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My Journey of Faith with Presbyterian Women in Guatemala

A Letter from Eliane Menezes, serving in Guatemala

December 2020

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Dear friends,

In this challenging time, it is important to acknowledge the presence of those who are part of our journey of faith. We are called to celebrate those who help us to cross bridges of solidarity and make us feel that we belong to a network of Christians that really makes all the difference!

Ever since I accepted the call to serve in Guatemala, I have experienced opportunities to enrich my personal and spiritual life. I have become acquainted with the variety of cultures and languages, learn the national variant of Spanish, and continue to fully rely on God’s direction for my life. God has provided me devoted sisters and brothers who support and inspire me to work for the Kingdom of God.

One of my priorities serving with the National Union of Presbyterian Women of the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala (UNMP) was to develop close relationships with my sisters and brothers. They have welcomed me into their homes, we have broken bread together, and shared our life experiences. We have also shared our burdens and supported one another in the process of healing. I would like to lift up one of my sisters who represents the courageous women who serve God’s ministry in Guatemala.

In March 2019, during the National Presbyterian Women Gathering, I witnessed the birth of the new Presbyterian Women organization at the national level. At this meeting the UNMP assembly elected María Roselia Gómez Díaz de Romero, an indigenous woman, as moderator. This was the first time that an indigenous woman had been elected moderator of the Presbyterian Women in Guatemala on a national level.

María Roselia is of the Mam ethnicity and her first language is Mam. For 30 years she has been a member of the Emaus Presbyterian Church in San Mateo, Quetzaltenango, Presbytery of Maya Quiche of the IENPG (National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala). She is married to Cirilo Romero and they have three children.

María Roselia has a great deal of leadership experience in the church and has served in various positions in Presbyterian Women groups in Guatemala. She lifts women up and focuses on developing and motivating Presbyterian Women to be empowered and to serve Presbyterian Women groups and the larger church. She said, “When I started this call, the fear arouse in me of leading a nationwide group of women, but at that moment God enlightened me with his word found in Joshua 1:9 ‘Look, I command you to make an effort, to be brave, because Jehovah your God will go with you wherever you go.’

María Roselia points out that most of the members of the Board of Directors of the previous organization of Presbyterian Women at the national, the Union Sinódica Femenil, had been Ladino women. In her opinion, this happened for different reasons, among them is the low attendance of indigenous women at the Presbyterian Women conventions. According to María Roselia, there are certain aspects that might have prevented indigenous women from being present at these events. One of them is due to the economic factors, since many women cannot afford to participate. Another factor might be the lack of information about the event, since communication is difficult in some remote regions of the country; or the impossibility of dedicating time and of being involved in activities. Therefore, María Roselia is full of determination to work for inclusion of indigenous women at all levels of Presbyterian Women.

She said that one of the objectives of the UNMP is to promote leadership of women and to minimize the “machismo” found in the Guatemalan society. She said that UNMP will “work to support women who experience living under the slavery of “machismo,”” by making them aware of domestic violence issues. The goal is for women to have the freedom to make decisions in their lives.

Maria Roselia is a compassionate, warm Christian woman who is always ready to help others. I am very blessed to work closely with her. We work together, travel through different parts of the country, participate in events and meetings to support the work of the UNMP. María Roselia and her family have hosted me at their home on many different occasions. She is also very talented and embroiders her own clothing.

Friends, I would like to sincerely thank you all for your caring support for God’s mission in Guatemala, expressed through prayers, thoughts, and financial support.

May God keep blessing you all!

In Christ,

Eliane


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