Dear Friends and Family:
Retoños en las ruinas: esperanza en el trauma.... Roots in the ruins: hope in trauma - A spiritual accompaniment program to nourish hope and develop resilience in the midst of conflict and emotional trauma. During the past year, I have continued to facilitate the "Retoños" program alongside the staff from the Institute for Intercultural Study and Research (INESIN) in southern Mexico with participants from Mexico, Chile, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and the United States. In each of the five courses, the experience of storytelling and story-listening is at the core of our time together. We encourage each other in the face of the challenges, changes, and choices shaping our personal lives, communities, and countries. I wrote the following story while thinking about the impact that people who have lived through the devastation of earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods and the uncertainties of political unrest and forced migration have had on their own healing and the healing of others through simple acts of goodness, kindness, and compassion. This story and newsletter are dedicated to the children, women and men who keep fluttering their wings against all odds, sending out whispers of life, hope, dignity, and peace blowing softly, but tenaciously, against the storms of destruction and death.Read more
In celebration of International Women’s Day, 9,000 women from all over the world gathered together at a retreat in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico to celebrate art and culture, play sports, and talk politics, grassroots organizing and self-love. Planned and led by the women Zapatistas, this international event was the first of its kind and drew women from as far away as South Africa, Patagonia, and Palestine. Every one of the 16 women who work at or are full-time volunteers at Melel Xojobal, along with 12 teenage girls who take part in our programing, attended this 5-day retreat in an effort to promote sisterhood, recognize and understand the different struggles of women all over the world, and retake our bodies and spaces as women.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 10:11-18
Prayers for Mexico:
Today we pray for Mexico, caught in the shadow between light and darkness.
In the womb where nativity waits,
In the grey fog before dawn,
In the curve of the tunnel hiding the exit,
In time suspended, half-way, no longer there, not yet beyond.
Between despair and hope shared,
but not yet fulfilled.
Between fear and courage opening its wings
but not yet alight.
Between sadness and joy bubbling up from the depths
but not yet overflowing.
Between suffering and justice opening its hands
but not yet embracing.
Between hate and the seed of love planted
but not yet germinating.
The shadows incubate dignity to be born.
The shadows solemnly announce the joy of new day.
The shadows excitedly predict a new breath of freedom.
The shadows stretch us irresistibly towards the light.
As the shadows point the path to the sun,
So our faith leads us on the path of peace.
Here, in the land of the eagle and the jaguar,
The cactus and the chocolate tree,
Where the sun hides behind the mountains
and beyond shimmering seas,
shalom is forged in these shadowlands.
(Prayer originally in Spanish. Written and translated by Elena Huegel.)Read more
La fe es la certeza de lo que se espera, la convicción de lo que no se ve. Hebreos 11:1
Los sábados plantamos árboles.
Nos reunimos en el Instituto de Estudios e Investigaciones Interculturales (INESIN), uno de los consortes de Ministerios Globales en San Cristóbal, a las 7:30 a.m. Cargamos alrededor de 200 árboles y nosotros mismos nos subimos también en la parte trasera de una camioneta y condujimos 30 minutos en una carretera y 30 minutos más en caminos desiguales de tierra y grava para llegar a la granja de un pastor local. Subidos en el lado de una montaña, miramos hacia las llanuras a otra cordillera, que ya estaba empezando a estar cubierto por las siempre presentes nubes del día.Read more
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
On Saturday, we planted trees.
We met at the Institute for Intercultural Study and Research (INESIN), one of Global Ministries’ partners in San Cristobal, at 7:30 a.m. We loaded around 200 trees and ourselves into the back of a pickup truck and drove 30 minutes on a highway and 30 minutes more on patchy dirt and gravel roads to arrive at the farm of a local pastor. Perched on the side of a mountain, we looked out over the plains to another mountain range as it was just starting to be covered by the ever-present daytime clouds.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Mark 1:21-28
Prayers for Mexico:
Father and mother God,
We ask for your guidance in listening to the voices of those who, like Jesus in the temple, speak from their own authority, those who carry the authority of their people, those who may see parts of the world differently than the way we see them. We ask you to open our eyes to the achievements of those who surround us and to teach us to share what we have learned.
We thank you, today and every day, for teaching us what it means to be seekers of the light in the world.
In this dire time of discomfort and discord between the U.S. and Mexico, we ask that you guide our steps and the steps of our leaders towards building relationships and breaking down walls and towards a better understanding of our neighbor country.
In your heavenly name we pray, amen.
Lectionary Selection: Luke 1:26-38
Prayers for Mexico:
There I was: small, defenseless, alone
without any understanding of the magnitude of the damage.
There You were: powerful, loving, and in a strange, incomprehensible way,
full of compassion.
You saw me, You loved me, years went by... and, today, You keep loving me.
There I was: growing in pain, in sadness, in anger;
clinging to You, to your mercy, to your grace.
There You were: gently tending to me, healing me, restoring me.
I ran away, terrified.
You kept close, chasing me, wrapping me in love.
Me, unknowing. You, knowing all.
Me, without understanding. You giving me purpose.
There I was: with my story...
my trampled dignity, my loneliness, my absurd existence.
There You were: with your story...
your dignity, your company, your true being.
You gave me life, a new story, a dream, a hope, a vision.
You changed my existence, readjusted my world.
Here I am and here you are, present.
I am always yours, and You, You infinite You, oh joy! You will always be mine!
(Prayer by Pastora Noemí Santiago Anzueto, México, 2017)Read more
“And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” - Mark 12:42-44Read more
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Bishop Ken Untener
(This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener. The words of the prayer are attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.)
Two earthquakes and two hurricanes marked the history of the Caribbean with destruction and despair in the past few weeks. Many of our partners have suffered the devastating effects of these natural phenomena, piling up on top of the permanent social, economic, political, and emotional challenges of everyday life on these lands of sun and blue skies.Read more