A view from Lake Atitlán
Hey everyone, this is Josh Cox. After much thought , I reflected upon my time in Guatemala and the impact it had on my spiritual journey.
My experience in Guatemala had a very deep and powerful impact on me. I embarked on this journey with Westminster Presbyterian Church as a youth leader, with nine of our high school kids. Up until this point in my life, I have always struggled with my faith. I felt like there needed to be proof or a sign; instead, I watched my friends and family go through struggles nobody should have to go through without any help from above. Then two months before leaving for Guatemala, I witnessed a policeman, who was also a good man, a father, a husband, get shot and killed. This senseless act of brutal violence shattered any remnants of faith I was holding on to. I was broken.
If there was a God, how could he just let this happen?
During this trip, Cathy and Carrie made sure to meet with a variety of microloan groups. These microloan groups help fulfill the pillar of incoming-earning power in the Guatemala Partnership.
The Association of Mam Christian Women for Development has 500 members. As these women live across a large geographic area in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, they organize themselves into smaller groups of 12-18 women in each aldea, a term for village or local community. Together, each group is encouraged to write a business plan and apply to the Association Board for an interest-free microloan.
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.
View from the balcony of El Verbo Divino
In a recent post, Cathy Higgins shared how she and some Westminster and New Castle Presbytery (NCP) members traveled down to Guatemala in early 2015 to sign a three-year agreement between the Association of Mam Christian Women for Development and the Mission Development Unit of the NCP.
As the agreement was due to be resigned, the scope of the partnership increased from the Mission Development Unity of the NCP to entire NCP and the Association through 2020.
Cathy Higgins, Carrie Saathoff, and the Association Board Members smile after signing the covenant atop Rosario’s home.
As most will know, one of our biggest initiatives with the Association are the ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine and recently completed water filter projects. We are striving to provide partial funding for 500 latrines for the 500 women in the Association.
In an effort to have a sustainable partnership that helps the local economy, we teamed up with two local tradesmen, Alfredo and Vicente. Alfredo, Vicente and his staff source all the materials locally and make and manufacture them in their facility.