As mentioned previously, the Association had an amazing and transformative 2018. We met with the Association Board to deliver checks and review its 2018 annual report as well as its 2019 plan of work. Composing these documents is a require per the partnership agreement with the New Castle Presbytery.
One sentence in the annual report that emphasized the increase in work read “Please note we can ordinarily fit our activities on one-page, but this year the number exceeds what can be stated with that limit.” (It was four pages long.) Some projects that they worked on in 2018 included: family gardens, stoves, VIP latrines, water filters, CEDEPCA training, health clinics, maintaining health of livestock, formalizing the association, and prayer partnerships. They are truly working so hard and impacting many communities in and around San Juan Ostuncalco. The women shared that “through working together, we are making God’s love visible.” (Read the entire 2018 Annual Report here.)
Checks from the New Castle Presbytery were presented for a variety of requests by the Association. The accounting process of each check is very meticulous. The women must ensure they are writing down the proper currency, all the necessary players must sign, and then the official Association stamp is used. After seeing the various communities and how they have benefited from the Association and some of the funded projects, these checks will make an enormous impact.
The Association Meeting was at Rosario’s home, which is also Centro Clinico Maya her public clinic. We weren’t able to see as much quite like past visits as a lot of space is taken up by a renovation.
Soon the new addition will be three floors providing a meeting space for the Association, exam rooms, and an ambulance drop off area. Rosario sees about 8-10 patients a day given the affordability of her public clinic, so these improvement will make a difference.
Following our tour of the clinic, we traveled with Rosario and her family to her church. There were at least 300 people at this contemporary service. We were invited up to the stage where Connectional Presbyter Jessie MacMillen addressed the congregation. We all then sang a song… no pressure!
Rev. Edwin Estevez of Riverfront and Grace Methodist churches took to the pulpit to preach again. Rev. Estevez spoke about how we tend to fixate on things as a society. This obsession results in overconsumption and hoarding of things you simply don’t need. These could be physical things such as the newest iPhone or more abstract things such as greed, jealousy and the like.
All of this emotional and physical baggage weighs you down and it could very be difficult to find God hidden in all that stuff. In short, Rev. Estevez explained that God welcomes everyone to the table with him, because the focus is on the person not his or her possessions. We must humble ourselves to sit at the table as our possessions do not matter.
Following the service, the pastor and deacons gave us a gift to thank us for attending the service. They gave us paraments, or hanging cloths, to use across the NCP for communion and in the pulpit. The textiles are beautiful, so look forward to seeing them at your church in the near future.