Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday in Tegucigalpa

Post #2 Gettysburg's Central American Travel Seminar
From Honduras, by Michael Cooper-White
At the end of yesterday’s long journey, which brought us north from Nicaragua to Honduras’capital city of Tegucigalpa, second year seminarian Jason Felici led our group of pilgrims in evening devotions.  Reflecting on the ELCA Global Mission "accompaniment" approach to work in other lands, group members shared how warmly and graciously our Central American sisters and brothers have invited us to walk beside them, stay overnight in their humble homes, and join in worship services, including two outdoors, the largest--in a remote village called Carbonera teeming with children--under a giant mango tree.

Jason’s devotions and the group’s reflection echoed themes shared early in our visit by Nicaragua’s Lutheran bishop, the Rev. Dr. Victoria Cortez.  In the course of a lengthy conversation our first full day in country, the bishop talked about her church’s commitment to go where few others are willing to go.  In Central America’s poorest country, the Lutheran Church of Faith and Hope (ILFE) intentionally engages in outreach among those most denied an abundant life.  Unlike many of the Pentecostal churches that tell the poor their very poverty is God’s will, to which they should humbly resign themselves, ILFE proclaims the biblical message that God desires an abundant life for all.  Going beyond proclamation, ILFE helps put in place means whereby individuals and communities can improve their situations.  ILFE is the only church in Nicaragua with the courage to boldly address the growing incidence of HIV/AIDS.

Our "home-stays" in the Somoto community seem to have been among the highlights thus far for our eight-member delegation, all of whom face the typical hardships of Central American travel in good spirits and with much humor.  All our travelers are in good health as we now settle in for two fascinating days among another community of God’s faithful--the Christian Lutheran Church of Honduras.  Despite recent high tensions surrounding the deposing of Honduras’ duly elected president, our border-crossing was uneventful, and the teeming Tegucigalpa metropolis seemed a place of "business as usual" as we arrived on an ordinary summer Monday evening. 

Our long list of Tuesday appointments begins with a visit to one of the almost-daily gatherings of the "Frente de Resistencia Nacional" or National Resistance Front, a coalition of many groups that formed to protest last year’s military coup, and now persists in promoting the respect of law and honoring of democratic principles.  As time and internet access allow, the next blog entry will provide readers with a report on those and other conversations and connections

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