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A letter from Karla Koll in Guatemala

June/July 2013

Dear companions in mission,

Greetings from Guatemala. I only have time for a short prayer letter this month.

Classes ended at the Evangelical Center for Pastoral Studies in Central America (CEDEPCA) on Saturday, June 8. This semester, my last with the Biblical and Theological Education program of CEDEPCA, has been the best one in terms of student responsiveness in the 13 years I have been here. Students have taken the academic work and themselves seriously, accepting the challenge to rethink many of their ideas as well as develop academic skills. Of course, when they do their academic work, I have lots of papers to grade. That's what I'm doing at home this week. It's slow going, but it is wonderful to read their reflections and rejoice in how they have grown in faith and understanding.

On June 16 a group of six women from Presbyterian churches in Winchester and Fairfax, Virginia, in addition to three members of the Looking for Lilith Theater Company from Louisville are arriving to spend a week with six Guatemalan women who are part of the Faith Stories Project.  I'll be accompanying these wonderful women during the week they are together. We are starting in Guatemala City, where we'll meet with a theater company of women who have been victims of violence. We'll also hear from women involved in CEDEPCA's Women's Ministry Program. Then we are coming to Quetzaltenango.  On the 19th the visitors will be offering workshops for health facilitators in Pachaj, Cantel. On Thursday and Friday the Looking for Lilith staff will lead workshops to help the women develop scenes around issues of domestic violence. The visitors will leave on Sunday, June 23.

CEDEPCA will be holding its annual assembly on Thursday, June 27. The day will start with a graduation ceremony. Five students who have finished 12 courses in the Biblical and Theological Education program will be awarded a diploma in theological studies. The assembly will be my last official activity at CEDEPCA.

My husband, Javier, and I have set July aside for packing for our move to Costa Rica. As I look around the house we rent here in Quetzaltenango, I can't imagine just how we are going to pack up all of these books, but I know that somehow it will get done. Lots of decisions to make.

Our daughter, Tamara, has stayed in Portland for the summer. We are hoping she'll get a job. She did well packing up her belongings, except for her books, when she was here in January. We miss her, but I'm sure she's glad not be here for the actual move.

Already my work with the Latin American Biblical University (UBL) is starting. As a faculty we are currently taking an online course about how to design and implement online courses. We are looking forward to working this way with students throughout Latin America in the near future. There are many other tasks awaiting me when I arrive in San Jose at the beginning of August, though I'm not scheduled to teach classes in San Jose until October.

I ask for your prayers as Javier and I move into this transition. I also ask you to keep praying for CEDEPCA. The new semester will start in July. There are also several visiting groups coming next month. CEDEPCA's work in mission will continue.

Thanks again for your support and for being part of my journey in mission. Please be patient as I go through this move. I'll stay in touch as I am able.

Blessings,

Karla

The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 16
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