Read letters from Karla Koll
March 27, 2012
March 22, 2012
September 7, 2010
August 1, 2010
July 1, 2010
June 2, 2010
December 3, 2009
July 13, 2009
For older letters, contact Mission Connections
Rev. Karla Ann Koll
Periodically Karla returns to the USA, based in Colorado Springs, CO. Email her or the Mission Connections office (Rachel.Anderson@pcusa.org) to extend an invitation to visit your congregation or organization.
About Karla Koll's ministry
Karla serves as professor of history, mission and religions for the Latin American Biblical University (UBL), an interdenominational institution located in San Jose, Costa Rica, which has been training Latin American church leaders for more than 80 years. The UBL placed Karla with the Evangelical Center for Pastoral Studies in Central America (CEDEPCA), an associated institution in Guatemala.
Karla arrived in Guatemala with her family in September 2000. They live just outside of Quetzaltenango, a city in the western highlands of Guatemala. Karla teaches university-level courses in Quetzaltenango and in Guatemala City. Together with her students she explores the call to be a part of God’s mission today in contexts of violence and corruption.
In recent years Karla has also taught courses at institutions related to the UBL in Honduras and Peru as well as courses at the main campus in San Jose. She is developing materials on the history of Christianity for the UBL’s Bible institute program. Two groups of Mayan students in Guatemala have been contributing their insights and questions to this process.
Karla writes about her work, “Guatemala is a fascinating place in which to explore with students the history and mission of Christ’s church. Several different forms of Christianity—Roman Catholicism, historical Protestantism, evangelicalism, classical Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism—compete for people’s allegiance. Mayan spirituality, long practiced clandestinely, has become more open and public since the signing of the peace accords in 1996. People are asking how Mayan spirituality and Christianity relate to one another. They are coming up with very different and conflicting conclusions. As a missiologist from outside, I can offer people tools with which to explore these questions as they seek to be faithful to Jesus Christ in this context.”
Download a prayer card that lifts up the work of Karla Ann Koll in Guatemala.
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 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, and global economic challenges.
About Karla Koll
Karla first went to Central America as a theology student. In 1984 she spent eight months in San José, Costa Rica, at the Latin American Biblical Seminary, the institution that today is the UBL. She went to work in Nicaragua in 1986 as a study tour facilitator with the Center for Global Education of Augsburg College. Karla was first commissioned a mission worker with the PC(USA) in 1988, when she joined the staff of the Interchurch Center for Theological and Social Studies (CIEETS) in Managua, Nicaragua, as a seminary professor. She taught at CIEETS until 1994, at which time she returned to the United States for further education.
Karla is a minister member of Pueblo Presbytery in southeastern Colorado. She is a member of the American Society of Missiology, the Association of Professors of Mission, the Latin American Studies Association, the Presbyterian Historical Society, and the Society for Pentecostal Studies. She received a Bachelor of Arts from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a focus in environmental sciences and political economy. She holds a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology in Christian ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In May 2003 she completed her Doctor of Philosophy degree in mission, ecumenics and the history of religions at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her dissertation focuses on the PC(USA)’s mission relationships in Central America during the 1980s.
Karla is married to Francisco Javier Torrez Bermudez. Javier, a native of Nicaragua, who was studying political science at Rafael Landivar University and graduated in July 2011. Their daughter, Tamara Rebekah Torrez-Koll, attended the Inter-American School in Quetzaltenango and is now a student at Reed College in Portland, Ore.
Karla - May 3
Javier - December 20
Tamara - December 15