and the ELCA Global Missions.”
God has done, is doing and will continue to do marvelous things, I too sing praises with a new song!