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Rev. Philip and Bacilia Beisswenger

Mission co-workers in Guatemala
Serving at the invitation of the National Evangelical
     Presbyterian Church of Guatemala (IENPG)
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About Philip and Bacilia Beisswenger's ministry
Philip and Bacilia work with the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala (IENPG) to help develop and support healthy, covenantal relationships with U. S. Presbyterians. Their work includes communication and interpretation, coordination of teams and delegations from the United States that visit Guatemala, visits to the PC(USA) by Guatemalan partners, and support for the Guatemala Mission Network.

In their work, the Beisswengers draw upon their experience in the Middle Tennessee Presbytery’s partnership with the Presbiterio Kek’chí Petén in Guatemala. Philip helped begin this relationship in 2002. “I found that, while partnerships aren’t easy, they’re important in God’s mission to redeem the world,” he says. “As a partnership facilitator, I look for opportunities to strengthen all kinds of connections between churches and communities of our two countries.”

Country context

Guatemala is the most populous and the most industrialized country in Central America. It is also by far the country with the highest percentage of indigenous population. During the colonial period Guatemala was an agricultural region in which the Mayan majority served the colonial estate owners. Guatemala gained independence in 1821. The country has been ruled by the military for most of its history. The intense concentration of wealth and land has left the indigenous population and other rural poor almost totally disenfranchised. This is the principal cause of a civil war, which was only complicated by Cold War interventions. In 36 years the war displaced 1 million people, and over 200,000 people were killed or disappeared. Peace accords were signed in December 1996, but the country continues to struggle with violence, corruption, impunity, and global economic challenges.

Download a prayer card that lifts up the Beisswenger's work in Guatemala

About Philip and Bacilia Beisswenger
Philip and Bacilia Beisswenger’s affection for Central America began long before they were commissioned in 2010 to serve as PC(USA) mission co-workers in Guatemala.

“Like many young people, I struggled to find a spiritual and vocational path,” says Philip. “After my first year in college, I served for a summer in Alaska as a Presbyterian Volunteer in Mission. This initiated me to the wider mission of the church. Then my studies took me to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Colombia for several years. While bonding with Central America, I sensed God’s grace calling me to a life of ministry.” Philip graduated from Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota, with highest honors, and earned his Master of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the PC(USA).

Bacilia is originally from Guatemala’s neighbor, Honduras. She has degrees in accounting and computer technology and met Philip while he worked in Honduras for four years with the Methodist Church. “My background is humble,” says Bacilia. “I’m glad that churches in Guatemala can see that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) includes people like me in world mission.”

The Beisswengers cherish the opportunities for mutual learning and shared service that partnerships offer. “I believe God has opened up this door for my family and me to serve in Guatemala with the talents the Lord has given us and to learn from the Guatemalan people also,” Bacilia says. “I enjoy working with all different kinds of people. We hope to relate closely with churches in the United States and in Guatemala, to learn from each other and to strengthen relationships.”

What have they learned in Guatemala? Philip responds, “I’m captivated by the complexity and simplicity of life in Guatemala and its long Presbyterian tradition.” Bacilia responds, “The people are very friendly and committed, and long for a less violent, more equitable society.”

The Beisswengers entered into mission service from Eastminster Presbyterian Church, a growing, bilingual congregation in Nashville, Tennessee. Philip was pastor there for eight years, while also coordinating Hispanic ministries in the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee. Bacilia served as an elder at Eastminster and was lead teacher in the preschool program of the Bethlehem Center of Nashville.

Philip and Bacilia are the parents of three children, Matthew, Manuel and Estefana. Philip also has an adult son, Daniel, in the United States Air Force.

Birthdays:
Philip – February 8
Bacilia – November 28
Matthew – March 9
Manuel – December 22
Estefana – February 10

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Comments

  • Hi Phillip, I hope you had a chance to rest and recovered after all the traveling in Alta Verapaz. On behalf of the Presbytery of Denver, I would like to thank you for your guidance and leadership in helping our Denver Guatemala partnerhsip find a mission partner. Our committee is going to meet tonight, I'm sure Mike will let you know about our desicion. The Pastor EP of our Presbytery asked, if you come to the states, or Denver he would like to meet you. He also suggested to have a phone conversation to connect with you. I'm very grateful for your ministry and commitment to Guatemala. Mike, Cathy, Ramon, and I got very sick when we got back home. I don't know what that was, but I had an intestinal infection, so the doctor had to give me antiobiotics. But we are not discouraged. Again, thank you for everything. Say to hello to Bacilia. Amy Mendez by Amy Mendez on 11/20/2013 at 6:37 p.m.

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