Here’s an assortment of news from Guatemala:
- Yesterday the IENPG’s PRESGOV and International Relations Committees came to our house in Guatemala City for a day-retreat to discuss their shared vision and mission. Most of them travelled considerable distance to attend, some leaving their homes at 3:00 AM. They adopted this vision statement: “To be an organized team to fulfill the vision and mission of the IENPG, the PC(USA), and other communities of faith that share our beliefs, as a witness to our unity in Jesus Christ.” Then they came up with this mission statement: “To support and develop holistic partnerships, both nationally and internationally, giving emphasis to the areas of evangelism, education, poverty, natural disasters, and reconciliation, for the enlargement of God’s kingdom.” Bacilia and her niece Jesy prepared a Garifuna-style meal for everyone, and we celebrated several birthdays as well. See the photo of the two committees which unfortunately makes them appear very grim, which they certainly aren’t. They’re really a fun-loving bunch, so you can blame the photographer (me).
- On Sunday, just as the 11:00 AM service was to get underway, a long, loud Catholic procession paraded in front of the Central Presbyterian Church. It lasted about ½ hour, and must have included at least a dozen marching bands from different schools. The worship leaders waited patiently for it to be over. Since the church is downtown near the central square, this isn’t unusual. See the photo of several cute majorettes from the procession. During the service, Manuel and Matthew served as junior deacons, so here’s a picture of them too.
- Our family’s in the process of moving to a new house in Guatemala City. Our new location is in the city’s Zone 15. The big advantage is we’ll be within walking distance of our children’s school, which means they won’t need to ride the bus anymore. The drawback will be not having the inspiring view of volcanoes anymore. For old times’ sake, I share a photo of a sunset over Volcán de Agua taken from our upstairs window.
- PC(USA) World Mission and the IENPG have agreed to a one-year extension of our assignment in Guatemala, till the summer of 2014. During this extra year our position will be evaluated in light of changes in World Mission’s priorities. We’re so thankful for the opportunity to serve longer, and pray that God will help us to make the most of it to build healthy partnerships and connections of every kind.