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Missionary Journey to Guatemala, April 2014

 

 

Click on any image to see a larger version.

The Most Rev. Brian R. Marsh, Bishop Ordinary of the ACA, President of the House of Bishops, and The Rt Reverend Stephen D. Strawn, Bishop Ordinary of the DMV visited missions on behalf of the Traditional Anglican Communion in Central America in order to provide support to Bishop Ruben Rodriguez, recognize his Province, interview candidates for the episcopate and assess the financial needs of his missions.
The church in Columbia, which was placed under the authority of Bishop Rodriguez, was admitted, and the bishops met clergy from Honduras and Nicaragua, and considered these missions for the perspective of the International Anglican Fellowship (IAF).

Bishop Marsh tells how he and Bishop Strawn visited Central America and witnessed the work of the shepherds of Christ as they themselves give their lives to the faithful Christians they serve in very remote regions of Guatemala. Bishop Marsh shares some of their experience. He begins, "What does it mean to be a shepherd in this part of the world? This question was very much on my mind as we traveled through the very remote regions of northern Guatemala."

"Our journey began as soon as we landed at the airport in Guatemala City. Bishop Rodriguez met us at the airport and drove us to our hotel. Bishop Rodriguez speaks very little English and Bishop Strawn and I exhausted our entire Spanish vocabulary while we offered our greetings to Bishop Rodriguez. Then, we made do with hand gestures, smiles and quizzical looks."

 

Bishop Rodriguez at a mission

Bishop Rodriguez at one of his missions

 

Tres obispos
Tres obispos (Three bishops)

"During our brief car ride to the hotel, Bishop Rodriguez handed Bishop Strawn and I an itinerary. This listed our activities for the following two days. We read it over, then looked at each other in alarm. Then we laughed. Clearly, there was an error. According to the itinerary, the start time for Tuesday's activities was 4:00 a.m. We laughed again and pointed this out to Bishop Rodriguez. He studied the sheet of paper, pointed to the number four, smiled and said: 'Si.' We smiled back, but our smiles were mingled with wonder and a touch of desperation. We read the itinerary again and realized that we would be expected to spend eighteen hours visiting missions, attending services, preaching and greeting hundreds of people. We also knew that we would be consuming vast amounts of food. Bishop Strawn turned to me and said: "All we can do now is pray." We nodded and calculated the short amount of time we would have to sleep before the journey began."

 

"It began with a wake-up call at precisely 4:00 a.m. A knock at the door. Then, the delivery of the most delicious cappuccino I had ever tasted. It may have been sleep deprivation, perhaps a touch of delirium, but that coffee was worth getting up before even the birds considered rising."

 

"We were on the road at five a.m."

 

Our first stop was to Transfiguration mission."Our first stop was to Transfiguration mission.

It is the oldest mission in Bishop Rodriguez' diocese. It sits on a small hill in a village called Chumanzana. In order to get to Chumanzana, we had to drive over some of the worst roads I had ever seen. The shepherd who cared for the sheep in this village needed the kind of shock absorbers not seen in this world. Even then, we had to walk the last half mile. Chumanzana is so remote that the primary language is an ancient Mayan dialect. We had brought a translator with us. Her name was Grace, but she spoke only English and Spanish. The people of Chumanzana spoke no English and only limited Spanish. Fortunately, the parish priest at Transfiguration mission was fluent in both English and Spanish, as well as in kee CHE, the Mayan dialect. We listened to him describe the work of the church in this area of Guatemala."

 

This is the oldest church in the Province outside Guatemala City. Parishioners there speak an ancient Mayan dialect. The parish priest is translating the Book of Common Prayer into this dialect.Transfiguration church
"This is the oldest church in the Province outside Guatemala City. Parishioners there speak an ancient Mayan dialect. The parish priest is translating the Book of Common Prayer into this dialect,
kee CHE. It would be the first time that our prayer book would be translated into the ancient Mayan language. The priest offered to send us a copy of the book, once completed. "

 

The Colombian church has just placed itself under the authority of Bishop Rodriguez, bringing many parishes and missions into the Traditional Anglican Communion.

 

Clergy from Colombia

On the right, Bishop Octavio of. Colombia.

On the right, Bishop Octavio, Vicar General Hernando Valencia on the left.

 

"We sat down to a meal of coffee and sweet rolls. I mentioned to the parish priest that I had never heard words spoken in the kee CHE language and asked if he would teach me to say a few words. "Which words would you like to know," he asked. "Teach me to say 'Jesus Christ'" I said. 'Those are the first words I would like to learn.' He told the members of the mission seated around the table what I had asked. Then he spoke the name of Jesus Christ in that ancient Mayan language. 'ko hol SHEL.' It took some practice, but after four tries – and some corrective feedback - those who were there nodded their heads, as if to say, "I think he'll get it." Then we all said "ko hol SHEL." Jesus Christ."

Mission church in northern Guatemala

Mission church in northern Guatemala

"On Tuesday, in a tiny mission in a remote village in western Guatemala, much was unfamiliar. The language was one we had never heard before. The structures were unlike anything we had seen before. The food was different. The clothing was different. But one thing were knew very clearly; one thing was very familiar to us. It was the presence of Jesus Christ, whose name, spoken in three languages, was there among us. The good shepherd, whose life is given for us all, whose love is embraced – and shared – among all who know and love him. Jesu Christo. Ko hol SHEL. Jesus Christ."

Bishop Rodriguez at his cathedral church in Guatemala City

Bishop Ruben Rodriguez at his
cathedral church in Guatemala City

 

Mission church interior

Mission church interior

Deacon Joaquin Rubio is building a mission church in Honduras.

Deacon Joaquin Rubio is building a mission church in Honduras.

Pictures from Bishop Strawn
Cathedral in Guatemala City with Bp. Ruben Rodriquez (Bishop of the Traditional Anglican Church Latin American Province - Traditional Anglican Communion) 
Cathedral in Guatemala City with Bp. Ruben Rodriquez (Bishop of the Traditional Anglican Church Latin American Province - Traditional Anglican Communion)   Cathedral in Guatemala City with Bp. Ruben Rodriquez (Bishop of the Traditional Anglican Church Latin American Province - Traditional Anglican Communion)
Cathedral in Guatemala City with Bp. Ruben Rodriquez (Bishop of the Traditional Anglican Church Latin American Province - Traditional Anglican Communion)   Cathedral in Guatemala City with Bp. Ruben Rodriquez (Bishop of the Traditional Anglican Church Latin American Province - Traditional Anglican Communion)
Cathedral in Guatemala City with Bp. Ruben Rodriquez (Bishop of the Traditional Anglican Church Latin American Province - Traditional Anglican Communion)    
Visit to missions in Guatemala under Bp. Ruben Rodriquez
(Traditional Anglican Church Latin American Province - Traditional Anglican Communion) 
Visit to missions in Guatemala under Bp. Ruben Rodriquez (Traditional Anglican Church Latin American Province - Traditional Anglican Communion)   a
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