On Sunday evening, April 23rd, almost 200 people gathered together for the 4th Annual Guatemala Gala. It was a lovely evening outside, so warm that many sat out on the patio as their spouses bid on fabulous items donated for the silent auction. It was also a lovely evening inside, where we enjoyed a delicious Guatemalan buffet, made from recipes by Chef Amalia Moreno-Damgaard. An emotional program entitled, "Education for All," a rousing live auction, and enthusiastic bidding for the Fund-a-Need ended the evening.
The program held two highlights for me: the story of educational opportunities that the Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala is providing now and those it hopes to expand; and the candles....
Pastor Karen Castillo, president of the ILAG, wanted to express how much the work and support from the U.S. means to the ILAG. She stood on the stage and lit a candle. She described how one single candle does not give off much light by itself. Then she lit the candles of representatives from each of the partnered churches, who then went around to light the votive candles held by the guests. The staff dimmed the lights in the hall, and little by little, the light coming from the candles filled the room. To make it more meaningful, each votive candle was wrapped with the name and age of a student who is receiving an education provided by the ILAG. Pastor Karen asked us to hold that candle, read the name, and pray for that child, that teenager, or that adult. Guests were encouraged to take the candle home and to continue praying for that person.
Just as many small lights together made a greater light, many small gifts together make for a greater gift. Our offerings that night, combined with gifts still coming in, are just over $47,000. We are close to hitting $50,000, and I would love to reach that mark. If you would like to help support education for children, for rural teens and adults, for women hoping to attend the Women's Education Center, for theological education for pastors and lay leaders, then know that you can still participate. Send your gift to:
Saint Paul Area Synod, attn. Greg Triplett
105 W. University Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55103
Thank you to everyone who made the night so beautiful, so filled with light.
Janet Metcalfe, Chair
Guatemala Companion Synod Task Force