Buenas Tardes Subscribers! Check out my response to the questions sent to me from YASC for the Church Bulletin highlighting Missionaries in the Episcopal Church.
What does a normal day look like for you at your placement?
Right now my days are as diverse as Guatemala City. I might be researching from my laptop in Zone 4 or meeting with a large NGO in Zone 10 in the morning, then I might meet with the Youth Ministry Committee in Zone 8, and then possibly go across town to meet with a Priest in Zone 6 or Villa Nueva. Place is important because my days are largely dictated by the environment I need to be in, or "Las Zonas." Zone 4 and 10 are the safest zones; streets are lined with private security and cafes. In Zone 8, my movement is as swift to the gates as the red “camionetas" that race down Avenida La Castellana. In Zone 6 or Villa Nueva, I need to take extra precautions because they are Mara strongholds. My days never feel normal because Guatemala City is a city of chaos, beauty, danger, traffic, Walmarts; a place where Indigenous, Mestizo, and American culture meet, mix and collide. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the energy of the city and the challenges it presents because every moment of change or transition has become an opportunity to learn and grow.
Why did you choose to serve as a YASCer?
Before applying to YASC, I was doing everything I “should” be doing. I had a great job at a youth-focused mental health charity, I was volunteering with various charities, had a beautiful apartment in Edinburgh, and a cute ginger cat. Although I felt like I was doing all the “right” things, I felt like I wasn’t in the right place. There seemed to be a magnetic field pushing me somewhere else and I could no longer hush that inner voice telling me to go, even if I wanted to because staying would have been easier. My hero, Friar Gregory Boyle writes in Tattoos on the Heart (which has also left an imprint on my heart), “the strategy of Jesus is not centered in taking the right stand on issues, but rather in standing in the right place—with the outcast and those relegated to the margins.” I applied for YASC because I knew I needed to stand on the margins, I needed to grow in a new and unpredictable direction, and I needed to have faith that the voice was God moving me closer to where I needed to be. God did good.
How can we pray for you and the people you work with?
Guatemalans are facing a lot of unknowns with the shut down of the anti-corruption committee, the possible cut off of development aid from the United States if the Safe Third Country Agreement isn't signed, experiencing an influx of migration from the Northern Triangle, and exponential numbers of people fleeing. There is uncertainty if there will be democracy or impunity, there is uncertainty if there will be enough resources, and there is the uncertainty of how this will affect the rights and opportunities of young people. Please pray for strength to stand up against injustice, resilience to grow through change, and understanding to respond with kindness. Please pray for the Diocese as we strive for human rights where there is a great need for reconciliation, for the youth as they decide what next where there is limited mobility, and for me to be in solidarity to the best of my ability.
A photo of you in your placement