Life by Chocolate

A Letter from Betsey and Eric Moe, preparing to serve in Guatemala

Winter 2021

Write to Betsey Moe
Write to Eric Moe
Individuals: Give to E200538 for Bestey and Eric Moe’s sending and support
Congregations: Give to D507599 for Betsey and Eric Moe’s sending and support
Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery)Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery)

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John 10:10
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Dear friends,

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Death by Chocolate,” but I wanted to share our story at CEDEPCA of “Life by Chocolate!”

Last fall, Carrie Saathoff, a CEDEPCA USA Board Member living in Delaware, shared a fundraising idea with the staff at CEDEPCA. She knew a chocolate sommelier named Estelle Tracy, who was leading virtual chocolate tastings on Zoom. Would the Intercultural Encounters team at CEDEPCA be interested in collaborating with Estelle to put together a virtual journey in which people could “travel” to Guatemala to taste chocolate and learn about CEDEPCA’s ministries?

My reaction: “Did someone say, ‘chocolate’?”

And so we started to plan. We found a beautiful video on YouTube that highlighted cacao-growing regions of Guatemala. Estelle found a roaster near her that used Guatemalan cacao to produce exquisite chocolate bars. She also made a connection with Nicholas Silverman, a man who helped a family business from San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala, sell their chocolates in the States. Both Estelle and Nico would share their passion and knowledge as they guided people to smell and savor the chocolate. CEDEPCA produced two videos highlighting their ministries to show at the event. Chocolates were ordered, registration opened, and we waited.

And the event in November sold out! A second one was planned for February, and it sold out as well. Participants from 4 countries, 30 states, and at least 60 churches attended. Between the two events, over $6,000 was raised to support CEDEPCA’s work “toward a more just and equitable world.” This money would go to support workshops for teenagers in rural Guatemala, teaching them their inherent worth as children of God. It would support CEDEPCA’s theological training program for local pastors that equips them to lead people well, especially in a time of crisis. It would support hurricane relief efforts in Alta Verapaz following the double blow of hurricanes Eta and Iota in November; CEDEPCA staff has offered and will continue to offer food kits and psychosocial support to people who are displaced and traumatized. (Watch a video highlighting CEDEPCA’s ministries in the last year here.)

Honestly, there was a part of me that thought this pandemic year was going to be a bust. I was afraid that as new mission co-workers, we would not be able to make personal connections with CEDEPCA staff in Guatemala or with friends and supporters in the States. But the opposite has been true: through regular virtual meetings, I have formed special bonds with my Guatemalan colleagues. And through the two chocolate tastings and the four other Virtual Journeys we hosted last year, we have made more new connections with people from all over the U.S. and Canada than we ever could have made in a “normal” year while raising awareness and support for God’s ongoing work.

What’s more, strangers who share an interest in Guatemala have made connections with CEDEPCA and each other. After our Virtual Journey last August, which focused on Women’s Experience in Guatemala, I marveled at the connections made in my breakout room. Who would have thought that a professor from Texas, a pastor from Portland, a social worker from Atlanta, a retired teacher from New York, and a mission co-worker living in Spokane – five people who had never met – could be in a room talking about gender issues in Guatemala?

In the Bible, it is clear that when Jesus talked about abundant life, he was not just referring to personal fulfillment. He was talking about transformed life in community. This year, I am seeing this truth embodied. Through Christ, we who were once “strangers” are bound together in love…and sometimes by chocolate! Even a pandemic cannot get in the way of God’s new community being formed.

Eric and I marvel at this unfolding miracle of new community. We know many of you are seeing it, too! We can’t believe how many of you have been joining us virtually to learn more about what God is doing in Guatemala. You are not experiencing God at work vicariously through us – you’re seeing it for yourselves.

This month, we celebrate our one-year anniversary of being Mission Co-Workers. We would never have guessed a year ago that we would still be in Spokane. But we also never would have guessed that such meaningful remote work with CEDEPCA would have been possible. Your support – through prayer, attendance at CEDEPCA’s virtual events, and faithful financial gifts– has lifted us up and shown us in a very tangible way that we worship a God who came that we together may have life and have it abundantly.

Betsey and Eric

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