Guatemala Mission: Two Months Down South

Note: This post was originally located on the author's seminary blog and is now reposted here on Mayan Orthodoxy for background info.



Dear friends in Christ,

As you might know, I traveled to Guatemala in 2009 to help at the Hogar, an orphanage in Guatemala City. I spent close to two weeks helping to run a summer program for the orphans and visiting the Orthodox monastery that oversees the orphanage. It was a tremendous experience of God's grace.

Members of the Guatemalan community
This summer will bring me back to Guatemala once again, but under different circumstances. I plan to spend two months (June 12 – August 9) helping in a community of Mayans who live on the country's western coast. The community was recently brought into the Orthodox Church and now needs a great amount of catechesis. The size of this group is astounding: there are over 300 villages and the total number of people is about 500,000. This incredible size means that a lot of work lies ahead, and a missionary priest named Fr. John Chakos has begun the efforts.

My time will be spent working closely with Fr. John as he teaches, visits the different villages, and oversees a small seminary. I will also help supervise a group of orphans who live at the seminary. My goal is to learn about this community and to help them in whatever small ways that I can. I do have a background in Spanish, which I hope will come back quickly!

One of the churches... all full!
Ultimately, my aim in traveling to Guatemala this summer is to see how God is at work there and to spread the word here in the United States. It sometimes seems harder to find communities in the U.S. that have been set on fire by the Holy Spirit to the same degree as this community. Already numbering in the hundreds of thousands, it is still growing rapidly as new villages seek to enter the group. Clearly, God's hand is at work, and I want to experience that for myself and share my experience with all of you.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will be posting stories and information about this community. While I am in Guatemala, I hope to continue sharing the steps of my summer journey through posts and pictures. Perhaps a few Spanish phrases might get thrown into the mix as well. ¡Alaba al Señor!

Please keep me in your prayers as I prepare for my trip and while I am in Guatemala. Pray that I will have humility, wisdom, and the ability to help in a small way. It will be amazing to get to know this community, and I look forward to sharing much more with you in the coming months.

With love in Christ,
Jesse



(Photos taken from Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico)