Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.
by Elodie de Bethmann
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-worker Amanda Craft spoke on Friday, June 15 at Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn. Amanda has been serving in Guatemala with the IENGP (the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala) since 2009. Amanda’s ministry focuses on leadership development and Christian education. She helps empower women in Guatemala to address issues that are important to them, such as Christian education and service, theological education, and the World Day of Prayer. Their three main projects consist of preventing malnutrition, basic literacy training, and the national worker program.
Amanda is back in the United States to itinerate and interpret her work. The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations organized her visit to the New York City area. Mark Koenig, Sophie Beal, and Elodie de Bethmann joined the members and friends of Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church to hear her presentation.
Amanda described the country’s rich culture, particularly in regards to the diversity of spoken languages. There is also a variety of religions practiced in the country; while most Guatemalans identify themselves as Charismatics or Pentecostals despite their denominational affiliation, 48% are Catholics, 34% are Protestant/Evangelical, and 15% are unaffiliated. Disparity in income among citizens, poverty, and education remain important issues. In fact, 56% of the people in Guatemala are living below the poverty line, only 11% finish high school and only 3% complete university. While Guatemala is one of the most industrialized and populated countries in Central America, it is behind, compared to other countries, in overcoming these problems. The primary export of Guatemala is often identified as “our people” as Guatemalans go to other countries, including the United States to work. The people who leave to work send money to their families and intend to return to Guatemala. The deep faith of the women with whom she works inspires Amanda and and shines through her presentation.
We thank Amanda and everyone at Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church for such a wonderful and inspiring day—and the great lunch they provided us!