Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall EFL planning

A dozen James Lees, Covenant Community, and Crescent Hill folks gathered Wednesday to plan the next term of English as a foreign language classes. The group agreed that the term should run from Monday, October 3, through Monday, November 21 (the Monday before Thanksgiving), accepted Sky (or Schuyler) Olt (Crescent Hill’s new seminary intern and an EFL old hand, pictured below) as a site coordinator, and agreed that we should ask Emiliano if he would serve as child care coordinator (with some compensation).

The lack of availability of a couple of teachers during September, plus the suggestion that terms not run too long, shifted the group towards the early October start date, even though this will mean Phil (pictured above), who facilitated the meeting, will need to tell some students involved in the Spanish-language ministry that September 12 will not be the start date. It’s possible that classes will not take place on Monday, October 31, which is Halloween. The group confirmed the 6:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. meal and 7-8 p.m. class schedule and the arrangement that class would only be canceled due to weather, etc. if JCPS classes were canceled.

Sky suggested that CHPC pitch in a Minute for Mission children’s activities leadership possibilities.

The three congregations involved split the meals along the following schedule: Week 1 (October 5-7): James Lees; Week 2 (October 10-12): CHPC; Week 3 (October 17-19): CCC; Week 4 (October 24-26): James Lees; Week 5 (October 31-November 2): CHPC; Week 6 (November 7-9): CCC; Week 7 (November 14-16): CHPC; Week 8 (November 21): James Lees (?). The congregations would be able to call on each other for help with meal preparation, set-up, and clean-up as needed.

Teaching assignments would stay more or less the same, which possibly a teacher or two recruited or brought back.

Prayers were requested for Rob Fohr, a fall/winter-term beginning class teacher who was hospitalized for several weeks, and also for Pastor Jane, who missed the gathering that she helped call to be at a family funeral out of state.

Phil also explained the transformation process at 1741 Frankfort Avenue, as it turns into a cooperative with a new name, new functions, a new look, perhaps new funds, and some new physical space (including possibly kitchen renovation). He said that EFL and Alcoholics Anonymous were deal breakers – in that he insisted those two programs get to maintain space. He said there might be opportunities for EFL teachers, students, et al. to be involved (physically or even financially) in some renovation/transformation, and invited folks to stop by during the next Fat Friday Trolley Hop event there, on Friday, September 30.

A group of teachers and teachers’ assistants agreed to meet at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21, at Stephanie’s Fairmont Elementary School (at 1725 Abbie Dell Avenue) off of Charlestown Road in New Albany (IN) (over either the 2nd Street or Sherman Minton bridge) to share educational materials/curricula and ideas and take a peek at some of Stephanie’s EFL materials/equipment (including a smarr board – on the EFL wish list!). All are welcome, and detailed directions will follow.

-- Perry

September prayers

This month Crescent Hill church will pray with and for our Guatemalan partners:

- On Sunday, September 4, and during the week thereafter: Peniel church in Boqueron, Pastor Pablo Sacul, and members, deacons, and elders.

-On Sunday, September 11, and during the week thereafter: Familia de Noe church in El Estor’s Sinai neighborhood, Pastor Benjamin Sacul and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

- On Sunday, September 18, and the week thereafter: Lirio de los Valles church in El Estor’s San Jorge neighborhood, Pastor Mario Xo Ical and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

- On Sunday, October 25, and the week thereafter: Puerto del Cielo church in the El Estor suburb of La Union.

- On Sunday, October 1, and the week thereafter: Jesus Es la Puerta church in the El Estor suburb of El Chupon.

September gathering

Join us at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 7, at Heine Brothers on Chenoweth Lane, for an important discussion about Crescent Hill’s partnership with the Q’eqchi’ Estoreño Izabal Presbytery in Guatemala, including the possible Kentuckiana visit by Estoreño representatives later this fall. Contact Perry at 384-4339 for more information.

Possible visit news

Skype messages from Amanda Craft (pictured above with a Guatemalan associate) and a phone conversation between Carlos and Pastor Gerardo have confirmed that photographs fitting U.S. State Department visa specifications have been taken of the five Estoreño Presbytery representatives who hope to visit Kentuckiana, possibly this fall. Time is running short for the original October 7-15 visit we imagined. But Amanda has advised us to remain patient, not yet throwing in the towel on those dates but also not yet buying airline tickets for the five for those dates. She is working on setting up appointments up visa application appointments for the five. Pray for wisdom, energy, and patience for Amanda; for Gerardo, Macaria, Maria, Ramiro, and Raul; for U.S. officials; and for all of us as we continue this process.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guatemalan women

Women in eastern Guatemala face everyday fear and injustice that constitute forms of violence that are NOT directly related to the widespread political violence, drug trade and gang-related violence, and killing of women in Guatemala.

This was the argument of Arizona State University’s Cecilia Menjivar (pictured above), who made a presentation at this weekend’s American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. Guatemalans generally accept these forms of violence – they are “normalized.”

Professor Menjivar gave three examples of these forms of violence:
-A women tried to give birth to her third child in secret, because she was afraid her alcoholic husband would leave her if she gave birth to a third girl. The woman was relieved when the baby turned out be a boy.
-A woman described it as “torture” when she had no beans to feed her children.
-Women with semi-professional jobs reported how their husbands – sometimes cooperating with other family members – sharply regulated their ability to go out – timing their trips between work and home and forbidding them from spending the night at their parents’ house – ostensibly to protect their wives’ – and their families’ – reputations. This points – at least potentially – to the power of gossip as a means of keeping an eye on women and restricting their movement.

Menjivar studied Ladina women in an eastern Guatemalan town she did not name for five years. The results were included in a book published this past spring: Enduring Violence: Ladina Women’s Lives in Guatemala (pictured below. More information is available at:

- Perry

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mid-August news

Ellen shared with us news from Guatemala this week. Guatemala’s center-left political party, which won the presidency partly with votes from rural areas like Izabal, lost its presidential candidate for the fall election when Sandra Torres, recently divorced from the current president, was ruled ineligible to run. The 1990s Guatemalan constitution bans family members from succeeding as president and the court said that Torres – who blatantly got divorced from President Colom so she could run for president – was married to Colom for most of his term, and so it didn’t matter that they just got divorced. This virtually insures that the party of the right will win the presidential election. (Torres is pictured above on a banner carried last week by disappointed supporters.)

Already, Pastor Gerardo, in a rare mention of national politics, had indicated that the mission church in western El Estor, at El Chupon, that his church helped start, will lose its land, apparently if the party of the right wins the election. Late last week , the Guatemalan paper that Ellen reads reported – indirectly – that the beneficiary of such a land confiscation when not be a Canadian company, but instead a Middle Eastern company, which has just bought the Lake Izabal mining operation (pictured below).

The media has also reported other harrowing long-term news: the growing power of a Mexican drug cartel in Guatemala, including in Guatemalan politics (linked with rampant violence in Guatemala, including the recent killing of a famed Argentine singer); and the one-two punch of global recession and rising commodity (including food and energy) prices in Guatemala (as elsewhere) (coupled at times with bad weather).


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Good work!

The original fund-raising goal for the August 6-7 yard sale was $3,000. And, with a couple of extra hundred dollars in items sold after worship Sunday and a couple of hundred in donations (including one from an anonymous donor to put us over the top), we made it! Thanks be to God and to several dozen Crescent Hill folks who donated items and volunteered (and especially to Soni and the anonymous donor and Ana who devoted much of her final pre-college weekend in Louisville to the sale, among many others who made big contributions).

Next on the burner: trying to help our partners nail down visa photos and visa application appointments, and trying to consolidate enthusiasm about the yard sale into enthusiasm about the trip (plus connecting again with some of the many non-church folks who were on hand for the final Wednesday deacons’ dinner or the yard sale).

Good work, everyone!

- Perry

El Estor e-mail translated (into English)


Pastor Gerardo send to brother Carlos on the phone Friday that the five people who are going to travel to the United States need more information for their application for U.S. visas. He also said that they would like to know more about the trip. The name of our church in English is Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church. In Spanish: Iglesia Presbiteriana Crescent Hill. The address of the building of our church is: 142 Crescent Avenue (in Spanish: 142 Avenida Crescent), in Louisville, Kentucky. The zip code is 40206 (in the United States). The telephone number is (502) 893-5381.

The pastor of the church is Pastor Jane (in Spanish: Juana) Larsen-Wigger). (The five people know Pastor Jane from our visits to El Estor and Coban.) Crescent Hill is a neighborhood in east Louisville, in the state of Kentucky. It is possible to communicate with the church by e-mail at:

This summer we are busy communicating with you all about the trip and working together to make money for the trip. On August 6 we are going to have a sale in the church to make money for the trip. Because of this, we d not have an itinerary now. But we are talking about the trip.

The five people are going to arrive in the Louisville airport on Friday night. It is possible that on Saturday the five people are going to go with a group from our church to a farm in Indiana (to pick pumpkins). It is possible that on Saturday night the five people are going to go to another Presbyterian church where people from our church and other people have a worship service and meal or Bible study in Spanish.

It is possible that on Sunday the five people are going to participate in a worship service at our church. We hope that one or two people from the five is going to preach at the service. A short message would be fine. After worship it is possible that we going to have lunch at church and many of the five people are going to talk with a group about their ministries in Guatemala and their life in Guatemala.

During the week it is possible that the five people are going to visit with Maria Arroyo and Hunter Farrell, people from our church who are leaders in the national church (the PCI(USA)) at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville and participate in a small worship service at the Center. It is also possible that during the week that five people are going to visit other people in Louisville: leaders of the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery in their offices, professors and students at Louisville Presbyterian seminary, and leaders in a theater company with people who work in Louisville and Guatemala. It is also possible that the five people are going to have dinner with students and teachers of the English classes that we have for people who do not speak English but would like to speak English (and participate in a class also?).

It is possible that the five people are going during the day to visit a very large and very old cave that is one and half hours more or less from Louisville. It is also possible that the five people are going to visit in Louisville a famous racetrack where horses compete in the spring and fall.

During the week that the five people are going to be in Louisville it is possible that each person is going to stay with a family from our church in their house or apartment. It is possible that the five people are going to eat some meals together in the homes of other families in the church. It is possible that other times one or two of the five people are going to dine with different families. It is also possible that they are going to have some meals in restaurants or at the homes of families from other churches.

I believe that it is also going to be important for the five people to have enough time to sleep and relax.

I hope that you all are going to communicate your ideas about the trip, including responses to our ideas.

It’s been hot in the United States in July. This past Wednesday the church had a festival for people in the neighborhood near our building. Many people were there and we hope that some of these people are going to return for a worship service or are going to begin a relationship with Jesus.

I understand that your country is going to have an election this fall. Best wishes with that and with your summer. Blessings for your ministries.

I hope to see some of you all soon.’

- Perry

End-of-July e-mail to EL Estor (in Spanish)


Pastor Gerardo dijo a hermano Carlos por telefono viernes que las personas cinco quienes van a viajar a los Estados Unidos necesitan mas informacion para la aplicacion para las visas. El tambien dijo que ellos quisieran conocer mas sobre la viaje. El nombre de nuestra iglesia en ingles es: Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church. In castillano: Iglesia Presbiteriana Crescent Hill. La direccion del edificio de nuestra iglesia es: 142 Crescent Avenue (en Castillano: 142 Avenida Crescent, en Louisville, Kentucky. El codigo postal es 40206 (en los Estados Unidos). El numero telefonico es 502 893-5381.

La pastora de la iglesia es Pastora Jane (en Castillano: Juana) Larsen-Wigger. (Las personas cinco conocen Pastora Juana de nuestras viajes al Estor y a Coban.) Crescent Hill es en un barrio en el este de Louisville, en el estado de Kentucky. Es posible comunicar por correa electronica con la iglesia a:

Este verano somos occupados comunicando con Ustedes sobre la viaje y trabajando juntos hacer dinero para la viaje. En 6 Agosto vamos a tener una venta a la iglesia hacer dinero para la viaje. Porque este, no tenemos un itinerario ahora. Pero somos hablando sobre la viaje.

Las personas cinco van a llegar en el aeropuerto de Louisville a la noche de viernes. Es posible que el sabado las personas cinco van a ir con el grupo de nuestra iglesia al estado de Indiana a una granja (picar calabazas). Es posible que el noche de sabado las personas cinco van a ir a una iglesia presbiteriana otra donde unas personas de nuestra iglesia y otras personas tienen un culto y una cena o una estudia Biblia en castillano.

Es posible que el domingo las personas cinco van a participar en un culto a nuestra iglesia. Esperamos que una persona de las personas cinco va a predicar al culto. Una mensaje cuarta seria buena. Despues el culto es posible vamos a tomar almuerzo a la iglesia y muchas de las personas cinco van a hablar con un grupo de la iglesia sobre sus ministerios en Guatemala y su vida en Guatemala.

Durante la semana es posible que las personas cinco van a visitar con Maria Arroyo y Hunter Farrell, personas de nuestra iglesia quienes son lideres de la iglesia nacional (PCUSA) al Centro Presbiterio en Louisville y participar en un culto pequeño al Centro. Es tambien posible que durante la semana las personas cinco van a visitar con otras personas en Louisville: lideres del presbiterio en Louisville en su oficina, profesores y estudiantes al seminario presbiteriano en Louisville, lideres de una o dos otras iglesias presbiterianas en Louisville, y lideras de un compañia de teatro con personas quienes trabajan en Louisville y en Guatemala. Es tambien posible que las personas cinco van a tomar cena con estudiantes y maestros de las clases de ingles que tenemos para personas quienes no hablan ingles pero quisieran hablar ingles (y participan en una clase tambien?).

Es posible que las personas cinco van a visitar durante un dia un cueva muy larga y muy anciana una y media horas mas o menos de Louisville. Es posible tambien que las personas cinco van a visitar en Louisville una hipodromo famoso donde caballos competir en la primavera y en otoño.

Durante la semana que las personas cinco van a estar en Louisville es posible que cada persona va a quedar con una familie de nuestra iglesia en su casa o apartamento. Es posible que las personas cinco van a tomar unas cenas juntos en casas de familias diferentes de la iglesia. Es posible que otras veces una or dos personas de las personas cinco van a tomar cenas con familias diferentes. Es posible tambien que ellos van a tomar unas cenas en un restaurante o a la casa de una familia de una iglesia otra.

Credo que va a ser importante que las personas cinco tambien tener tiempo suficiente dormir y relajarse.

Espero que Ustedes van a comunicar sus ideas sobre la viaje, incluyendo respuestas a nuestras ideas.

Tenemos calor en los Estados Unidos en Julio. El miercoles pasado la iglesia tenemos una fiesta para las personas en al barrio acerca de nuestro edificio. Muchas personas estuverion alli y esperamos que unas de estas personas van a regresar para un culto or van a encontrarse a Jesucristo.

Entiendo que su pais va a tener un eleccion nacional este otoño. Buena suerte con este y con su verano. Bendiciones para sus ministerios.

Esperamos ver unos de Ustedes pronto.


Friday, August 5, 2011

All-church yard sale

8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, August 6. Fellowship Hall. Children's toys, games, and clothes. Classroom supplies. Household decorations, furniture, and books. Proceeds go to help bring our Guatemalan partners to Kentuckiana, hopefully this fall.