Special to the Pioneer
A delegation of six persons from Tierra Nueva Uno, Chinautla, Guatemala, spent the past week with members of Faith/Journey in Faith Lutheran Church, West Fargo. The two communities have had a relationship since 2002, and there have been several north to south delegations. This is the second south to north delegation, sponsored by Faith/Journey in Faith.
The relationship began through the organization of Sister Parish, Inc, co-founded in 1988 by Rev. Richard Fenske, now deceased, and Vicki Schmidt of West Fargo. The organization has had relationships between churches all around the United States and churches in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and in Mexico.
Sister Parish currently has 14 linkages located in urban and rural Guatemala and in the Chalatenango region of El Salvador. Relationships are built on mutual dignity and respect, learning from each other by spending time in each other's cultures and sharing faith experiences.
While in West Fargo and the area, the six delegates from Guatemala, which included a Sister Parish staff person, experienced a variety of activities. They tied fleece blankets with members of Faith/Journey in Faith and took them to the Rape and Abuse crisis center, hearing there about our culture's violence against women and men. They also toured the Great Plains Food Bank and then helped pack food boxes for distribution. They met with Dr. Lucho and Marlene Espejo at Community Health and toured Essentia Hospital to learn about health care. A visit to North Dakota Seed and RDO/John Deere in Casselton showed them some of this area's agricultural and farming background.
In addition to these activities and others, the group from Faith/Journey in Faith participated in Bible studies, discussion, meals and fun activities, including spending the traditional U.S. Thanksgiving holiday in several homes. They participated in worship services at Faith/Journey in Faith, as well as at St. Frances de Sales Catholic Church in Moorhead.
The relationship deepened as the week went on and everyone truly felt like they were "Somos Uno en Cristo" - We are One in Christ.