Minnesota Bishops: Chaplains Provide Critical Care
Written by the six Minnesota bishops of the Evangelical Church in America. Published in the Opinion Ex[...]
these are the pillars of our accompaniment partnership with the ILAG. Currently 289 families in our ILAG communities are struggling as their recent corn crop, their primary food staple, was destroyed by Tropical Storm Pilar in early November. This follows a failed crop earlier in the year due to extreme drought. Food is desperately needed for members in the following churches:
*ILA San Agustín - La Esmeralda
ILA Cristo Luz del Mundo - Santa Amelia
*ILA San Isidro Labrador - Nueva Guatemala
ILA San Marcos - Maya Itzá
ILA San Juan Bautista - Zaculeu
REGION I: Alta Verapaz and Ixcán
*ILA Virgen del Rosario - Aurora
*ILA Mensajeros de Cristo - Santa Elena
ILA Maya Luz y Vida - Atenas
*ILA Jesús de los Milagros - Israel
REGION II: Alta Verapaz
ILA Espíritu Santo - El Porvenir
ILA San Juan Bautista - Playita Cerro Alto
ILA Jesús la Luz del Mundo - San Pedro Xalarocjá
ILA Jesús el Buen Pastor - San Antonio Tzejá
*ILA Santa Cruz de la Esperanza - Cimiento de la Esperanza
ILA Milagro de Dios - Las Rosas Quiché
ILA El Divino Salvador del Mundo - El Mirador
PRAYER: Please keep families and church leaders in your prayers. Last week regional pastors were assessing conditions in the rural communities, reporting back to Pastor Karen and Diego that all families are safe but experiencing extreme food insecurity. They are without any corn to eat or to plant for a future crop. Pastor Karen states, “At this point they have nothing. And we have to respond, so we don’t experience more people migrating and fragmenting more families in Guatemala.” The ILAG has secured a supplier and has locked in prices for this shipment of goods and transportation to get relief to areas. The churches with an asterisk above are located in areas where the roads were passable enough to safely deliver the corn needed to prepare food. Other churches are near washed-out roads and located in areas where the water is still high enough that a trip is unsafe. As conditions improve, deliveries will continue to be made.
PRESENCE: We can be present through our communications and our understanding of the dire situation. Climate change, the challenges of migration (including the effect on women left behind to raise families alone) are all a part of the bigger picture.
PROJECTS: The initial plan is for the ILAG to distribute 200 pounds of corn to each family. Regional pastors will be in frequent communication with Pastor Karen and Diego as the church continues to help the families to the best of its ability. Seed corn and organic fertilizer will be delivered prior to the next planting season that begins in January or February if the soil conditions have improved enough.
Emergency funds to cover half of the cost have been set aside in the ILAG’s budget in Guatemala because of the careful stewardship of its leadership. Currently, the ELCA Regional Representative for Centroamérica and México is working with the ILAG and the Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) team as they coordinate assistance.
During this time of uncertainty in government leadership and additional stress and fear caused by Tropical Storm Pilar, we continue to walk alongside our Guatemalan siblings in Christ.
Peace and healing,
Guatemala Committee, Saint Paul Area Synod