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.

Our church's delegation stayed in the very simple homes of their Guatemalan host families, shared in daily Bible Study with them, and experienced first-hand their environment, work, their hopes, resilience, and joy.

The gift shared by our delegation with the people of UPAVIM was not funds, but friendship. As they labor to create a place of beauty and possibility in the midst of a place of lack and emptiness, they long to know that other people of faith, in other parts of the world, are aware of them, praying for them, and sharing in their hopes. We will have opportunities in the coming weeks to hear more about the experience of our delegation to Guatemala. And though I wasn’t part of the delegation, when I rose from that table after hearing their stories, those far-away people felt a little bit like new friends I wanted to get to know.

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