Eleven international peacemakers from different countries around the world will visit congregations and presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from Sept. 23-Oct. 18.
They will share their stories about church-based ministries in their countries that seek peace justice and pursue peace in the name of Jesus Christ. This year’s international peacemakers come from Bangladesh, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Madagascar, Mexico, Russia and Sudan.
Juana Herlinda Yac Salanic is from the western highlands of Guatemala, where she has held many leadership positions in her presbytery’s women’s group ― Presbiterial de Maya Quiche ― of the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala. She is currently recording secretary for the denomination’s Presbyterian Women.
Salanic will be visiting presbyteries and congregations in North Carolina, Kansas, Missouri and Virginia.
She spoke with PNS through her translator, PC(USA) mission worker Karla Ann Koll.
Q: What is the situation in your country that you will be addressing?
“I will be talking mainly about health care, access to health care and growing malnutrition and the need for our government to take action. We want to see changes but we know it won’t be quick. Our goal is healthy citizens.”
Q: How are the faith communities addressing this situation?
“Unfortunately, the church isn’t doing anything, but the group of women who have created the Women’s Rural Health Committee (which has been named “Esther”) are all from churches and are pressing both local officials and churches to get involved. Most churches don’t think this is church work.”
Q: What lessons from your situation are you trying to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?
“Part of what I’ve learned is that you have to have a lot of love for God, which includes loving your neighbor. That love moves me to give of myself, and when I give of myself I know I have peace.”
Q: What is the primary message you want to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?
“If they love their neighbors with the love of Christ and sacrifice themselves for their neighbors, they can have the peace Christ taught us.”