An Update from our Delegation in Guatemala by Bonnie M. Orth

MAM photo Man fishing for his family’s dinner on Lake Atitlan.

A delegation from the Presbytery is currently working with our partners at the Mam Presbytery in Guatemala to renew our partnership.  The Albany Presbytery has had a partnership with the Mam Presbytery here in Guatemala for many years now. 

Jerry McKinney, Donna Elia, Kathy Gorman-Coombs and I are here to attend the Mam Presbytery meeting which only happens two times per year and to sign a new partnership agreement. We will also meet with the Presbyterian (WomenzGroup) and the District (youth).  Kathy and Donna and I also added a week of language school and I will stay on to plan and prepare for a large group, 31 people that I am bring here in February.

As we prepare for our meeting with the Mam Presbytery, Presbyteriale and Distrito, Kathy, Donna and I are spending a week in San Pedro al Laguna in Spanish school.  We are doing immersion and staying with families.  My family is wonderful!  Letty and Luis have had three children.  They lost a little girl to heart problems.  They have a fifteen-year-old girl who goes to school in Xela and hopes to be a pediatrician and a son, Luis, Jr. who is six years old.  I should have had Luis Jr. as my teacher.  He talks to me a mile a minute and corrects my Spanish all the time.  They have a lovely home with an amazing view of the lake.

San Pedro al Laguna is on Lake Atitlan, which is one of my most favorite places in the world.  Although I come to Guatemala quite often, I do not get to Lake Atitlan as much as I would like.  Sitting by this lake feeds my soul and my soul is soaring this week.  As I type this, I am watching a man standing and paddling his boat as he checks his fishing nets for dinner. The view here must be experienced as well as the drive to get here.  Hard to describe but let’s just say it is not for the faint at heart!

We have also been blessed to spend this time with Sandi Thompson Royer and her husband, Brian. They are mission co-workers with PCUSA and will accompany us to our meeting along with our other partner, CEDEPCA.

For many people here, today is the first day back to work or school after one or two month’s holiday.  My host Luis has just returned to teaching in San Pedro.

I understand that winter has finally arrived in upstate New York, so I hesitate to mention that I am sitting in a sleeveless top.  Later today we will take a boat to the village of San Juan with Sandi and Brian to visit a friend.

Bonnie OrthBonnie Orth serves as pastor at the Mayfield Central Presbyterian Church, in Mayfield, New York and as Pastoral Care Coordinator of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home in Gloversville.  She is on the Board of Directors of PHEWA (Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association and serves on the leadership team of PADVN (Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network) as well as the Board of Directors of CEDEPCA , an international nonprofit organization located in Guatemala City, Guatemala, that offers educational programs that allow people to improve their lives and change their communities.  CEDEPCA offers programs throughout Central America. has training in clergy misconduct, ethics, elder abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault and violence. The Rev. Orth has training in clergy misconduct, ethics, elder abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault and violence.  She lives with her husband, Jay, and children Evan and Olivia and her dog Molly.