After a week in Guatemala Ellen Guinther wrote this:
First I want to thank RRPC and the Presbytery of the James for their generous support of this trip. This trip was a joint effort between our presbytery and the Presbytery of the Peaks. There were 11 of us representing 5 different Presbyterian churches!
Many people will ask "What did you build?", and my answer is, we built relationships, mutual respect, love and Christian fellowship. Where Guatemalans are still hurting from the "disappearance" of their loved ones during the civil war, we brought compassion and love. Where people fear for their lives and the lives of their children due to environmental pollution from mining, we brought support for their cause and solidarity in their suffering. When women are marginalized and victims of violence we watched them come together to study the Bible and offer mutual support. We stood in awe. I was proud to represent you at a school for street children, where our 5 cents a meal offering helps provide a healthy snack.
The picture is of Anselma and I. She is part of the "corazon de mujer" (heart of women) weaving coop. Born out the murder of many indigenous people especially men, during the civil war, these women had to find a way to support their families. They make beautiful woven cloth scarves, bags, ponchos and other items for sale.
Yes, Guatemala has many problems, corruption in the government, unrestrained industrial pollution, a culture of violence against women and extreme poverty. Many times I was overwhelmed with the weight of their issues, but then Jose would speak of the blessing of meeting Steve. How this American (Christian) came into his life by chance and continues to help him today. Or we would hear how CEDEPCA (a Protestant educational organization) has transformed women's lives by empowering them to speak out. Or how CEIPA (an ecumenical organization) helps street kids learn a trade. God is indeed at work in Guatemala, you should go see!