This morning, I woke up in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Central American paradise of Guatemala. Our team, led by Cheryl Rowan and including Dana Rowan, Dave Walis, Anne Amis, Dennis cook and myself, arrived yesterday after a short, two and a half hour flight from Houston. We were greeted with hugs (and kisses) by our hosts Emerson and Susanna from CEDEPCA, the Protestant Center for Pastor Studies in Central America. It is impossible to enter the Guatemalan culture without immediately feeling an outpouring of warmth and hospitality.
The afternoon (as chronicled on our KCC Facebook page) was filled with engaging conversations and ended in a tour of the CEDEPCA campus and an introduction to Guatemalan history by Rev. Dr. Hector Castaneda. CEDEPCA is an organization that feels called of God to bring transformation to the stagnant Guatemalan culture through four distinct programs. The Intercultural Encounters program welcomes groups like ours from the USA and Canada, and ushers them into transformational experiences of encounter, reflection, dialogue and mutual service. The Disaster Relief program is a first responder of hands on aid when extreme events like hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes or tropical storms occur. The Woman’s Ministry program seeks to empower women through education and theological experiences grounded in feminist studies. Finally, the seminary is committed to transforming lives through educating a new generation of pastors to thoughtfully interpret the Scriptures and discern theologically what it is to be a follower of Jesus in this moment in history. The seminary is the definition of diversity training 183 students from over 15 denominations and boasting a 48% male to 52% female student ratio. That is simply unheard of in Latin America.
In the coming days, we plan to visit more with the staff and faculty of CEDEPCA as well as travel to some of the ministry centers in the surrounding areas. God is doing some amazing things in and through our wonderful group. Don’t miss our daily updates and pictures on the KCC Facebook page. Please continue to pray for our group as we travel and explore this beautiful country and return to Houston on Wednesday, June 27.