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[...]
I first met my Guatemala family (yes, they are all family...my brothers and sisters in Christ) in 2012 when Janet Metcalfe invited me to join her delegation to Guatemala. We first visited Playita Cerro Alto, where a fairly new ILAG church was formed; we were the first delegation to visit them, and what a reception we received! I was drawn into them immediately, and those families still reside in my heart. Our next stop was at La Esmeralda, a longtime partner of Janet's home church, Augustana Lutheran in West Saint Paul. I saw firsthand the warmth of the relationship, and was inspired.
When I returned home, I was certain that God had shown me the path to walk, and I worked with our pastor and a team of members to form a plan to become a partner with ILAG and to walk beside them into the future. Thus, we sent our first delegation to Guatemala in April, 2014. Since we are located in a senior community and many of our members are retired (and older), I asked Pastor Karen to arrange for us to meet with and get to know a church in Guatemala City to encourage more of our members to participate. What a joy to work with Pastor Karen, Esther, Beatriz and the staff at the Lutheran Center.
We just had our third visit in as many years with ILAG and our partner families of El Divino Salvador del Mundo, and we feel closer than ever. Our first and third visits were during Lent, such a very special time to share with these families. We joined them on the Friday evening Way of the Cross procession, in the making of Ramos on Saturday and celebrating Palm Sunday services. We have talked about our hopes and dreams for the future in both of our churches, and have come to love one another. And, plans have begun for our next visit in April 2017, again coinciding with Lent. These shared experiences have strengthened our faith and firmly planted these brothers and sisters in our hearts and prayers.
St Andrew Lutheran, Las Vegas, NV