Since 1996, Emanuel has had a partner relationship with a small, struggling Lutheran church in a marginal community, (El Mirador), just outside Guatemala City. El Divino Salvador del Mundo is part of the growing Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala, which has established churches in and around Guatemala City as well as in several far outlying regions of the country. They are led by a team of leaders consisting of Pastor Horacio Castillo, Ordained Deacons Esther Castillo, Stephen Deal (our American lay missionary connection there), and a dozen or more from the communities themselves. The ELCA/USA is becoming supportive of the efforts to educate, in terms of theology and community leadership, the people there.
Three delegations from Emanuel have visited El Mirador, as well as several of the other congregations, in 1997, 1999, and most recently, in July 2000. Our brothers and sisters in Guatemala ask of us, more than anything else, that we walk in solidarity with them as they work to improve their lives. Amidst the political and economic and religious realities of their small country, (and especially given the United States’ shameful history as regards the area), a peaceful, supportive international presence is helpful in many ways.
"If you have come to help me you can go home again.
But if you see my struggles as a part of your own
survival, then perhaps we can work together."
-Lila Watson, an aboriginal woman from Australia