Courageous Presbyterian Women in Guatemala

A Letter from Eliane Menezes, serving in Guatemala

October 2019

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As I was preparing to write this letter, memories came to my mind about the excitement of the moments during the encounters and connections that I have experienced with courageous Presbyterian women in Guatemala. I remembered Proverbs 31:25 as it talks about an honored woman, “She is strong and is respected by the people. She looks forward to the future with joy.” I have experienced women such as this in my journey with our sisters in Guatemala.

In the past month, I had the opportunity to journey side-by-side with women from different places, languages, and even cultures in Guatemala. We have been networking by riding buses, laughing, listening, talking, teaching, learning, preaching, praying, worshiping and praising God, and breaking bread together. As women of faith, we have had the chance to share moments of joy with God, the faith we share and the gladness we have when we are learning from one another about how to be one in Christ.

I was invited to attend the Maya Quiché Presbiterial (Presbyterian Women) meeting in Quetzaltenango. It was amazing witnessing their wisdom, strength and willingness to serve God and the people of God. As they were planning their tasks, visitation to other sisters who live far away, and organizing their convention, I realized that these women were giving their hearts to the ministry they have been entrusted to lead.

I had the opportunity to participate in their convention at Evangelical Presbyterian Church Monte De Los Olivos in Almolonga, Quetzaltenango. Believe me it was a marvelous event! My breath was taken away when I saw so many beautiful women in their colorful traditional clothing arriving for the convention. Everything was so unique and remarkable! We had a great time praising God as we spent time getting to know one another during the worship time, plenary, and while preparing the meals. We enjoyed our time together as we delighted in the food prepared with so much love. The women expressed their gratitude to be present and be part of this incredible event! Their faces reflected the image of God with so much humbleness and splendor that sometimes I couldn’t contain tears of contentment. Even though a few sisters spoke Quiché with modest knowledge in Spanish, their smiles could express their love and care for others. It was inspiring to observe our sisters with their children present in the event. Ms. Sonia said, “I bring my daughter with me so that she learns the way of the Lord and how important it is to be involved in women’s ministry.”

Another Presbyterian Women convention happened in Amatitlán, Guatemala. Union Sinódica Presbiteriana of the First Reformed Synod’s convention occurred in the same spirit of embracing and sharing faith, strength, and wisdom. The campus is located at the edge of Lake Amatitlán. It was a place to recognize and enjoy God’s presence among us. It was a time to reflect on what we can do and how each one of us can contribute to the Kingdom of God.

The theme of the convention brought to our minds the importance of our Christian identity in order to make a difference in the world. The women came from several parts of Guatemala and they demonstrated their strength by their involvement throughout the work of the church. I observed that when they came to this convention they did not only want to attend but to participate faithfully in every aspect of the event. It was very clear they had the desire to be heard and to partake with their ideas and dreams for the work they had been chosen to do. As we spent time together learning from one another new perspectives and then new horizons came to light. Ms. Dina mentioned the situation of domestic violence in the life of the families in Guatemala and emphasized the importance of educating men about their role in the circumstances of abuse in order to change it. I pointed out the program called “Men in the Mirror” offered for churches, and I asked for their support for this program to be presented in their churches. They expressed interest in learning about the program. Through their participation and conversation about their willingness and commitment to reach out to, connect with and empower others, their interest was made evident.

Proverbs 31:30 “A woman who respects the Lord should be praised.” Journeying with courageous Presbyterian women in Guatemala has been rewarding. They take very seriously their commitment to serve God and those who are sent by God. We are together in these encounters sharing and learning how to do our best to love one another as we love our God.

Please remember that none of this would be possible without your generosity!

I am only able to be here in Guatemala because you demonstrate your care through prayer and financial support.

Thanks for your faithful partnership with this ministry!

May God keep blessing all of you!

In Christ,

Eliane

Please read this important message from Sara Lisherness, interim director of Presbyterian World Mission

Dear friend of Presbyterian Mission,

Greetings in Christ! As the interim director of Presbyterian World Mission, I am grateful to have the opportunity to thank you for your continued support of PC(USA) mission co-workers.

The enclosed newsletter bears witness to some of the many ways in which God is at work in the world through long-standing relationships between global partners and the PC(USA). These partnerships are nurtured and strengthened by the presence of mission co-workers in over 40 countries; you are an important part of this partnership too, as you learn about and share how our church is involved in global ministry; as you pray for our partners and mission co-workers; and as you take action to work with others for God’s justice, peace and healing.

I write to invite you to continue joining us in partnership in three ways. First, your prayers are always needed. Please pray that God will continue guiding the shared work of the PC(USA) and global partners as we engage together in service around the world. Pray, too, for mission co-workers, that they may feel encouraged in the work they are doing under the leadership of global partners.

Second, please consider making a year-end gift for the sending and support of at least one mission co-worker. There is a remittance form at the end of this letter and an enclosed envelope so that you can send in a special year-end gift.

Finally, I encourage you to ask your session to include one or more mission co-workers in your congregation’s mission budget for 2020 and beyond. PC(USA) mission co-workers’ sending and support costs are funded by the designated gifts of individuals and congregations like yours; your gifts allow Presbyterian World Mission to fulfill global partners’ requests for mission personnel.

Faithfully in Christ,

Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness
Director, Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry
Interim Director, Presbyterian World Mission


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