A monthly update from Hunter Farrell, director of World Mission, on the impact of Presbyterian mission in the world and the issues that affect mission co-workers, the people we walk with and assist in service to God, and our partners around the globe.
What Would It Take to Change the World? Part III: A Story Shared by World Mission Co-workers Sandi and Brian Thompson-Royer
Even though Filomena Mejía had only a second-grade education, she began her trek toward pastoral ministry more than ten years ago. This year she reached her goal, becoming one of only seven women ordained as pastors in the National Presbyterian Church of Guatemala. Hers is a story of multifaceted ministry gifts, a gritty pursuit of God’s call, and the inspired empowerment of partnership mission.
Filomena’s parish is on a remote Guatemalan coffee plantation with an entrance guarded by armed men. Inside the gate to this massive agricultural enterprise, Filomena freely cultivates the seeds of faith. She’s more than the caring pastor of El Buen Pastor Iglesia Presbiteriana. Filomena is a sign of hope and a role model for women in a culture where they face flagrant discrimination.
Presbyterian World Mission sent Sandi and Brian Thompson-Royer to walk alongside Filomena and other women in Guatemala to help them share their God-given abilities with their families, their churches, and the broader society. Sandi and Brian work closely with the Women’s Synod Union (the Presbyterian Women of Guatemala) and other Guatemalan partners as well as US congregations and presbyteries that have partnerships in Guatemala.
Like many Guatemalan women, Filomena had little formal education when she began preparing for ministry. However, she has participated in the educational opportunities offered by her presbytery, Maya Quiche, which include basic education studies as well as Bible and theology courses. Our own Heartland Presbytery, in Kansas City, Missouri, which has been in partnership with Maya Quiche for more than 20 years, provides scholarships for emerging leaders like Filomena. She continues her studies thanks in part to Heartland’s scholarship program.
In her work with Guatemalan women, Sandi explains how Scripture does not condone violence. She shares many ways women can support one another in their churches and communities.
Sandi recently spoke to a group of teenage girls and young adult women about ways to shelter themselves from sexual abuse, reminding them how wonderful they are. She was impressed with their confidence, intelligence, and ambition to pursue their dreams. Sandi is excited to be going back again this month to see these teens and women again.
I am thankful our church is concerned about women and children facing sexual violence in the United States, in Guatemala, and in places around the world. Our campaign, Speak Up! Stop Sexual Violence, led by World Mission’s reconciliation catalyst, Shannon Beck, is helping congregations to begin “Courageous Conversations” about the pervasive reality of violence and how to prevent it.
This October, become a Courageous Conversations congregation by joining other PC(USA) churches preaching, teaching, or having a service of healing on behalf of women who experience violence, especially sexual violence. Join a webinar August 12 with expert in engaging men, Rus Funk, Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons, and Shannon Beck to learn how to get your congregation involved. Resources are available at pcusa.org/courageousconversations.
There are many local leaders like Filomena who need to experience grace-filled empowerment. This is happening thanks to World Mission’s work with partners around the globe. Through these ministries, children are being educated, leaders are being trained, and sexual violence is being named and addressed. Together, we are making a difference by God’s grace!
Mission Matters Archives
June 2015 - What Would It Take to Change the World? Part II
May 2015 - Mission Co-workers Need Your Prayers and Financial Support
April 2015 - What Would It Take to Change the World?
March 2015 - The Church You Grew Up In No Longer Exists
December 2014 - A Harvest Beyond Our Wildest Dreams
November 2014 - Both Bricks and Mortar
October 2014 - Binding Threads
July 2014 - Abound in Hope: the 221st General Assembly (2014)
May 2014 - Training Leaders for Community Transformation
April 2014 - Ending Violence against Women and Children
March 2014 - 3 Critical Global Issues—#1: Quality education for 1 million children by 2020
February 2014 - CEDEPCA: Caring for God's Creation
January 2014 - Young Adult Volunteers: New YAV Sites Opening
December 2013 - We are truly better together
November 2013 - South Sudanese: Displaced by violence
October 2013 - Haiti: the Presbyterian Church is here to stay
We love to hear ways to engage more young people in mission as a way to draw them closer to the church. they really do seem to have to have something meaningful to do. They do not come to church if there is nothing for them to do. Thanks for your great work.
thanks Hunter for great message!
Thank you my dear Brother for the Work you and the World Mission Board are doing. May the Lord continue to open many new doors for Us. Amen.