This past Sunday was difficult for me because the other three girls left Xela and went to their sites for the year. Watching them drive off, knowing that two of them would be four hours away from me and that I was on my own was a tough pill to swallow. Things are getting real now- the experience I have been interested in since age 18 has begun!
But my sadness was short lived because a taxi soon picked me up and took me to San Marcos Episcopal Church- where I was welcomed with open arms!! The Presbyterian Church in Guatemala is very different than that of the PC(USA). Here, Presbyterianism is considered more Evangelical than Reformed. For this reason, I am ecstatic to be working and building community at San Marcos because it is the closest practice to Presbyterianism in the area. Shortly after being greeted by everyone, the Padre asked me to preach at the English service in two weeks- so I’m hittin’ the ground running! In addition to preaching, I am also volunteering at the church’s lunch program. http://stmarksxela.org/
On Tuesday, I met about 30 individuals who come to San Marcos every day for lunch and social interaction. Enrique is a 55 year old recovering alcoholic. He claims God alone is responsible for his recovery- for he stumbled into a church drunkenly 30 years ago and has never been the same. He has two daughters, age 16 and 18- one who is single and pregnant with her second child. He has no other family but those at his church and San Marcos’ lunch program. He makes his living by leatherwork- making saddles and belts.
Norway is a 48-year old woman who has found herself homeless in the last week. She has no family but finds comfort in the company of those at the lunch program. Thanks to networking among this group, Norway is looking in to housing options this week through a local community ministry.
Juan is a deaf and mute mid 50-year-old who finds spiritual, physical, and relational nourishment in the company of the members of the lunch program. He has one of the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen.
I am very excited about this ministry- I will be building community with those whom society often deems “the least of these” by sharing a meal, playing games, and giving them a space to tell their stories. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!