Winding our way up the Pan American highway through the cloud-topped Sierra Madre mountains of the western highlands of Guatemala, we headed for Xela. We were meeting an amazing group of women and would witness a defining moment for the Association of the Mam Christian Women. What started many years ago was coming to fruition. Women with years of experience, those who had been mentored, and a second generation of daughters were empowered and working together to lead a robust array of successful projects. Read more
All eight travelers arrived safely in Guatemala City last evening. The sun is shining and the weather is glorious—unlike at home right now! Seven travelers are representing New Castle Presbytery (Tracy, Rachel, Karen, Arun, Denison, Jamie, and Carrie) and we are delighted to also be joined by Mary Jane from Presbytery of the James in Richmond, Virginia.
This Thanksgiving, we wanted to share something we are very grateful for: The Association of Mam Christian Women for Development is now an official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Guatemala! After a year of diligently working with a lawyer, the Association submitted its application in early 2019 to become an NGO. We are delighted to report that their application has been approved by the government and they are now a formally registered non-profit organization. This legal status will provide the women with a greater sense of empowerment and secure their future as a formal organization.
New Castle Presbytery has been working with the Association of Mam Christian Women for Development since 2010, and we have had a formalized partnership agreement with them since 2015. This is truly a monumental step for these women, and we recognize their courage and determination. Congratulations!
Today was largely another travel day with some fun activities mixed in. We traveled from Guatemala City to the Western Highlands, which is about a 4 to 5 hour drive.
There was a nice excursion in the middle of the bus ride to the last standing Mayan ruin in Guatemala, Iximche.
It was inhabited by the indigenous Kaqchikel in the late 1400s until it was later conquered by the Spaniards. The site was full of palaces, temples, and Mayan ball courts. There was even spaces for traditional fire ceremonies which were used for spiritual purposes.
This past Sunday, Cathy and Carrie paid a visit to our partner church, El Verbo Divino. The church is absolutely breathtaking and has the most scenic view from its balcony. If that name sounds a tad familiar, this is the same church whose youth group graciously hosted Westminster youth this past summer for the inaugural youth partnership trip to Guatemala.