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[...]
Earlier this month, my wife Susan and I traveled to Guatemala to visit the ILAG and to learn about their accounting systems and procedures on behalf of the synod & the Guatemala Task Force. As neither of us had ever been to Guatemala before, we didn't know what to expect. We were unsure about the customs, accommodations, how the work would go, and to what extent our daily routines would change.
As the preparations for the trip unfolded and we finally arrived in Guatemala, any concerns we had were put to rest. The hospitality that was given to us in the midst of all the ILAG activities, plans, and daily work made us feel welcome and comfortable. Pastor Karen and the ILAG team always made themselves available to Susan and me enabling us to accomplish our work tasks, and also feel invited into the culture and into the church.
On Sunday we went with Karen to worship at La Resurrección in El Tuerto, but found that the church was closed. In talking with a congregation member who lived nearby, we learned that the service had been moved to a member's home. It was a special service celebrating Pastor Marcelina's mother's birthday. Not only were regular members present at the service, but many of the Pastor's family attended as well. We were warmly welcomed to the service and to the birthday celebration as well.
But the most remarkable display of hospitality was shown when we were invited to Karen's home to attend her son's birthday party. We were happily greeted with hugs and handshakes by family members and close family friends even though we were strangers to all. Both Susan and I were honored and touched to have been invited to attend such a personal family event - and made to feel so welcome and appreciated once there.
Even though we were down there for a work project, the generosity and hospitality that was given to us made our trip feel like so much more.
Financial Administrator, Saint Paul Area Synod