I spent about the first half of sabbatical in Guatemala attending language school plus learning about Guatemala’s history and culture. I lived with a family in Guatemala City and attended class four hours a day, five days a week at CASAS. CASAS is Central America Study and Service, a program of Semilla, the Anabaptist seminary for Latin America. I was invited to preach at Casa Horeb, one of the eight Mennonite churches in Guatemala City, and extended greetings to them on behalf of IN-MI Conference and the Walnut Hill congregation. The last five days in Guatemala I traveled with an MCC group – which included my wife – learning about Mennonite Central Committee’s work in El Salvador and Guatemala.
This first half of sabbatical connects for me with the Revelation 7:9 picture of peoples from all nations gathered around the throne of God, and the conviction that God is calling IN-MI to be a multi-cultural conference. This was an intense time for me, learning the history of oppression and war, and now the challenge of creating a better future for all Guatemalans. It also gave me some different perspectives for thinking about our own issues here in the U.S. and how we create a better future for everyone.