As we begin our Lenten season, waiting for what we already know, the death of Jesus, I can’t help but be reminded of the Spanish word that means both Hope and Wait: “Esperanza.”
As we enter our fifth year with our sisters in the Sinodica, I understand more fully what this word means. “Esperanza” is life for the people in Guatemala. They wait for the bus, for a job, for change, for another child, for food on the table, for husbands to be faithful, for the rain to stop, for the coming of Christ. They also hope for much of what they wait for.
How they do this each and every moment of every day used to be difficult for me to understand. Now I know. It is their deep faith in God that sustains them every moment of every single day.
Friends at Covenant, we wait and hope for your coming visit. We hope that you will come with your generous and open hearts and leave with a deeper faith.
Building in Guatemala
From April 2-10, a Covenant group will travel to Guatemala and learn about a new effort for the Mam Presbytery seamstresses to sell items they sew and embroider in markets outside Guatemala and teach young women who can’t go to school a way to make an income.
Since the Albany Presbytery finished a small room for the Mam Presbyterial sewing project in 2009, the class has doubled from 15 to 30 students. The Guatemalan government pays a teacher, who comes twice a week, and now they need more space! At a sewing retreat in March, four U.S. women will work with graduates, second year students, and their teacher, to create items they can sell to U.S. and Guatemalan markets. They will learn about quality control and partnerships with U.S. churches to sell their products. At the same time, Mam men and men from several U.S. Presbyteries will expand the space for more students and sewing machines. Funds for the retreat and the building project are being raised by all the partners. The Mam Presbyterian women and men will provide labor and lunch.
As Mission Co-workers, we don’t typically support building projects, but we feel that we can see the potential for women to create income for themselves and their families. We also know that those of you who have visited have hope for the Mam women. So here we go! Better together!
A Reformation Story
We walked through mud, up hills, and sat under a tarp in the “cheapy cheapy” – drizzly cold days. This is how we roll with the Sinodica. After we begin with some whines and discomfort, the passion and faith of the women in- fuse us to do our job—accompany them in their work.
The focus was the Reformation. The Presbyterian Women in Guatemala know more about the Bible than I ever will! This year the Sinodica has supported with several visits and workshops the Presbyterian women in the northern area where there are many Presbyterian churches. On the last day in Coban, after a skit representing women leaders during the Reformation era, we marched down the street in the rain and mud to Central Park to proclaim to those who would listen. The K’ekchi people, many of whom speak only their indigenous lan- guage, are some of the most isolated, with little educa- tion and very poor. Holding the annual convention here was a stretch, but, thanks be to God, it was a success!
May each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Remember to open your hearts, look around, and love beyond borders. We look forward to your visit and are grateful for your friendship and support!
Sandi and Brian Thompson-Royer
Sandi and Brian Thompson-Royer