Letter from Sara Baltonado Mahecha in Costa Rica
December 5, 2012
Dear brothers and sisters,
This letter has two purposes: to say thank you and to send Christmas greetings to all of you. This is a blessed season that engages the whole world in a grateful spirit for the present of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
We have some news. I retire as a missionary in two months to accompany Guido, who retired three years ago. This is a blessing after 40 years of working as pastor, educators and psychologist with the Presbyterian Church: 14 years in Colombia with the Presbyterian Church in Colombia; 3 years in Scotland, studying at Saint Andrews University and participating with the Church of Scotland; 5 years in Bolivia with the Presbyterian Church and a university; 5 years in Brazil with the Independent Presbyterian Church; and 13 in Costa Rica with the Latin American Biblical University. Guido and I say again "thank you" and "God bless you" (Dios les pague) for your generosity, for your care, and for your support throughout these many years.
We, as mature people, live with many memories, some good and others not so good, but all our memories in relation with the Presbyterian churches are wonderful. We remember our time in Colombia where our three children, Ebed, Caleb and Saguid, were born. We also remember our friends and the three churches that we planted in Colombia (Fusagasuga, with A. Porras, Ciudad Berna with Rosina y A. Porras, Ciudad Kennedy with the ministers and theologian students in Bogotá). We also remember the "Seminario de la Gran Colombia"—which is now a university in Barranquilla—working in this project with Alice Winter and Sonia y Sergio Ojeda, who were central to it.
After both of us obtained Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees in Scotland we received an invitation to serve as mission co-workers for the PC(USA) in Bolivia, as university professors, under the care of Ben Gutierrez (former liaison for Latin America).
We have received support from several churches and some of them visited our place of work. We would like to share only one example of the multiple blessings we have received from you. In Brazil, the Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa donated a piece of land for a temple and arrived with more than 30 people, most of them young, to build the temple. The same church visited Costa Rica as well, and for several years took care of a young lady who had suffered face burns. After these short-term missionary trips, many of the young people who participated found the reason for their lives. Here are two examples: Some years later a young lady from the first missionary group to Brazil invited us to talk in the church where she was ordained as a minister in the south of Georgia. Another young man stayed in Costa Rica doing mission work for one year and had a great commitment to justice and peace.
Your support and friendship changed our lives and we pray that our work helped people and churches in your name, and for God's Will. We invite you to continue supporting the work of God’s mission in Costa Rica. Your support is so important to the ministry of PC(USA) mission co-workers.
May the joy and peace of Christmas be with you all through the New Year.
Sara and Guido Mahecha
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 14
The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 23
Read more about Sara Baltodano's ministry