Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On March 8th, when we were celebrating International Women's Day, a tragedy occurred in Guatemala
. In Guatemala City there is a home for children with serious family problems: children who are physically, psychologically and sexually abused, removed from their dysfunctional homes and sent legally by a judge to this so-called "safe home". The problem gets even worse there, because young gang members, both male and female, are sent to the same place, all of them adolescents in trouble with the law. Mixing these two very different factors makes the home an even bigger nightmare than the life they previously lived.
This situation led to a demonstration inside the home, and teenage girls who lived in this establishment set fire to the facilities, burning 23 girls to death on that day, 17 others dying later in hospitals, and with many others still in serious condition.
This causes us to reflect that in our country, as in many countries, family violence, specifically, the sexual violence of parents towards their daughters, takes more victims.
This happened on March 8th, International Women's Day. I think this is a call to one's conscience that we have to continue working to give girls and young women the opportunity to have a better life, a hope to have a decent life.
Today we are more certain than ever that God's mission in Guatemala is to continue giving educational opportunities, to open the women's center, to give opportunity to those who do not have it, to guide young men and young women, and to forge responsible future generations which are conscientious and sensitive. This has been and remains our Christian duty.
In carrying out this ministry we know that the loss of these girls' lives was not in vain. We are going to honor the memory of every girl, teenager, woman who has suffered in the world, taking action, raising our voices, supporting girls and teenagers who need it. I think this will be an awakening.
We appreciate your solidarity, your prayers, and your accompaniment in this work that does not end, work that has a purpose so that situations like this do not continue to occur in our country and in many other countries.
The Rev. Karen Castillo Echeverria, President
Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala