A Letter from Eliane Menezes, serving in Guatemala
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The evidence of God’s might and mercy is all around us. We can witness the Holy Spirit acting in ways we can’t even conceive through small situations. We can take in the beauty of God’s transcendent work in us and through us when we pause, remain still, and observe.
Serving alongside the women in Guatemala has profoundly changed my worldview. I’ve been sharing how this ministry has improved my life with you since I began this journey with our sisters in Guatemala. It is my deepest hope that you feel like you are also part of this ministry. It’s fascinating to see how people serving alongside us change in ways that we often take for granted.
The fact that I have all of you—my partners, friends and supporters—with me on this journey is what makes it so meaningful. The challenges can be so enormous at times that I have to constantly remind myself that God’s power and strength, not mine, are what will get me through. Philippians 4:13 teaches us that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Only through this strength can we face every challenge that comes our way. We have faith in the teachings of Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation with prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your request to God. And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
I recall the first board of directors meeting of the UNMP in 2019. Only two of the 13 women in the group had previously had national-level service experience. Despite having previously participated in various levels of the organization, such as sinódicas, presbiteriales or sociedades feminiles, it was the first time they had been chosen to represent their group at the national level. I remember the women’s faces and the concerns they expressed in our discussions. They frequently spoke of the significant obligations that came with being trusted in their particular mission. I have observed that some of them were terrified to express their ideas in the meeting. In order to refrain from expressing their own opinions regarding some topics, they would even avoid certain debates.
I would take every opportunity throughout the sessions to encourage them to participate in the discussion and voice their opinions. I have noticed that occasionally they would keep their opinions to themselves out of fear of upsetting their sisters. They would also be quite uneasy when it came time for them to communicate remotely with our partners in the U.S. They would, however, later express their relief that everything proceeded without a hitch while also expressing their anxiety.
Therefore, little by little, I saw my sisters leaving behind their fears and doubts and having the freedom to share their abilities and talents as leaders to serve God’s ministries. I saw them taking charge of their roles as leaders in their ministries through faith and wisdom, taking it step by step and enjoying their participation in whatever it would take.
I believe that when we step out of our comfort zone, God strengthens us to go beyond our own understanding. I believe the experience of being in touch with other cultures and languages shapes our faith and perceptions of who we are in the midst of those God has called us to be in fellowship.
Over time, the women gained more confidence and believed in their potential acknowledging that God had enabled them to participate in this mission. I was able to witness my sisters accepting the challenge of the ministry to step outside their borders and have the opportunity to experience God’s diversity in many ways.
Through multiple sessions held via virtual platforms, the members of the board of directors of the National Union of Presbyterian Women (UNMP) had the chance to communicate with our siblings in the U.S. In those online conferences, we have a simultaneous translation from English to Spanish and from Spanish to English with the aid of our colleague mission co-workers who volunteer as interpreters.
One of our mission co-worker volunteer interpreters was impressed by the growth and posture of our sisters in the virtual sessions. Comparing the first and most recent times she had assisted the UNMP in a Zoom call as an interpreter, she remarked, “I’ve observed a significant shift. The women are sitting up taller and expressing themselves with more confidence!”
I am incredibly grateful to God for giving me the chance to take part in this spiritual journey in which God’s kindness and love for each and every one of us transforms us.
Because of this, each interaction seems to be more delightful than the last. Only because we are all tied to the same purpose—serving God’s calling for our lives—can we have experiences like this one. In order to carry out this ministry, I wouldn’t be anywhere else or with anybody other than my sisters in Guatemala and our siblings in the U.S.
We are all involved in this. In order to complete our task in this journey, we must rely on one another. We appreciate your participation in this empowering ministry through prayers, thoughts and financial support.
Please read the following letter from Rev. Mienda Uriarte, acting director of World Mission:
Dear Partners in God’s Mission,
What an amazing journey we’re on together! Our call to be a Matthew 25 denomination has challenged us in so many ways to lean into new ways of reaching out. As we take on the responsibilities of dismantling systemic racism, eradicating the root causes of poverty and engaging in congregational vitality, we find that the Spirit of God is indeed moving throughout World Mission. Of course, the past two years have also been hard for so many as we’ve ventured through another year of the pandemic, been confronted with racism, wars and the heart wrenching toll of natural disasters. And yet, rather than succumb to the darkness, we are called to shine the light of Christ by doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with God.
We are so grateful that you are on this journey as well. Your commitment enables mission co-workers around the world to accompany partners and share in so many expressions of the transformative work being done in Christ’s name. Thank you for your partnership, prayers and contributions to their ministries.
We hope you will continue to support World Mission in all the ways you are able:
Give – Consider making a year-end financial contribution for the sending and support of our mission personnel (E132192). This unified fund supports the work of all our mission co-workers as they accompany global partners in their life-giving work. Gifts can also be made “in honor of” a specific mission co-worker – just include their name on the memo line.
Pray – Include PC(USA) mission personnel and global partners in your daily prayers. If you would like to order prayer cards as a visual reminder of those for whom you are praying, please contact Cindy Rubin (email@example.com; 800-728-7228, ext. 5065).
Act – Invite a mission co-worker to visit your congregation either virtually or in person. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make a request or email the mission co-worker directly. Email addresses are listed on Mission Connections profile pages. Visit pcusa.org/missionconnections to search by last name.
Thank you for your consideration! We appreciate your faithfulness to God’s mission through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Rev. Mienda Uriarte, Acting Director
Presbyterian Mission Agency
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
To give, please visit https://bit.ly/22MC-YE.
For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6
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