A Letter from Betsey and Eric Moe, preparing to serve in Guatemala
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By the time you read this, our oldest son Henry will have graduated from High School. This week, I’ve been compiling a slideshow of photos of him from pruney infancy to the present. I hope he likes it, but mostly, I’m making it for myself as a way to reflect on the gift of raising a child, the surreal passage of time, and the marvel that is Henry Peter Moe. He is a typical first-born: so responsible that he makes me wonder who should be the parent sometimes, tirelessly dedicated to the groups he is a part of and the people he loves, and on top of (most of) the details of his own life. He is also creative and musical and witty and sensitive – a truly delightful human being. He has decided to go on to college this fall at Seattle Pacific University instead of taking a gap year in Guatemala with us. We will miss him terribly, but we are excited to see how God continues to shape him. In fact, as I tweak my sappy seven-minute slideshow, I stand in awe of him.
Lately, I have been wondering if this is my calling right now: to stand in awe of the people around me. To point to God at work in them and give thanks. It doesn’t seem like much, but it also feels like the most important thing to do.
It’s what I find myself doing in my role at CEDEPCA. Last month, Eric and I were a part of our sixth Virtual Journey to Guatemala – this time, around the theme, “Reading the Bible with New Eyes: Living and Practicing Life-Giving Faith in Guatemala.” It was an Intercultural Encounters event in which people from all over the United States (25 states, to be exact) got to hear about the transformative work happening through CEDEPCA’s Biblical and Theological Education program. Of course, Eric and I have a role to play in shaping the event and getting the word out to churches, but we are not the ones doing the equipping and hands-on work in Guatemala; CEDEPCA is. In these Virtual Journeys, our role is to lift up their work, invite people like you to see and celebrate it, to stand in awe of what God is doing, and thank God for it. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it!
After welcoming people into the Zoom space, I said this:
“We want you to see how God is at work transforming the world we all live in – and not because tall-steeple churches or prestigious seminaries in wealthy countries are turning out pastors and theologians. Transformation is happening as humble gatherings of CEDEPCA students throughout Central America are reading the Bible with new eyes and applying it in life-giving ways.”
If you were on this journey, chances are you also stood in awe; my colleagues are inspiring. Dr. Paulo Ueti, a theologian and New Testament scholar based in Brazil who regularly teaches for CEDEPCA, led the seventy people gathered through a study of Luke 24, the Road to Emmaus story. The Rev. Arnoldo Aguilar and Carol Gonzales, the coordinators of CEDEPCA’s theology programs, explained about the diversity of classes and the variety of students they are able to reach. Two current students – an aspiring theologian named Brayan and an indigenous community leader named Everilda – gave testimonies about how they have been changed by a liberating, contextual reading of scripture. In breakout rooms, diverse trios of people from around the U.S. asked, “How do we read the Bible while paying attention to our context? What difference does this make for us and our world?”
Transformation is happening – in Central America and here in North America. It may not be fast or even very visible, but the Spirit of God is on the move to change unjust systems. I had no idea how much I would learn from CEDEPCA about theology, justice, and teaching in just one year. I stand in awe.
I stand in awe of you, too, you know. Some of you care so much for Guatemala that you care for us without ever having met us. Some of you, on the other hand, care so much about us that you have come to care for and learn about Guatemala. However, it is that you have come to be reading this newsletter. We thank you for your love. Thank you for sticking with us through our unanticipated year at home. Thank you for praying for us to thrive in ministry from a distance. God is involving you in the redemption and healing of this world.
Right after we get Henry settled in his dorm room in early September, we will be heading to Guatemala to get settled into a new place for ourselves. We will be moving to Antigua, where our other two children will attend school. Eric and I will continue to work for CEDEPCA from home through the end of the year, but as we do, we will be acclimating to the new climate, culture, language, and community. Pray for us as we prepare to move and then make this big transition. After the first of the year, we hope to see some of you on Intercultural Encounters trips with CEDEPCA! Please contact us if you have any interest in scheduling a trip.
Finally, we ask you to pray for the people of Guatemala. Pray that the transformation occurring through CEDEPCA’s theological training may continue to ripple outward. Many of you have asked about vaccines in Guatemala. The vaccine roll-out there has been much slower and smaller in scale than it needs to be, so COVID is still a palpable, present threat. Your awareness, advocacy, and prayers are needed.
Whatever you are going through, may you know that God goes before you. And may you find many occasions in which you may stand in awe of God at work.
In faith, hope, and love,
Betsey for the Moes
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Tags: Betsey and Eric Moe
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