Pray for Guatemala on Sunday, February 16, 2014

Pray for Guatemala on Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lectionary Selection: Matthew 5:21-37

Prayers for Guatemala:
Creator God, Mother and Father, we give thanks to you for night and day, for the air and water that gives us breath and sates our thirst.  We thank you God for the gift of knowledge and presence and for the knowledge passed down by our ancestors, grandfathers and grandmothers who taught us by example the concepts of good and evil.  We ask you God, to help us understand one another and form us into loving and compassionate beings and to put your teachings into practice by following you God, despite the constant division, violence and hate that surrounds us.

Give us courage, strength and the ability Father God to reconcile the anger, impotence and frustration that we experience when the avarice of others causes affliction, death and pain to those we love and respect. Be with these men and women who have faithfully fought for peace, justice and dignity during and in post-bellum Guatemala.  But above all Mother God, we ask that you watch over our brothers and sisters of the Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala as they continue their work and accompaniment in areas of Guatemala where communities endure human rights abuses, exploitation of their territories and the undermining of their sovereignty.

Allow us to continue to walk together in accompaniment with our brothers and sisters in Guatemala. Let the testimony we share about our work with our brothers and sisters in Guatemala express to our U.S. churches the urgency and need for our presence here.  Teach us to walk with you, follow you and do your work towards peace, justice and dignity in our villages, those known and those unfamiliar to us yet.  Amen 

Mission Stewardship Moment from Guatemala:
The 1996 Peace Accords were signed in Guatemala which gave thousands of Guatemalans, here and abroad, a sense of hope and the impetus to come back into Guatemala’s social, cultural and political fabric without fear of persecution, violence and threats.  On December 29th, 2013 different sectors of Guatemalan society commemorated the 17th year anniversary of the signing of the Peace Accords.  At the National Palace, the current administration gathered to pay tribute to the efforts made 17 years ago in Guatemala. Also in nearby Guatemala City, Mayan spiritual leaders gathered in ancestral ceremonial spaces in remembrance of the Peace Accords and what it meant for indigenous populations in the country. But the noteworthy aspect of this day was not that the Government remembered or that the Mayan community remembered, but that there was no sense of political will made by the current administration to promote and encourage reconciliation and or recognition of indigenous people in the country. The Peace Accords put an end to the civil war in the country, a significant part of Guatemala’s history, but a lot of the high intensity warfare that took place during the armed conflict, continues in contemporary Guatemala.  Neoliberal economic policies in Guatemala promote and allow for foreign investors to bring a new type of conflict into the country, as in the case of the mining industries. These policies are responsible for creating and enforcing social conflicts between communities opposed to the long term irreversable environmental impacts caused by industry and between communities convinced and bribed by local and foreign interest groups. 

Despite the end of the war in 1996, hidden but powerful interest groups continue to enforce violence and social conflict throughout the country in pursuit of resources.  Repression and violence are endured by many Guatemalans, in particular the indigenous communities.  On January 15th, 2014 Mr. Juan Tuyuc Velasquez, brother of Rosalina Tuyuc Velasquez was found dead on a Guatemalan highway.  After awaiting autopsy and investigation reports, it was determined that Mr. Tuyuc had been tortured and assassinated.  A second hardship experienced by the Tuyuc family since exactly one year ago, a second brother Vicente Tuyuc was murdered in similar ways.  The Tuyuc family is not only nationally but internationally known for their commitment to peace, justice, dignity and the rights of indigenous communities, in particular the Kaqchikel nation. 

This testimony reaffirms the urgent need for the church and Global Ministries to continue to accompany our Guatemalan brothers and sisters who long for a peaceful and reconciled country enough to risk their own lives for the sake of their communities and future generations.

(Prayer and Mission Moment by Gloria Vicente Canú)

Mission Partners in Guatemala:

More information on Guatemala:

Global Ministries Missionary in Guatemala:
Gloria Vicente Canú
 is serving a three-year term with the Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala (Consejo Ecuménico Cristiano de Guatemala – CECG), as a consultant for communication, interpretation and women’s projects.