Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mid-December events

Two events occurred this week: the Spanish-language worship group (which includes several Crescent Hill folks) that meets at James Lees church one Saturday evening a month had an early Christmas celebration this past Saturday, stayed late to worship, enjoy some great food, and exchange gifts, and planned to start meeting on the second and fourth Saturday of every month, starting in January. Four nights later, again at James Lee, several Crescent hill folks were among the folks who gathered to plan the publicity, food, and children’s activities part of the joint CHPC-James Lees-CCC English as a foreign language teaching ministry. Crescent Hill folks signed up to help open up, coordinate, and welcome folks on Monday evenings (including on the first Monday, January 10, which will be a big registration day) and provide food during the first week of classes (January 10 and January 12), the fourth week (January 26 and January 28), the seventh week (February 21 and February 23), and the tenth week. Publicity efforts will include newspaper ads, a sign outside of James Lees, flyers, phone calls to students during previous terms, and Crescent Hill folks composing and sending out post cards to old students. (A Crescent Hill food coordinator has still yet to be selected. Ana will continue as children's activities coordinator.)


News from Izabal

Rene, from the Arca de Noe church, wrote last week that – after a summer and early fall with lots of storms and rain – it has been cold and dry in Izabal later this fall. The facilities of most of the presbytery’s 10 churches are OK, but the church at El Chupon (whose original building was damaged by Tropical Storm Matthew in late September) was not able to raise a lot of money and continues to meet in a smallish shelter. (Pictured above is Matthew's projected path.) After shuffling some pastors around, the presbytery has pastors of other churches rotating through the church north of El Chupon, at La Union.

-- Perry

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Upcoming events

Important events coming up:

-6:30 p.m. this Saturday, December 11, at James Lees Presbyterian Church on Frankfort Avenue: Spanish-language Advent celebration, including potluck supper (and a gift exchange). Everyone is welcome.

-6:30 p.m. this coming Wednesday, December 15, also at James Lees, is a meeting of people interested in the joint English as a foreign language teaching ministry, especially people interested in working on child care, food preparation and service, and publicity.

Also this weekend, the Spanish-language Sunday school class (pictured above) meets at 9:45 a.m. in the Sunday school room atop the kitchen, in the Education Buliding. And the buy local art sale, happening alongside the Christmas pageant/potluck lunch, may free up some funds that could ultimately go towards Guatemala storm relief and recovery. And we continue to try to reach Pastor Gerardo in Guatemala by phone.

-- Perry

Monday, November 29, 2010

End of the term

Monday night, at a joint English as a foreign language teaching ministry fall 2010 term certificiation ceremony, which Jane MC-ed.

Pictures of the gathering

November gathering

Half a dozen plus other Crescent Hill folks gathered at Carlos, Nora, and Ana’s seminary campus apartment. The group had great food and serious discussions about why the Guatemala partnership, how to communicate about it with others in the congregation, and whether and how to provide storm relief and recovery or other assistance to Estoreño partners. Why international mission? Why a partnership? And: why Guatemala? were all questions the group discussed. Connecting with people different from us and Pastor Jane’s Guatemala history should be among the key points, the group agreed.

The group decided to follow up on Ellen’s research about the presbytery’s Christian education materials, with possible support for reproduction of the materials, and continue to pursue avenues for storm relief and recovery assistance for the partners, possibly through CEDEPCA or through other agencies with which partners are already working. Tne group talked at length about how to best get a small amount of money for emergency use through channels, and no easy options are available. There may be up to $350 available through the Crescent Hill church Outreach Council and perhaps additional funds available in the Guatemala partnership fund. The group wavered between trying to get aid to Izabal before Christmas, and waiting until January, perhaps to team together a fund-raiser (like the breakfast fund-raiser Amy and Ken proposed) with the Friday, January 21 LiErin Probasco “Theologies of Receiving: Recipients’ Explanations of Cross-national Aid” talk already tentatively planned.

Discussion touched on a number of other areas - including how to boost participation in the English as a foreign language classes, the Spanish-language Sunday-school class, and the prayer vigil, as well as trying to do some joint/shared Bible study/theological reflection along with the Estoreño partners around Holy Week/Easter-time – before the group focused on some key dates:
-Monday, November 22: “graduation day” for the fall EFL ministry term. Some Crescent Hill Guatemala partnership task force folks would help with this.
-Saturday, December 12: Advent celebration of the Spanish-language worship/fellowship group, at 6 p.m. at James Lee church. Please be there.
-Wednesday, January 5: next Guatemala gathering, at 6:30 p.m. at Keith and Andrea’s house, at 7000 Woods Club Court (call 429-4558)
-Monday, January 10: start of EFL ministry winter term
-Friday, January 21: 6 p.m. LiErin Probasco talk
-Sunday, January 23: 9:45 a.m. possible breakfast fund-raiser (???)

Hopefully, an EFL planning gathering will take place at some point before January 10 and Ada’s Spanish class will start up again in January.

The group was unable to reach Pastor Gerardo by phone, and Carlos agreed to try again, in hopes to find out about storm damage, among other things. The group leaned against trying to participate in the February Guatemala mission network gathering, which is on the other side of the country from Izabal, and also against fund-raising for the theological training program. The possibility of bringing some Estoreño partners to Louisville in 2011 seemed more popular. Hopefully, how extensive the storm damage is and how best to promote storm recovery will become more clear.

-- Perry

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Taking a break

Two ancillary activities wind up fall sessions during the next week, and another activity continues. Thursday, November 18 is the last day for the third-term Spanish class, taught by Ada. Last week the class passed where it had gotten to in the previous term, and began tackling the de facto future tense and –er and –ir verbs. It’s possible a fourth term will be on tap in 2011. Let Ada know if you are interested.

Monday, November 22 is the final day of classes for the fall term of the joint Crescent Hill-James Lees-Covenant Community English as a foreign language teaching ministry. Crescent Hill is handling meal preparation and clean-up during this week, the final, full week of classes. Classes are slated to resume on Monday, January 10, 2011. Opportunities to be involved, in meal preparation, greeting students, assisting in teaching classes, or leading children’s activities, are still available. For more information or to volunteer, contact Perry, Ana, Eva, or Andrea.

The Spanish-language Sunday school (pictured above) is continuing even with the Thanksgiving holiday. The class is continuing to read and discuss the Hebrew scriptures book of Joshua, and an accompanying Presbyterian Women Horizons Bible study booklet, in Spanish (and occasionally in English). Everyone is welcome.

Late 2010 prayers

Crescent Hill church folks will be praying with the following Estoreño Presbytery groups and congregations during the rest of the year:

- Sunday, November 21, and the week thereafter: presbytery-wide Presbyterian Women organization, President Maria Coc Tiul, and other officers

- Sunday, November 28, and the week thereafter: presbytery-wide youth and young adult organization, President Armando Chub, and other officers

- Sunday, December 5, and the week thereafter: Peniel church, Pastor Pablo Sacul, and members, deacons, and elders

- Sunday, December 12, and the week thereafter: Familia de Noe church, Pastor Benjamin Sacul and spouse Carlota, and members, deacons, and elders

- Sunday, December 12, and the week thereafter: Lirio de los Valles church, Pastor Mario Xo Ical, and members, deacons, and elders

- Sunday, December 26, and the week thereafter: Puerto del Cielo church, Pastor Roberto Caal, and member, deacons, and elders

- Sunday, January 2, and the week thereafter: Jesus Es la Puerta church, Pastor Tomo Tec, and members, deacons, and elders

See you Saturday!

Folks interested in Guatemala mission partnership will gather at Carlos, Nora, and Ana's place in Heuser Hall on the Louisville Presbyterian seminary campus, at 9:30 a.m., this Saturday, November 20. Conversations about congregational engagement, disaster response, and theological reflection - as well as with Pastor Gerardo - are on tap. Everyone is welcome.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Funding possibilities

Three possibilities for partnership-related money transfers:

Disaster recovery: In late September Estoreño Presbytery set to Crescent Hill an information sheet on local problems that have resulted from Guatemala storms: expensive corn, broken up fields, damage to church buildings, and flagging giving. No doubt the global economic crisis and the barely functioning national government are also factors there. After some time Crescent Hill found that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has been in contact with partners in Guatemala (including CEDEPCA, where Karla Koll, Dennis Smith, and Delia Leal have worked) who are surveying needs the PDA is focused on the summer storm Agatha, and, to a lesser extent, the volcano eruption. But the partners are apparently aware other storms have struck. We have been trying to put these partners and our partners in contact with each other. There is only about $2,000 in PDA’s special Guatemala storm relief account – raised since this summer – but PDA will likely plow some of its general fund money into Guatemala storm relief also. But PDA also suggested Crescent Hill church contribute money to the Guatemala storm relief fund. They asked us not to designate funds for Estoreño/Izabal relief. There was no explicit quid pro quo – but if we gave money, that couldn’t help but encourage them to focus more attention on the area . . .

E-mail exchanges and phone conversations have generated several ideas about raising some money to contribute, either through PDA and its partners or three other means: a special offering during worship, a fund-raiser, or allocation of existing money (Guatemala mission partnership funds?). Folks who have shared these ideas have been very enthusiastic about helping our partners recover from disasters. (The church Outreach Council has already recommended any remaining 2010 funds in three church accounts it has some say over go towards Guatemala storm relief.)

Folks involved in Guatemala mission have also received new information about the theological education project. Two of the Presbyterian mission co-workers Crescent Hill church worked with earlier this year have been working the Amigos de K’eckhi (a collection of U.S. congregations and presbyteries partnered with Q’eqichi’-speaking Guatemalan presbyteries), the national evangelical Presbyterian church in Guatemala, and the Presbyterian seminary there to develop a theological training program for Q’eqchi’-speaking Presbyterian pastoral leaders. This past April there was a gathering in Coban to plan for the program. No Crescent Hill people participated, but the church did send money so that two Estoreño representatives – Pastor Pablo and Pastor José Sub – could participate. This past week Crescent Hill folks received a request from folks involved in this program. They made a case for the program – Q’eqchi’-speaking pastors have on average been through third grade in school. They also reported the cost for a year of the program ($10,000) and asked for contributions. We have had questions about the program, and we have not really ascertained the level of interest on the part of Estoreño partners in it. Nothing about participating in this program appeared in the informes the partners gave the Crescent Hill mission team in July. Nevertheless, Crescent Hill has been broadly interested in theological reflection.

Finally, for almost a year Crescent Hill’s Estoreño partners and Crescent Hill folks have been talking about Q’eqchi’-language Christian education materials they’ve prepared that they were looking for money to reproduce. Partners were not able to bring sample materials to Coban in July. This month, however, Ellen is visiting Guatemala and is set to retrieve a copy of the materials from the national church office in Guatemala City, where partners left these materials a couple of months ago. (Ellen will also leave a signed Spanish-language copy of the partnership agreement between Crescent Hill and the presbytery.)

It may be, if we’re going to help out with disaster relief, we may want to do this relatively soon. A program we’re thinking of having in January might address this issue of gift giving in mission relationships.

-- Perry

Monday 10/25 e-mail exchange

From Perry:

Hermanos y hermanas en Cristo,

Leemos sobre una otra tormenta en Guatemala anoche. Fue mas viento y mas lluvia?

Entendemos de Pastor Gerardo por telefono el Sabado que unas iglesias en el presbiterio han pastores nuevos. Pastor Pablo or Pastor Roberto iba de la iglesia en La Union a la iglesia en Boqueron ? Pastor Fidel iba de la iglesia en Boqueron a la iglesia en La Guitarra acerca de Livingston. Pastor Abelino ahora no es un pastor en el prebiterio. Es la verdad?


From Luis Botzoc:

Hermanos en Cristo ciudad de los Estados Unidos: Presente la Iglesia Arca de Noe cabo de resibir otro Iglesia congregacion en el Lugar Bario el Esfuezos de El Estor, Izabal. Esta Iglesia es campo del consistorio del Arca de Noe. Esperamos sus oraciones por esta nuevo congregacion presbiteriana el Esfuerzos.

ATTE: Luis Botzoc, miembro del Arca de Noe

From Rene:

Asi es hermano Pedro. El hermano pastor Abelino se a otra iglesia por su propia voluntad.

October 7 Guatemala-bound e-mail

Recibmios su carta. No hay un edificio para la iglesia en El Chupon, y no hay suficiente dinero para haciendo los edificios de otras iglesias meiores y – para muchos hermanos y hermanas y sus familias – no hay suficiente dinero para semillas o sus campos no estan buenos para plantando. No hay suficiente comida, en general, tambien?

Estamos preocupacos por Ustedes y oramos con y para Ustedes y hablamos sobre algunas otras respuestas. Estan cosas mas o menos lo mismo esta semana?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ministry fair

The Guatemala mission partnership was one of half a dozen Crescent Hill outreach ministries on display at the church's Ministry Opportunities Fair - in the midst of stewardship season - after worship this past Sunday. Folks who frequented the outreach displays got a chance to eat the warm tostadas that Lowell brought. Ana (pictured below, next to the PC(USA) international mission co-worker display - which Amy created, which included Amanda) was around to try to connect with volunteers for the English as a foreign language teaching ministry and - since this was right next to the Guatemala display - able to respond to questions about both.

Pictured below is a part of the Guatemala display, which helped land a couple of folks who signed up to receive e-mail/information about the partnership. The display also gave information about the task force's next gathering, on Saturday, November 14.
- Perry

Mid-October gathering

Half a dozen plus Crescent Hill folks interested in Guatemala mission talked at Brad, Soni, and Kara’s In mid-October. The group had mixed feelings about possible participation in the early February PC(USA) Guatemala mission network gathering in Guatemala. Folks talked about the information the group had received from Estoreño Presbytery partners about the effects of storms on Izabal: high corn prices, damaged church buildings, broken up fields. Participants in the gathering continued on ongoing discussion about whether money transfers from Crescent Hill to Estoreño should be part of the partnership. The group decided to look into PC(USA) Presbyterian Disaster Assistance involvement in Izabal disaster relief and recovery. The group talked briefly about its display at the Sunday, October 24 after-church Ministry Opportunity Fair.

Later on during the gathering, participants brainstormed about two related ministry: the English as a foreign language teaching ministry and the Spanish-language Sunday school class. Discussed were the possibility of shifting EFL classes from James Lees Memorial Presbyterian Church to teachers’ homes and the possibility of signs and other strategies to promote the Spanish-language Sunday school class to Spanish first-language speakers, including those not currently attending Crescent Hill church.

The group spoke briefly with Pastor Gerardo and learned that the presbytery has moved some pastors, with pastors from the La Union church moving to Boqueron, and from Boqueron to Guitarra, near Livingston. Gerardo said little about disaster recovery.

The next gathering will be at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 20, at Ana, Nora, and Carlos’ place, in Heuser Hall on the Presbyterian seminary campus.

-- Perry

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Join us!

Join us for a Guatemala mission partnership gathering, as we find out how our partners our surviving the flooding and global recession, take a stock of where our partnership is at this fall, and consider possible 2011 travel. We'll gather at Brad, Soni, and Kara's home at 209 Fairfax Avenue, Unit 1, in St. Matthews. Call 896-8561 for directions. See you there!

Friday, October 8, 2010

First day of class

After a long break, Crescent Hill church's Spanish class is back for fall term. Some 10 folks have signed up, and almost all - including three people new to this cycle of Ada's Spanish classes - were there. Welcome, Dawn, Motselisi, and Soni! A quick review is on tap.

-- Perry

Thursday e-mail exchange

From Perry to Rene (Thursday morning):

Recibmios su carta. No hay un edificio para la iglesia en El Chupon, y no hay suficiente dinero para haciendo los edificios de otras iglesias meiores y – para muchos hermanos y hermanas y sus familias – no hay suficiente dinero para semillas o sus campos no estan buenos para plantando. No hay suficiente comida, en general, tambien?

Estamos preocupacos por Ustedes y oramos con y para Ustedes y hablamos sobre algunas otras respuestas. Estan cosas mas o menos lo mismo esta semana?


From Rene to Perry (Thursday afternoon):

Gracias por sus oraciones. Nosotros tambien oramos por ustedes. Que Dios le bendiga.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sept. 29 e-mail (rough English translation)

The flooding in the Polochic valley has destroyed a lot of the crops, and this is where folks in Izabal get their seed, and now that seed is very expensive. The farmland in some of Izabal is no good for planting. The church in El Chupon (pastored by Pastor Tomo) was destroyed again, and the congregation is meeting in a house. Building plans for several other churches have ground to a halt because people don't have any money.

September 29 e-mail

Double-click below to magnify this handwritten note Rene sent by e-mail - with a pitch for a response - last Wednesday (September 29):

Prayer vigil pictures

A beautiful morning and a beautiful sanctuary greeted Crescent Hill folks participating Saturday morning in a second annual prayer vigil, a custom we've adopted and adapted from our Guatemalan partners. Among those we prayed for were the people of Guatemala and PC(USA) mission co-worker Amanda Craft, in Antigua. Also on the prayer list for the week were Pastor Tomo and the El Chupon church which - it turns out - needed prayer even more than we might have imagined.

Experiments in the news

Guatemala was in the news for something other than natural disasters for the first time in a while when last week President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton apologized to Guatemalan President Colom and the Guatemalan people after information about a controversial 1940s study in which U.s. doctors – funded by U.S. government money – deliberately infected Guatemalan sex workers, prisoners, mental patients, and soldiers with syphilis to test whether penicillin – then newly created – would work against syphilis. The study – carried on by the same doctor who studied African American men with syphilis which he let go untreated – also smacked of studies carried on around the same time by Nazis and the Japanese partly on U.S. prisoners of war. In spite of the horrid details and President Colom and President Obama (pictured above at a meeting last year) going back and forth a little on it, the episode in a way served to underline the close relationship between the two countries.

- Perry

Network gathering

The Guatemalan Presbyterian church, the PC(USA)’s World Mission staff, and the Guatemala Mission network have planned a mission network gathering for Tuesday evening, February 1, though Friday morning, February 4, at the Presbyterian seminary in Guatemala. Crescent Hill folks have participated in several of these network gatherings – including one, two years ago, that was also in Guatemala. Among those folks who will be there will be U.S. and Guatemalan Presbyterians from congregations and presbyteries , like us, involved in U.S.-Guatemalan partnerships. Two years ago – before we had established an official partnership – we sent two people, and the Estoreño Presbytery sent two people.

The gathering organizers are expecting that U.S. Presbyterians traveling for the gathering may visit with their partners (for example, in El Estor) before or after the gathering (but Ellen and Stephanie did not so this two years ago).

We have informed our partners about this gathering, in general, but may follow up with more detail – although- as should be obvious in another re-mail – they may be preoccupied right now. More information about costs and program are supposed to be forthcoming.

-- Perry

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ready for prayer

With lots of items lent by other Crescent Hill church folks, Ada and Andrea decorated the sanctuary Friday for Saturday's prayer vigil and Sunday's communion worship service, both i connection with World Communion weekend. Highlighted in the window sills were each of the countries that Crescent Hill folks have recent connections with. Most have a flag from the country (with the name of the country written on the back) and some other kind of item or items connected with the country. The displays for countries where there are Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) long-term international mission co-workers that the church supports include pictures of the mission workers. Thanks to Ada and Andrea for all your hard work and creativity envisioning and organizing especially Saturday 9 a.m.-12 noon prayer vigil, which draws from Guatemalan and Q'eqhchi' traditions of our partner churches in Guatemala. See you at 9 - or even for a few minutes at any time between 9 and 12. Join us in praying for our friends and their neighbors in the dozen plus highlighted countries and for all people around the world.

(Above is the display for Korea, and below are displalys for Zambia (with mission worker Nancy, who was in Louisville this week, and for Guatemala (with former mission worker Ellen and current worker Amanda).)

-- Perry

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saturday AM (Oct. 2) prayer vigil

Start off World Communion weekend by stopping by the Crescent Hill church sanctuary, between 9 a.m. and 12 noon Saturday, to pray for the world. On the window sills of the sanctuary will be visual reminders of the many countries where Crescent Hill folks already have friends and family members (including long-term international mission workers the church supports). We will be praying for these individuals, for other people within these countries, and for peace, justice, and love in all countries across the world. Next to the visual reminders of each country will be note cards on which you may write prayer concerns.

Among the countries and regions whose people and prayer concerns we may highlight are:
-Democratic Republic of the Congo
-Dominican Republic

Unlike a year ago when we ask participants to fast during the Saturday morning of the prayer vigil, we are not asking folks to do that this year. Anyone who is not able to make it to the sanctuary may of course pick one of these countries or another country of your choice and pray for the people there.

Hope to see many of you Saturday and then again at worship on World Communion Sunday.

-- Perry

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Safe for now: Luis Botzoc e-mail

Hermanos miembros de nuestra Iglesia Presbiteriana de los Estados Unidos:

Yo como Luis Botzoc, miembro del comite ejecutivo del Presbiterio Qeqchi Estoreño, en el municipio de El Estor, departamento de Izabal Guatemala.

Quiero decirle hermanos, gracias a dios que en nuestro municipio no hay mucho inundacion. El tiempo esta normal gracias a dios, pero no sabemos mas adelante cómo vamos a estar solo dios sabe.

La Iglesia Presbiteriana Arca de Noe,la segunda Iglesia Altar de Noe y la tercera iglesia Espiritu Santo - siempre oran por ustedes y por todo los hermanos de Estados Unidos.

La Iglesia Monte Sinai San Carlos Porveni Puerto Barrios, gracias a Dios, esta contentos sin novedades. Ellos oran por ustedes.

Late September e-mail (English translatoin)

We read about another storm and floods near Puerto Barrios. How is the Monte Sinai church and Pastor José Sub and the members and areas and churches in other parts of Izabal, including El Estor and Livingston? It is dry in Louisville.

This past Wednesday Jane, the pastor of our church, and Jack, the clerk of our church, signed a covenant agreement between our church and your presbytery (in English). Some photographs are here: And the covenant (in English) is here: We are also going to send you all the paper also.

This past Sunday en the service and during the week people from our church are praying for the church in El Chupon and for persons in parts of Izabal with floods.
Andrea, one of the deacons who were with us in Coban, is planning a prayer vigil for this Saturday at our church. We are going to pray for and with our brothers and sisters in Christ in various places in the world where we know people, including you all in Guatemala, our North American friends in Guatemala, and some people in other places, including Africa. Also this Saturday, the youth of our church are going to go to a retreat at a lake in Indiana.

In October or November we hope to talk with some people from another Presbyterian church in Louisville which has worked with water other places in Guatemala.
We trust that God is going to be with you all and your brothers and sisters in Christ in other parts of Izabal during this time of bad weather.


Late September e-mail to Guatemala

Leemos sobre una otra tormenta y inundiaciones acerca de Puerto Barrios. Como esta la iglesia Monte Sinai y Pastor José Sub y los miembros y los areas y Iglesias en otras partes de Izabal, incluyendo El Estor y Livingston? Esta seco en Louisville.
El Miercoles pasado Juana, la pastora de nuestra iglesia, y Juan, el sacristan de nuestra iglesia, firmaron el convenio entre nuestra iglesia y su presbiterio (en Ingles). Unas fotografias estan aqui: Y el convenio (en Ingles) esta aqui: Vamos a mandar a Ustedes el papel tambien.

El Domingo pasado en el culto y durante esta semana las personas de nuestra iglesia estamos orando para la iglesia en El Chupon y para personas en partes de Izabal con inundaciones.

Andrea, una de los diaconos y diaconas quienes estuvieron con nosotros en Coban, planea una vigilia de oraciones para el Sabado a nuestra iglesia. Vamos a orar para nuestra hermanos y hermanas en Cristo en varios lugares en el mundo donde sabemos unas personas, incluyendo Ustedes en Guatemala, nuestros amigos Norteamericanos en Guatemala, y unas personas en otras lugares, incluyendo en Africa. Tambien el Sabado, los jovenes y las jovenes de nuestra iglesia van a ir a una retirada a un lago en Indiana.

En Octubre o Noviembre esparamos hablar con unas personas de una otra iglesia Presbiteriana en Louisville que trabajaba con agua en otras lugares en Guatemala.

Confiamos Dios va a estar con Ustedes y sus hermanos y hermanas en Cristo en otras partes de Izabal durante este tiempo de tiempo malo.

-- Pedro

Monday, September 27, 2010


Hurricane season continues to takes it toll on Guatemala, and now in Izabal itself. Hurricane Matthew has battered areas of Belize, eastern Guatemala, and eastern Honduras, on the of Gulf of Honduras coast, causing widespread flooding including in the Puerto Barrios area, where the Estoreño Presbyter's Monte Sinai church is located. No word from our partners yet and the fate of the church or conditions in other parts of Izabal.

-- Perry

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday prayer vigil

A prayer vigil is scheduled for Satuday, October 2, in the sanctuary, any time during the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 12 noon. the prayer vigil is a form of worship observed by our partners in Guatemala, and on in which we will practice to honor our relationship. To prepare for World Communion Sunday, stations will be set up around the sanctuary inviting ou to pray for different countries represented by the members of our congregation. (Pictured above is Andrea, who helped organize September 2009 and September 2010 prayer vigils - with Ana helping set up for last year's vigil.)

Honduran coup talk

Friday 10 or so folks - including a couple of Crescent Hill people - gathered in a Presbyterian Center to watch a short documentary on the coup a year ago in Honduras, a country that shares a border with Guatemala, and the aftermath, and to hear from Elmer (pictured above) spouse of Ellen S., who briefly attended Crescent Hill with their kids. Elmer, who is now one of the pastors of a Nasvhille church with Guatemala connections came down hard on the coup and its aftermath: he and the documentary sharply contested that the coup was popular and bloodless. Both detailed the continuing resistance to the coup and the coup-influenced governments that have followed in Honduras. A wave of left and center-left governments have swept over Latin America, through elections, and the Honduran coup was a attempt to go back to the bloody methods of the 1970s and 1980s to reverse this leftward electoral drift. Elmer said the Honduran coup endangers other countries like Guatemala also, because it's clear that the United States - even with a center-left Democrat in the White House - will do nothing to stop these coups. Not only will the government not call the coup a coup and not threaten U.S. miliary connections with the Honduran government (we have bases there) or U.S.-Honduran trade, which is very extensive, but there is also evidence that the U.S. government supported the coup from the start. The plane that flew that kidnapped Honduran president, Zelaya, out of the country, stopped at a U.S. base to refuel. And a very important figure in the Reagan/Bush war on the Latin American left - in the 1980s, met with most of the key coup figures in Honduras a week before the coup happened.

-- Perry

Friday, September 24, 2010

Signed, sealed, delivered!

Double click on the document to magnify it:

It's super official!

With some encouragement from our partners in Guatemala, during session meeting Wednesday, Pastor Jane and Jack, Crescent Hill's clerk of session, took out their pens and signed English-language versions of Crescent Hill church's and Estoreño Presbytery's commitments, made earlier this summer, and now confirmed by the session and - apparently - by the presbytery. (See above for another version of the texts).

-- Perry

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Honduras talk

This Friday, at 11:45 a.m. in Conference Room 4000 (4th floor), of the Presbyterian Center, Elmer Zavala, a Honduran human rights activist, will show a documentary on the coup a year ago in Honduras, and will speak about the aftermath of the coup. Elmer is the spouse of Ellen S., who worshiped with their kids at Crescent Hill for a time last year. The coup, which deposed the president and set the stage for a crackdown on community groups and a very imperfect election, yielded calls for a similar coup against President Colom in Guatemala. Guatemala and Honduras are neighbors, and Soila, who was a mission worker at Crescent Hill in 2004, is from Honduras.

- Perry

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

E-mail from Gerardo (via Rene) (October 21)

Gracias hermano Pedro por la informacion. Ya tengo impreso los documentos. Saludos a todos y a muchas beniciones.

Att. Pastor: Gerardo Pop

Luis Boztoc e-mails

From Luis Botzoc, the presbytery’s corresponding secretary (Tuesday, July 14):

Hermano pedro te saludo a nombre de nuestro señor jesucristo. Saludo para todo los hermanos miembros presbiteriana crecengil.

Atenatamente: hermano Luis Botzoc, miembro del Comite Ejecutivo Presbiterio Estoreño

From Tuesday, July 21:

Hermanos en cristo como presbiteriano - ya resibimos el documento entre pocos dias estaremos enviando la lisatado de la nueva junta directiva del presbitario estoreño. La fueron electo por la asamblea general del presbiterio el dia 2 y 3 de septiembre de este año 2010.

El nuevo comite ejecutivo quedo con la manera siguiente:
- Presidente: Pablo Sacul
- Vice Presidente: Raul Contrera Tut
- Secretario de Acta: Gerardo Ich pop
- Secretario Corresponsal: Luis Botzoc
- Tesorero: Ramiro Quib
- Vocal 1: Antonio Cucul
- Vocal 2: Jose Domingo Xó Ical
- Vocal 3: Jose Sub

Atentamente: hermano Luis Botzoc, secretario corresponsal

E-mail to Rene (English translation)

September 14, 2010

Greetings to our brothers and sisters in Izabal. The teachers and students in our church returned to their schools during the past month. This month Christian education classes start at our church. Two weeks ago we celebrate the 10 years of service of our pastor, Jane, at our church. Thanks to God, three people from our church for whom we prayed in Coban are well. Doug found work, Martha went to Tennessee to be with her mother, and a new person and now part of the staff of the church, Jennifer, began her work with us. Thanks to you all for praying for these folks, and thanks to God. For a month or so, Roger and Gloria were in Tennessee also for the wedding of their daughter. They returned to Coban this week.

Also this week people from our church and two other churches are going to offer again English classes for people who cannot speak English, including to some Guatemalans.

During the past two weeks we have been reading about the rain, the storm, and the landslides in Guatemala. Ellen and Rene exchanged e-mails, and, Rene, you wrote that the rain is heavy in Izabal, but the storm and landslides are worse in other parts of Izabal, for example, in Morales.

I am going to include three other elements in this e-mail: (1) the words that I wrote when I read the commitment that Pastor Fidel Juc and Pastor Gerardo Pop Ich wrote before our final worship service on Wednesday, July 14, in Coban. After this, Pastor Fidel combined the two documents into one document. It is also possible that the executive committee of the presbytery changed the document. I would like to receive by e-mail the final text. (2) In Spanish, the commitment of Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church; and (3) a survey of your presbytery about the partnership with us and about a meeting of groups which met in November 2008 (including Pastor Pablo Sacul, Pastor Gerardo, Ellen, and Stephanie). The groups plan a meeting in the first week of February 2011. Is possible that two people from your presbytery and two people from our church are going to be able to go to the meeting? The PC(USA) would like you all to respond to the survey and send the survey to Tracey King by e-mail at

Also, we read your commitment and our comments twice to other people. We read the commitments to the elders of our church, and the elders approved. We read the commitments also in a worship service about the trip and our discussions in Coban in July. Four people (Jane, Andrea, Claudia, and Perry) also talked in the service about their experiences in Coban during the trip. We are planning to talk with our people from the Mid-Kentucky presbytery at a meeting in one week. We are also talking about a Spanish class at our church for the fall. And we are planning to write about our church in Spanish in an information sheet for you all.


From Pastor Gerardo Pop Ich

The Presbytery of Estoreño and Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church

How can we come to know one another in partnership? Through communication by telephone, through writing emails, and prayers each Sunday. We have dreams to make personal visits but we do not know when; we can only plan and put dates on the calendar.

How can we know one another? Though written information about our churches and their ministries, and when we are together, when brothers and sisters from Crescent Hill come to visit members of the Presbytery of Estoreño.

How can we encourage one another? As we share experiences as we understand God commands us to do.

We continue praying asking that God would reveal his understanding to both groups.

From Pastor Fidel Juc:

Our commitment

To arrive. To arrive is a goal of a dream for the future together. To practice is partnership.

To know. To encourage one another: To encourage the American brothers and sisters through prayer, so that we are in communication with God and sharing the Word of God between the American brothers and the Presbytery of Q’eqchi’ Estrogeno.

Note: This commitment - and Crescent Hill church's commitment - is based on the verses in Romans 1 and the three words that Pastor Fidel saw in those verses – to arrive, to know, to encourage

Crescent Hill church's commitments
With God’s help, we, Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church, enter into partnership with Estoreño Presbytery of Guatemala, with the common goal of learning what it means to be in partnership.
We will:

Visit, by
-being in regular communication by e-mail and phone
-visiting in person when possible

Learning/get to know one another, by:
-sharing news and information and prayer concerns
-doing Bible study together even when in different places
-learning Spanish and about the Guatemalan and Q’eqchi’ cultures and the IENPG

Encourage our sisters and brothers, by:
-praying every Sunday for a particular church and its pastor (or a particular group)
-holding prayer vigils
-providing teachers for workshops
-telling others in our presbytery about our partnership and possibilities for their involvement

We also discussed reviewing the partnership after three years (in 2012).

to guide in the planning of the next
Guatemala Partnership Network Meeting

To be held in Guatemala the 1st week of Feb. 2011; exact dates to be decided.
Please be as specific as possible in your answers; thank you!
Please return completed survey by August 27th to: Marisa Bustamante, administrative assistant for the Latin America Area Office of the PCUSA,

Your group name:

Contact person for your group & how to contact:

Your partner’s name:

1. How would you characterize your partnership?

2. Does your partnership have a formal written agreement?

3. When was your partnership established?

4. What has been the greatest benefit of your partnership to date for you?

5. What do you think has been the greatest benefit for your partner?

6. What has been the greatest challenge of the partnership?

7. How has your partnership grown?

8. What is the greatest need of your partnership?

9. How and how often are you able to communicate with your partner?

10. Do you share news of your partnership with either the IENPG or the PC(USA) leadership? If so, how?

11. When partners visit Guatemala, are there logistical services that would be helpful to have provided via the IENPG (eg, the type of services that PRESGOV had been providing)? Are there other organizations that you work with to provide services?

12. Do you collaborate with any other Guatemala partnership(s)? If so, how?

13. Is there an area (or areas) in which collaboration with other Guatemala partnerships would be helpful?

14. What attitudes, cultural aspects, or beliefs of the people in the United States do you not understand or question?

15. What specific issues would you like to see addressed during the meeting?

16. Do you recommend any particular people or resources to help address those issues?

17. Would you like time during the meeting dates to meet with your partner representatives, or will you plan to visit with them before or after the network meeting?

18. When is the best time of the week for the network meeting, from your perspective? more than one may be marked)

___ Mon-Tu-Wed, ___ Tu-Wed-Th, ___ Wed-Th-Fri, ___ Thurs-Fri-Sat, ___ Fri-Sat-Sun

19. Other comments or suggestions:

Blessings of God for you all and your churches and all of the Guatemalan people, with the rain, the poverty, and the violence. This week we are praying for the Family of Noah Presbyterian Church, for Pastor Benjamin and his spouse Carlotta, and for the members, elders, and deacons of the church.

E-mail to Rene (in Spanish)

14 Septiembre 2010

Saludos a nuestros hermanos y hermanas en Izabal. Los maestros y maestras y estudiantes en nuestra iglesia regresaron a sus escuelas durante el mes pasado. Este mes los clases de educacion Christiana comenzan a nuestra iglesia. Dos semanas pasadas nosotros celebramos los diez años de servicio de nuestra pastora, Juana, a nuestra iglesia. Gracias a Dios, tres personas de nuestra iglesia para quienes nosotros oramos en Coban estan bien. Douglas encontro trabajo, Marta fue a Tennessee estar con su madre, y una persona nueva a nuestra iglesia y ahora parte del personal de la iglesia, Jenifer, comenzo su trabajo con nosotros. Gracias a Ustedes para orando para ellos y ellas, y Gracias a Dios. Para un mes o mas, Rogelio y Gloria estuvieron en Tennessee tambien para la boda de su hija. Regresaron a Coban esta semana.

Tambien este mes personas de nuestra iglesia y dos otras Iglesias vamos a ofrecer otra vez clases de Ingles para personas quienes no pueden hablar Ingles, incluyendo personas Guatemalatecas.

Durante los dos semanas pasadas nosotros leiamos sobre la lluvia, la tormenta, y los corrimientos de tierra en Guatemala. Elena y Rene intercambiaron cartas electronicas, y, Rene, Usted escribie que la lluvia es pesado en Izabal, pero la tormenta y los corrimientos de tierra son peor en otras partes de Izabal por ejemplo en Morales.

Voy a incluir tres otros elementos en esta carta electronica: (1) las palabras que escribe cuando lee el compromiso que Pastor Fidel Juc and Pastor Gerardo Pop Ich escribieron antes de culta ultimo nuestro la Miercoles, 14 Julio, en Coban. Despues de esto, Pastor Fidel combino los dos documentos en documento uno. Es tambien posible que el comite ejecutivo del presbiterio cambio el documento. Quiesiera a recibir por correa electronica el documento ultimo. (2) en Castillano, el compromiso de la Iglesia Presbyteriana Crescent Hill; y (3) una encuesta de su presbiterio sobre el compañerismo con nosotros y sobre una reunion de los grupos cuales reunieron se en Noviembre de 2008 (incluyendo Pastor Pablo Sacul, Pastor Gerardo, Elena, and Stefania). Los grupos planean una reunion en la semana primera de Febrero 2011. Es posible que dos personas de su prebiterio y dos personas de nuestra iglesia vamos a poder ir a la reunion? PCUSA, la iglesia Presbiteriana nacional en los Estados Unidos, quisiera que Ustedes responder a la encuesta y mandar la encuesta a Tracey King por correa electronica a

Tambien, nosotros leiamos a personas otras su compromiso y nuestro compromise dos veces. Leiamos los compromisos a los ancianos y ancianas de nuestra iglesia, y ellos y ellas aprobaron. Leimos los compromisos tambien en un culto sobre el viaje y las conversaciones en Coban en Julio. Cuatro personas (Juana, Andrea, Claudia, y Pedro) tambien hablaron en el culto sobre nuestras experiencias en Coban durante el viaje. Nosotros planeamos a hablar a otras personas de el prebiterio Mid-Kentucky a un asemblea en una semana. Nosotros tambien hablamos sobre el clase de Castillano a nuestra iglesia para el atomno. Y nosotros planeamos escribir sobre nuestra iglesia en Castillano en un informes para Ustedes.

1. Compromiso
De Pastor Gerardo:


El Presbiterio Estoreño, con la Iglesia Crescent Hill.

Como podemos llegar para conocer en compañerismo? A través de la comunicación por vía telefónica, y por escrito se envía por correo electrónico, con la oración cada Domingo. Tenemos sueños llegar personal, pero no sabemos cuando; sola planificamos y calendarizar.

Como podemos a conocer? Por medio de los informes por escrito, y cuando nos juntamos en cuanta vienen a los hermanos y hermanas miembros Crescent Hill; miembro del presbiterio Estoreño.

En qué manera podemos animar? Con las experiencia compartido en las entendimiento del mandato de Dios

Seguir orando para que Dios revelaran sus entendimiento, amos grupo.

De Pastor Fidel:

Temo compromiso

Llegar: Llegar de una meta de un sueño para el futuro juntos. Practicar es compañerismo.

Conocer: Conocerlo aelios compañerismo

Animarlos: Animarlos a los hermanos y hermanas Americano por media de la oración, para que estamos en comunicación con Dios y compartiendo la palabra de Dios. Entre los hermanos de americanos y como presbiterio El Estoreño.

2. El Compromiso de la Iglesia Presbiteriana Crescent Hill

Una nota: Este compromiso, y el compromiso del Presbiterio Estoreño, está basado sobre los versículos en Romanos 1:8-12 y las tres palabras claves que el Pastor Fidel vio en esto versículos – llegar, conocer y animar.

Con la ayuda de Dios, nosotros y nosotras, la Iglesia Presbiteriana Crescent Hill, entramos al compañerismo con el Presbiterio Estoreño de la Iglesia Evangélica Nacional Presbiteriana de Guatemala, con la meta común de aprender lo que significa ser y vivir compañerismo.


Visitar -
-por comunicación en seguida por medio de correo electrónico y teléfono
-por visitas de delegaciones cuando es posible

Conocer unos a otras –
-compartir noticias y información y peticiones por oración
-estudiar a la Biblia juntos a pesar de estamos en distintos lugar
-aprender Español
-aprender sobre la cultura de Guatemala y específico, la cultura de los Q’eqchís
-aprender más de la Iglesia Evangélica Nacional Presbiteriana de Guatemala

Animar nuestros hermanas u hermanos -
-orar cada domingo por una iglesia local del Presbiterio Estoreño y su pastor, o por un grupo particular
-participar en vigilias de oración
-proveer maestros para talleres en el Presbiterio de Estoreño
-contar a otras personas de nuestro presbiterio sobre nuestro compañerismo y las posibilidades que otras puedan participar (involucrarse)

También discutimos la importancia de revisar el compromiso después de 3 años, en 2012

para ayudar en la planificación de la próxima
Reunión de la Red Presbiteriana de Misión
(Relaciones de Compañerismo GUA/EUA)

Para llevarse a cabo en Guatemala la primera semana de febrero de 2,011.
Favor de ser lo más específico posible con sus respuestas, gracias.
Al terminar con la encuesta, favor de enviarla a mas tardar el 27 de agosto de 2010: Marisa Bustamante, asistente administrativa del Area de Latino América para la Iglesia Presbiteriana de los EUA, por correo electronico a o por correo normal, Marisa Bustamante, World Mission, PCUSA, 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202

El nombre de su presbiterio o grupo aquí en Guatemala:

El nombre de la persona quien llena esta encuesta y ¿cómo contactarlo?

¿Con qué entidad de la PC(USA) tiene una relación de compañerismo?

1. ¿Cómo se caracteriza su relación de compañerismo?

2. ¿Se tiene un convenio formal? SI NO

3. ¿Desde cuándo se estableció la relación de compañerismo? (fecha)

4. ¿Cuál ha sido el mayor beneficio para su presbiterio de esta relación?

5. ¿Qué piensa que ha sido el mayor beneficio para los hermanos/as de los Estados Unidos de América?

6. ¿Cuál ha sido el mayor desafío de la relación?

7. ¿En qué manera ha crecido la relación de compañerismo?

8. ¿Cuál es la mayor necesidad de la relación?

9. ¿Cómo y con qué frecuencia logran comunicarse con los hermanos de los EUA?

10. ¿Comparten noticias de esta relación con el Sínodo? ¿En qué manera?

11. ¿Cuándo vienen los hermanos de los EUA, hay servicios logísticos con que les gustaría tener ayuda? (Por ejemplo, el tipo de servicio que antes prestaba PRESGOV.) ¿Trabajan Uds con otras organizaciones para proveer algunos de estos servicios, por ejemplo, transporte, hotel, itinerario?

12. ¿Colaboran Uds aquí en Guatemala con los hermanos/as de otra relación de compañerismo ya establecida?

13. ¿Existe un area (o areas) de necesidad en donde sería de ayuda colaborar con las personas de otra relación de compañerismo ya establecida?

14. ¿Cuáles actitudes, aspectos culturales, o creencias de los hermanos de los Estados Unidos de América no entienden o cuestionan Uds?

15. ¿Cuáles temas específicos quisieran ver incluidos en la reunión de febrero próximo?

16. ¿Pueden recomendar personas en particular para encargarse de tales temas?

17. ¿Quisieran tener tiempo durante la reunión para reunirse específicamente con los hermanos/as de su relación de compañerismo, o es preferible hacer esto antes o después de la Reunión de la Red?

18. ¿Cuáles días serían los mejores para la Reunión de la Red desde su perspectiva? (Se puede indicar más que uno.)

__ Lunes-Mart-Mier, __ Mart-Mier-Jueves, __ Mier-Juev-Vier, __ Juev-Vier-Sab, __Vier-Sab-Dom

19. Otras sugerencias u otros comentarios:

Bendiciones de Dios para Ustedes y sus Iglesias y todos de las personas Guatemalatecas con la lluvia, la pobreza, y la violencia. Esta semana oramos para la iglesia Presbiteriana Familia de Noe, para Pastor Benjamin Sacul y su esposa, Carlota, y para los miembres y las miembres, los ancianos, y los diaconos de la iglesia.


Monday, September 20, 2010


At Saturday's Mid-Kentucky Presbytery meeting at Camp Cedar Ridge, which Pastor Jane helped organize and which featured singing by a four-church choir, Jane led a prayer and Perry made an announcement about the Crescent Hill-Estoreño Presbytery partnership.

The announcemen triggered other stories of missin partnership, including folks from Anchorage Presbyterian who have been involvd in Living wateres for the World projects in Guatemala.

Sunday was another big day, with the inaugural Spanish-language Sunday school class of the school year, led by Carlos. The topic starting out is the Old Testament book of Joshua, using a Spanish-language Presbyterian Women study guide: Class is in a mix of Spanish and English.

Also on Sunday, after class and during and after worship, Crescent Hill folks reached out to others in the congregatoin and asked them to become involved in the joint English as a foreign language education ministry. Gayle gave a Minute for Mission about her experiences and the need for folks to help teach, prepare food, and work with children.

Andrea made a great poster.

Ana helped staff the poster and half a dozen people signed up.

Later Sunday afternoon some half a dozen Crescent Hill folks plus helped Martha, who had been long involved in Guatemala mission, pack up her moving truck, as she headed back to Nashville to spend time with family members.

Martha's Original Highlands house is stil on the market.

Monday was evening of the fall term at the joint James Lees-Covenant Community-Crescent Hill EFL education ministry. Crescent Hill had a decent turnout, including two new folks - Rob and Judy - both helping with teaching, Ana in her first night as children's activities coordinator, and Jane agreeing to close up some nights. Eva, Soni, Gayle, and Izzy were there as veteran teachers and teachers' assistants.

With the ad in the Spanish-language paper a week ago, student turnout was light. But there were enough students to break out into the usual beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes. And the food - provided by James Lees - was good and ready on time, and included rice.

-- Perry