Recent Blogs

'Even if I could afford nutritious food...'

'Even if I could afford nutritious food, I only know how to cook corn, rice and potatoes

From the High Andean Lake Titicaca region of western Bolivia and southern Peru: ¡Kamasaki! Aymara, the local indigenous language, for hello, how are you.

We survived the Andean winter (here, that’s June through August). We are fully settled into our home, and we’re ready for volunteers and mission teams. As site hosts and coordinators of the Lake Titicaca Border Mission, the people here need your help … This is the poorest region in Bolivia, which is the poorest nation in South America. Most indigenous people here survive on less than $2 a day, growing corn and potatoes. A few can afford to buy rice and pasta -- more carbs. But virtually no one can afford an adequate balance of fruit, vegetables and protein. In Manko Kapac, about a 30-minute walk from our home, a woman in her mid-20’s told us, “Even if I could afford (vegetables and protein), I only know how to cook corn, rice, and potatoes.”

Sermon: "What's going on and where do we fit in"

Remember sensitivity training. Every word and gesture had to be in the right now. Popular in the 70s

You couldn’t say, “What are you planning to do after supper?” or “Are you going home for Thanksgiving?” These were all forms of avoiding the moment in front of you. It was terrifying, because all the ways we’d each learned to manipulate interactions and take conversations onto our safe territory were stripped away, and we had to be honest and truthful not about our past but about what was going on right this minute, right now, not just in our own minds, but in the room.

The gift of friendship

UPAVIM delegationIt was on a Saturday morning in mid-July, and we gathered around tables to share in a delightful breakfast and to welcome back the nine people from our church who had just returned from Guatemala.

Their lives had been changed, they said, by getting to know their hosts there – women of the UPAVIM co-operative who have managed to create a place of economic opportunity, community service and education in La Esperanza, a place where the very poor end up on the outskirts of Guatemala City.

Notes from a Sunday afternoon

What a delight it was to walk home from church last Sunday and step into the parsonage’s backyard, filled with about 40 wonderful people – member of the Administrative Council who were sharing in a great meal (thank you, Chefs!) before engaging in a planning time for the 2011-12 year.

Chontolá and Chichicastenango

Weaving at Ruth & NaomiIt doesn't seem possible that our time in Guatemala is nearly over. We have just returned to the Sister Parish center in the heart of Guatemala City after a couple of days on the road. Marta Roja, one of the UPAVIMas, drove us through stunning scenery to Chichicastenango, a famous market town in the Quiché region, about 90 miles northwest of the capital. This is one of the centers of Mayan culture in Guatemala, so the visit gave us a chance to witness the resilience of the indigenous people in spite of the attempts to wipe it out during the civil war. Ellen, our Sister Parish coordinator, introduced us to Pastor Diego, who described how he established the Ruth and Naomi cooperative to help women devastated by the conflict to support themselves. We were taken to meet some of those women, who live on steep hillsides close to the small village of Chontolá, and whose houses could only be reached by narrow footpaths through fruit orchards and corn fields. After days amidst the diesel fumes of a crowded city, this simple walk with breathtaking views across cloud-capped mountains, was truly restorative. Once there, they showed us age-old hand-weaving skills used to produce a range of colorful crafts with designs typical of the region. Since they mostly only speak their native Quiché language, Ellen and Diego combined to provide two-stage translations of their inspiring story.

Guatemala Weekend

IMG_1638Friday morning we woke up early and prepared for our trip to UPAVIM. The ride through downtown Guatemala City and into the outskirts of town (Zone 12) was scenic, and our tightly packed bus enjoyed the trip. When we arrived at UPAVIM, we were warmly welcomed by the UPAVIM women. We were then given a tour of the facility where we saw the school, the bakery, the library, and the arts and crafts work area. We had a huge lunch (that was quite delicious!) and then we were introduced to our host families. We all slept well and early on Friday night, and each had our own stories to share of the experiences we had at the houses. Almost all of the host families have children and large families, which makes evenings enjoyable and fun.

Guatemala: Day 2

Hola! Today was day two of our Guatemala mission, and we were exposed to a closer look at Guatemalan history and scenery. We started off the day with a representative from NISGUA (Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala), which is an organization that works for justice in Guatemala. Carrie came to the Sister Parish Center to help provide the DGFUMC delegation a better understanding of the history of Guatemala and the involvement that the United States had in the Guatemalan civil war. We learned that, in order to understand the present, a knowledge of the past is necessary. 

Buenas Tardes de Guatemala

Houston stopoverThe 2011 DGFUMC delegation to our sisters in UPAVIM has arrived in Guatemala City. After an early morning flight from Chicago and a brief stopover in Houston, we landed safely in Guatemala City (with all our luggage) just after 1pm. We were greeted by a number of UPAVIMAs, including several who visited Downers Grove in 2009, waiting patiently outside with the Sister Parish coordinator, Ellen Moore. The value of our hermanamiento was once again demonstrated by the warmth of their welcome, whether renewing past friendships or meeting new faces. This is a relationship that is enriching both communities, and we are excited that it is being refreshed once again.

Thank you for all your prayers and good wishes. We will try to post messages whenever we have access to the internet. You can follow our progress on the Guatemala blog.

Nuevo Año 5519

Hola and Felice Ano Nuevo!


Hello and Happy New Year from Bolivia!


Tuesday, June 21, we and many thousands of Aymara celebrated the Winter Solstice here, which also marks the start of a New Year for the Aymara – it’s the year 5,519.


DeLong Trial Results Send a New, Joyous Message to GLBTs

Pentecost happened again at Kaukauna, Wisconsin on June 24 at the trial of Rev. Amy DeLong. Amy, her trial team and supportive witnesses, gathered from many states, felt the loving wind of the Spirit as the trial court (jury) found Amy innocent of the charge of being a self-avowed, practicing homosexual by a vote of 12 to 1.


Subscribe to RSS - blogs

Copyright © 2018 First United Methodist Church, Downers Grove. Please report any problems to