Mission to Guatemala

UPAVIM Delegation in 2011

UPAVIMWhat are the lives of our neighbors like that share the same hemisphere? What do we have in common? How are we different? In an effort to understand the lives of the Guatemalan people, and they of ours, DGFUMC has sent several teams to live with members of the Unidas Para Viver Mejor (UPAVIM) Christian community in the impoverished outskirts of Guatemala City. We have also hosted two teams of women from UPAVIM in our homes in Downers Grove. UPAVIM is a cooperative association of about 88 women from marginalized areas. Some are widows, some were abandoned by their husbands, and some are dealing with alcoholism in their families. Many are sole providers of economic support for their families. They began helping themselves and their community in 1988 with a Healthy Baby program, then decided to create products to sell to generate funds. With those funds they have built a facility which houses a medical clinic with a pharmacy and laboratory, a daycare, a school from K-6th grade, a library, soy milk production, a bakery and rooms for the manufacture and shipping of their handicrafts. They are now working in a number of ways to achieve better housing, clean water, better education and health care for the thousands of people in their community.

 

We travel not to build buildings, but to build a long-term relationship. As Christians, we are charged with reaching out in understanding. In the Beatitudes we are told to put ourselves in "the other person’s shoes." Because our world is so diverse, we need greater understanding of cultural traditions, religious practices, trade, sharing resources, reducing pollution, and peaceful ways of resolving conflict. And, as Christians, we need to stand in solidarity alongside one another in the problems we face.


Letter or Prayer Sponsor for Guatemala

DGFUMC is sending eight delegates to Guatemala City from July 12 – 21 to continue to deepen our relationship with the families of UPAVIM, facilitated through Sister Parish. You can participate in this delegation by being a letter or prayer sponsor.

To be a letter sponsor, write a note of encouragement that the delegates can open each day they are on the trip. It is important for them to know they represent our church community and they carry with them your thoughts, blessings, and hopes for a safe and meaningful experience. Our delegates are Pastor Anna Voinovich, Jenny Kirkpatrick, Linda Main, Gwen Kenney-Benson, Renee and Hannah Hyzy, and Sheila and Bella Ochoa. Return notes to the church office by Tuesday, July 9 or email them to the church office at sheila@dgfumc.org and they will be printed for the delegates.

To be a prayer sponsor, commit to pray for our delegates on any of their mission days. Please also pray for the women of UPAVIM as they work to bring hope and services to the people of their impoverished neighborhood, La Esperanza. It is a wonderful opportunity to encourage their work and stand beside them as they struggle for a better life.Letter or Prayer Sponsor.

500 Years - Life in Resistance

500 Years - Life in ResistanceWe invite all church members to a screening on April 26 of 500 Years - Life in Resistance, a powerful documentary by Pamela Yates that describes the turbulent history of Guatemala from the civil war to the present day. This is a great opportunity to understand the conflict that led to the growth of new communities in Guatemala City, out of which the UPAVIM cooperative was formed. The movie will be preceded by a potluck supper and followed by a discussion led by members of the Sister Parish board, who are meeting at our church. Sister Parish is the organization that links our church to the women of UPAVIM.

The struggle for justice for the 200,000 who died during the violent conflict culminated in the first trial of a former head-of-state for genocide in 2013. General Rios-Montt was found guilty in 2013 in a major victory for the indigenous people who had been targeted by his armed forces in the early eighties, although the conviction was overturned on legal technicalities in a controversial decision by the country's constitutional court. This is an epic story that has been received with standing ovations at many film festivals around the world.

Another delegation from our church is visiting UPAVIM in Guatemala in July this year. If you are potentially interested in going, or if you just want to find out more about the background of the inspiring women of UPAVIM who have visited our church on several occasions, please come to see this movie. Please sign up below or contact the church office if you are thinking of attending.

 

Location: 
Fellowship Hall
Date: 
Friday, April 26, 2019 - 6:30pm

Host Families Needed (no Spanish required)

On April 25, 26, and 27, DGFUMC is hosting the North American Board of Directors' meeting of Sister Parish - the organization that links DGFUMC with the women of UPAVIM in Guatemala City.

We are looking for four host families to house members of the board during the meeting. There will be a married couple, two single men driving together, another single man, and a woman with a 2-year-old child requiring accommodation. Host families will provide breakfast, drive some members to and from DGFUMC for their meetings, and may choose to attend optional social events with the board and others.

If you are interested in hosting or would like more details, contact Ina Osborn at 630.308.8418 or call the church office.

Delegation to Guatemala

We are excited to announce that we plan to send a delegation from our church to visit the women of UPAVIM in Guatemala City this summer. The visit will take place from July 12 - 19. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about this trip is invited to meet this Sunday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m. in Room 213.

This is a different kind of mission trip where we offer ourselves and our friendship rather than our building skills and material wealth. During our time in Guatemala, delegates will spend a few days living in the homes of some of the women, discovering the delights of their culture and the hardships of living on the margins of society. We will witness their courage, strength, and faith in God and will be changed!

Please give prayerful consideration to the idea of joining the delegation in July. If you cannot make it to the meeting this Sunday, there will be other opportunities to learn about the mission. Talk to Pastor Anna or Ina Osborn with any questions.

Location: 
Room 213
Date: 
Sunday, March 17, 2019 - 1:30pm

Alternative Gift Fair

For the next three Sundays in December, the Alternative Gift Fair will be held in the Parlor between the services. Many of you are familiar with the beautiful crafts handmade by the women of the UPAVIM (United for a Better Life) cooperative in Guatemala. Not only do they make ideal Christmas gifts for friends and family, you will also be supporting the women of La Esperanza in Guatemala City as they work to improve the quality of life for themselves and for their families through education, employment opportunities, daycare services for their children, health care services, and programs for personal and professional development. Choose from a large selection of colorful bags, scarves, Christmas ornaments, kitchen accessories, jewelry, and this year a new range of handcarved wooden spoons and bowls.

You can also contribute to the Heifer Project by purchasing living gifts that support programs to end hunger in the world.

UPAVIM Visit

Our visitors from UPAVIM, Guatemala, will be arriving on Wednesday, November 8. There will be five women along with Brian Tyler, from Sister Parish. During their visit from Wednesday, November 8 to Thursday, November 16 they will be staying in church members' homes and we have planned a variety of activities to help them get to know our congregation and community, and to have fun. Their photos and biographies are on the notice board in the narthex along with the schedule of events, which is also posted below. Take a look and let the church office or Ina Osborn know if you'd like to participate in any of the activities.

They will be joining us for worship on Sunday, November 12, sharing treats and selling crafts in the Parlor, before joining us for Messy Church in the gym. On Wednesday, November 15, they will help prepare our special family meal and teach us how to make tortillas! If you would like to join us for Messy Church lunch at noon on Sunday or Wednesday's dinner, please call the church office and let us know so that we prepare enough food. Do come!

Fifth week at UPAVIM

This was my fifth and final week at UPAVIM. The past few days were full of good-bye hugs, photos, and food. On Monday, I had dinner with Carrie, one of the Sister Parish coordinators that I met during the delegation last year. It was great to catch up with her and tell her about my experiences at UPAVIM. On Wednesday, I had a second meeting with the consejo del hermanamiento (the UPAVIM committee in charge of the Sister Parish connection). We continued planning ways to improve communication between our two communities, including a "pen pal" email connection between youth. I hope that my presence here has helped strengthen the relationship between DGFUMC and UPAVIM. On Thursday, the women had a goodbye party for me, which was bittersweet. 

Fourth week at UPAVIM

There were lots of good things happening at UPAVIM this week! In Reforzamiento, the younger kids were working on the days of the week (in Spanish and English) and writing the letter i. They colored iglesias (churches), iguanas, and indios (Indians). Since they are still strengthening their finger muscles, writing dozens of letters can be tiring. With the older kids, I am still working on parts of speech. I asked them to choose a book and make lists of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. After several lessons, they understand most of the categories well, and it is fun to see how excited they are when they correctly identify "el dinosaurio" as a noun and "jugar" as a verb. I have really enjoyed getting to know these students, and I love when they yell "¡Hola, Seño Clara!" when they see me around the neighborhood.

Third week at UPAVIM

It has been another busy but fun week at UPAVIM. On Monday, I had a nice meeting with the women in charge of the hermanamiento (our Sister Parish connection between DGFUMC and UPAVIM). I gave them some updates about our church, including special summer activities like camp and mission trips. We also discussed ways to improve communication between DGFUMC members and the UPAVIM women. We will try to send more updates and photos via email and Facebook (I am always happy to help translate). In addition, we are going to try to set up an online "pen pal" program for the youth. I will collect the names and email addresses of the 4th - 6th graders at UPAVIM that are interested, and then I will connect them with youth from our congregation. It will be a great opportunity for them to practice English and Spanish, respectively, and to learn about each other's cultures, interests, and daily lives.

Second week at UPAVIM

Hello again from Guatemala City! It has been a busy week at UPAVIM. The big news for the clinic is that we received a delivery of much-needed medications! We purchased these medications through donations from DGFUMC, via Guatemala Connection and the MJC (missions, justice, and community) Work Area. Dr. Hector, Nurse Johana, and the directors of the clinic committee are very grateful for our church's generosity, and they are excited to see the pharmacy's shelves much more full than usual. We still have about half of the donated funds left, which we will use to buy more medications and supplies for the clinic.

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