August 17th, 2016

This week's MidWeek is from Peg Warren, reflecting on the recent CEDEPCA trip to Guatemala sponsored jointly by Peaks and James Presbyteries. Peg, Kendra Crabtree, and Renae Gillie all went on the trip for the first time. Peace, Catherine

Kendra Crabtree, Ranae Gillie and I recently had a wonderful week in Guatemala learning about CEDEPCA and the troubles facing the vast majority of the population.  Through this experience, I now know about the country’s continuous cycle of corruption, contaminated water supply, the 36-year civil war that killed or ‘disappeared’ about 200,000 people, and the role of our government and private businesses in all of it.  As the week went on, many of us felt overwhelmed by the country’s problems and all that stands in the way of progress. 

Where do you start when there’s so much to fix?  CEDEPCA works to transforms lives through education within its 4 missions – Biblical and Theological Seminary, Women’s Ministry, Disaster Ministry and Intercultural Encounters, which our trip fell under.  Over the week, we met with about 10 groups or individuals that benefit from CEDEPCA.  There’s not enough room here to share them all, but here are a couple of my favorites:

-        Corazon de Mujer is a women’s cooperative that started as a result of the violence against the indigenous people during the civil war and the need for women to help provide for their families.  The women are able to weave at home and then sell their beautiful scarves, bags and other items to CEDEPCA’s tour groups.  We bought many scarves as souvenirs and gifts and purchased an additional 14 scarves to sell to church members at the Advent Market.  Turns out we couldn’t wait and we started selling them as soon as we returned.  There’s a few left – check with Kendra!

-        Nueva Santa Rosa Mine Protestors – A group of people have organized a 24-hour peaceful protest outside one of the many mines in Guatemala.  They are protesting against the American mine company that is polluting their community and not following through on promises of new jobs and schools.  CEDEPCA’s Disaster Ministry and the Center for Legal-Environmental and Social Action (CALAS) provide them with spiritual support and workshops in psycho-social care. We enjoyed a wonderful meal, presentation and a bonding exercise with them.

Through our tithes, BPC supports CEDEPCA each year.  Individually, we can also support CEDEPCA directly.  A $50 donation will provide a family with a water filter so they won’t get repeatedly sick from the contaminated water.  $25 provides a personal hygiene kit for people who have survived a disaster.  Every little bit helps. 

The Presbytery of the Peaks, in partnership with the James Presbytery, sends people on a CEDEPCA tour each year and I encourage you to consider going on a trip.  It’s fun, well-organized, safe and enlightening.  We met so many warm and friendly people and ate lots of great food.  Find Ranae, Kendra or me to ask us more about our trip!

Scripture Readings for Sunday, August 21st, 2016: 1 Corinthians 12:4-2; Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

The prayer list can be found here.