The building is warm though the roads are a bit wintry. Join us this morning at 9:00 for Bible Study. (We’re looking at two healing stories in the gospel of John.) Then, join us for worship at 10:30. We will Skype with Maggie Sebastian who will share observations and answer our questions about her ongoing month-long trip to Guatemala.
As much as we’d like you to join us this morning, if you do not feel safe walking or driving to the church, please stay safe at home. Your safety is more important than your presence today.
Lord, help me to always respect others. Their lives are different than mine, not necessarily worse. Grant me ears to listen, eyes to see, and a heart of compassion.
Read the experiences that prompted this prayer at http://www.revmother.org/2014/02/the-artist-maria.html
Writes Maggie today,
“I witnessed such poverty. Not in a neighborhood or particular area as I am used to seeing. Everywhere. Poverty. Houses made with corrugated tin, scraps of wood, concrete blocks or some sort of combination. Dogs roamed, bones poking through their mangy coats. Cows grazing on any spot of grassiness, some healthy, some severely underfed.”
Maggie Sebastian, a member of Condon UCC, continues to write about her experiences in Guatemala. She is currently in an immersion language program at a school in Xela (Quetzaltenango). Later this month she will join the Providence Hospital Surgical Mission Team as their chaplain. Read the rest of her offering here.
Our own Maggie continues to write about her experiences in Guatemala. She is currently in an immersion language program at a school in Xela. Later this month she will join the Providence Hospital Surgical Mission Team as their chaplain. Writes Maggie,
“I confess that, standing there while our guide, a former guerrilla and resistance fighter, told the peoples’ story, I felt helpless and embarrassed. American and Canadian companies are the primary villains in this story. And Totonicapán is not the only department suffering. While fighting these huge conglomerates is going to take more than I am able to give at this moment, I will find a path. In the meantime, I purchased two small items in support and solidarity. Now I need to ponder what would Jesus do?” Read her entire piece here.
Maggie arrived in Xela (also known as Quetzaltenango) yesterday afternoon. She settled in with her “middle class” host family. She has a spartan room by American standards. The whole family gathered around the kitchen table to meet her upon her arrival.
Condon United Church of Christ warmly invites the community to its 10:30 a.m. service on January 26 where Rev. Maggie Sebastian will be preaching about her upcoming mission trip to Guatemala. Sebastian, who works as a Clinical Chaplain, at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, will be the chaplain for a surgical mission trip to Hospital Hilario Galindo in Retalhuelu, Guatemala February 28-March 8 this year.
“I am very excited by this opportunity. I feel lucky to work for a faith-based organization that encourages and supports its employees to participate in events such as this trip,” said Sebastian. “The mission of Providence is to ‘reveal God’s love to all, especially the poor and vulnerable through compassionate service.’ We strive to do that on a daily basis, and will get to do that on a global scale through this trip.”
The trip is organized by Providence Health International working with their partner in Guatemala, Faith in Practice. The team will consist of about 30 Providence employees including surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, pharmacists, translators, chaplain, and support personnel. Working with staff at Hilario Galindo, the team will perform about 50-60 general surgeries in five days.
Rev. Sebastian, who is the wife of Condon UCC’s pastor, Rev. Tim Graves, has worked for Providence for about two years. Prior to the surgical mission trip, she will be in
Guatemala for about three weeks at Spanish language school to improve her language skills for the trip as well as her ministry in Hood River.
For more information, contact the church at 541-384- 3681. To find out more about Providence Health International or Faith in Practice, please follow the links at the Condon UCC website www.condonucc.org.
Pastor Tim Graves is eating differently this week. He’s eating on the equivalent of the food stamp benefit. He wrote about the decision in the November newsletter following the cut in SNAP benefits that went into effect on November 1. (Read “Opening Our Hearts to the Hungry.“) He is also blogging about the experience on his personal blog.
For information about the ramifications of the food cut on rural communities, listen to Food Stamp Cuts Leave Rural Areas, And Their Grocers, Reeling. For information about the cuts, read Slashing the Food Stamp Program.
Recent posts about the experience:
Opening Our Hearts to the Hungry, Condon United Church of Christ website
SNAP Challenge, um, Maybe Not Today 11-19-13
SNAP: Getting Serious, Getting Anxious 11-20-13
SNAP: The Veggie-Noodle Balance 11-21-13