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Ministry Begins Now

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

May 2020

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Greetings from the Moe household in Spokane, Washington. This is our first Mission Connections newsletter, and we are so grateful that you have signed up to receive it. Some of you are old friends, and some of you are friends we haven’t met yet. We thank God that you are accompanying us in prayer as we respond to this call on our lives to serve in Guatemala. If you have not yet visited our Mission Connections page, please do so to hear our “backstory” and the details of the work we are called to at the Protestant Center for Pastoral Studies in Central America (CEDEPCA).

When I was going to seminary, one of our dear friends—a young man in his early 30’s—collapsed during a basketball game because of a heart issue. Thankfully, he received the medical attention he needed and recovered—and I will never forget what he said afterwards: “I always thought of these years in seminary as a time of preparation for ministry. But I can no longer wait for a future day when ministry will begin; it necessarily begins now.”

Eric and I hold his wisdom close as we prepare to leave for Guatemala without an idea of when that will be; with new travel restrictions having been placed on missionary personnel for our and our partners’ safety, our departure may be six months from now or longer. So, we ask ourselves every day what God is calling us to in the present.

Betsey: Until March 15, I served as a pastor at Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church in Spokane. I never expected that my goodbye to this dear congregation would be on a livestream video with no hugs, handshakes, or goodbye party. However, I was deeply encouraged by the ways people used email and social media to express their prayers and well-wishes. It was a sign of how technology could be used for good as the world moves into a new season of communication.

The same social network and meeting platform technology that helped me say goodbye to my congregation is now allowing me to enter my new work with a sense of purpose. By God’s grace, I was able to meet the entire CEDEPCA staff in early February when I was traveling in Guatemala. Since mid-March, I have been meeting virtually with the CEDEPCA staff at least twice a week for devotionals, check-ins, and planning. I write weekly theological reflections and staff bios for a newsletter that CEDEPCA sends to their North American partners, keeping them informed and encouraging them to stay connected. This summer, the Intercultural Encounters team will be hosting “virtual journeys” in which groups and individuals may Zoom in for a ninety-minute “trip” to Guatemala and learn about immigration—or women’s issues—or faith and history—through mini lectures, interviews, and discussions. Let me know if you would like to be a part of one! Every Friday, I take a Guatemalan History course through CEDEPCA’s Biblical and Theological Formation program, and twice a week I meet with a Guatemalan language instructor to hone my Spanish skills.

I have to say that in this time of crisis, CEDEPCA has truly stepped up to its calling to be a sign and agent of transformation in Guatemala. In each of its programs (Biblical and Theological Formation, Women’s Ministry, Disaster Ministry, and Intercultural Encounters), staff are thinking creatively about new ways to carry out their mission during this critical time in Guatemala in the midst of much chaos and suffering. I am inspired by their compassion, determination, and organization. I cannot wait to work alongside them in person.

Eric:  The main thing I have been doing is getting our home ready to sell by sprucing up the yard and finishing lingering projects. In place of onsite language school in Guatemala, I have been taking Spanish with an online tutor from Antigua, which is going well.

I also play trumpet professionally, and the gigs were abruptly put on pause in mid-March. I still teach private lessons—now via Zoom—and share music in other ways. In March, I put on a mini front porch concert for my neighborhood, and in April, my son and I made a video of me playing an Easter hymn at beloved locations around Spokane. I am grateful to have a skill that is mobile AND useful for expressing emotion during this time.

Our children—Henry (17), Owen (14), and Zoey (9)—are finishing their school year through online learning through Spokane Public Schools. They miss seeing their friends face to face, but they are grateful to have each other (and actually like each other). All three of them are taking online Spanish lessons as well and look forward to entering the culture in Guatemala.

It goes without saying that we are anxiously awaiting the day when we are able to be in Guatemala. But thankfully, the fullness of God is here in the present—and we trust that by walking daily in God’s presence, using the technology to stay connected, we are right where God wants us to be.

Your financial support, your prayers, your words of encouragement make this work possible and let us know that we are not taking this step alone. Thank you. May you stay well, may your spirits be encouraged, and may God guide your actions today.

Betsey and Eric


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