Friday, October 31, 2008

I went to Guatemala!

Ok, so I actually got back almost two weeks ago. But they have been a busy couple of weeks, so forgive for the delayed picture presentation.
Without further adue - Central American HNGR Interns Vacation 2008

Me, Austin, David, and Sheryl. A diverse and lovely bunch.

The ruins of Tikal! Oh my gosh. So amazing.

We got this lovely riverside bungalow all to ourselves for 2 days. It rained the whole time, but we didn't even mind one bit. Just made a better excuse to sit around reading, doing puzzles, and playing yahtzi!
David and Austin. This is Austin's favorite fruit in Guatemala, mostly because it looks so weird. It tastes pretty good too though.
Here are Sheryl and I at some ruins in Antigua, the beautifully preserved (albiet very touristy) Colonial Capital of Central America.
It was a really nice trip.
Since then I also spent some days with a short term missions team in the Northern part of Nicaragua. It was a good experience. I was a translator (I know right? My Spanish is improving for sure, but they were also a little desprate), and I really enjoyed seeing the rural community we were working in, and the extra acceptance I got from the local Nicaraguans as a translator rather than a member of the team. :-)
Yesterday I tried on my wedding dress and it is just about all finished! It turned out sooo lovely! I wish I could post pictures here... but then Michael would see them, so you'll just have to wait until June 13, 2009, or after when pictures will be posted without hesitation.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am a feminist.

I own it and I declare it. The mistreatment, the neglect, the opression of women has lasted too long. Too long. The church has not taken a stand. The church has been silent. The church has promoted it rather than healed it. It is wrong.

In Nicaragua 70% of church members are women. Virtually no women are pastors, though ironically in this machismo driven society I have encountered more women pastors than I ever have seen in the states. I have learned there is room for the word "pastora" - "pastor" doesn't have to be only a masculine word. 70% of church members are women, yet women are not in church leadership. Is there something wrong with this picture? Yes.

In Nicaragua infidelity in marraige is the norm rather than the exception. Women have told me this. They have pleaded with me to make their voices known. I have told men. They have told me it's not true. They have told me my sources are emotionally involved and unreliable. This is wrong. I know women who are raped by their husbands. They can't do anything about it. They know that if they left their husband the chances are too strong that they would never find anyone different, anyone better. This is WRONG.

I have sat in meetings where decisions are being made about what we consider a "healthy church." I have seen the parts which speak specifically to women's issues be disregarded and thrown out. The parts I insisted we put in on behalf of those women who pleaded with me to make their voices known. I've sat there silent and helpless as no one took a stand. I was the only female in a roomfull of powerful men.
So this is what it is to not have a voice.

What are we going to do? I am going to start by telling you:
I am a feminist.
Do I love men? Yes. And I believe they should be treated well too.
Do I think women must work outside the home? No. That's not what it means to be a feminist. I plan to be a stay at home mom for a good chunk of my life, if the Lord permits, and I think it's a wonderful and respectable job (as is being a stay at home father).
Do I believe we need to fight for change? Yes. I believe it on behalf of my Nicaraguan sisters. I believe it on behalf of all of the unheard voices - of minority races, of the poor, of the two-thirds world. I believe it when I see that the church is the most exclusionary institution in the United States, when I admit to my pastor here that there is a difference between how women are treated in the church and how they are treated in the rest of society. I am admitting this, not happily reporting it as I should be if the church is really the agent of change it is called to be.
I have sat in a room of powerful men as they made a decision not to hear the voices I have heard. I have cried over this.
I pray: Come Lord Jesus Come.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


September has come and gone without much flourish or excitment. October is now here, and things are picking back up. Here is a quick run-down.

October has been:
-Recovering from a bad case of the flu. (And before you say that I've been sick the whole time I've been here, let me remind you that I've been here over 4 months and have only been sick 3 times. It's been unfortunate, but not as bad as it seems).
-Working out housing for next Spring. (8 girls, one house, and much vegitarianism and feminism to be had by all this coming January).
-Finishing teaching the dance to the youth at church (with a few more kinks to work out).
-Starting to enter the data from the surveys onto one VERY LARGE spread-sheet.

October will be:
-A week long trip to Guatemala with 3 other HNGR interns: Sheryl who is here in Nicaragua and lives an hour from me, David who works in Honduras, and Austin who works in Guatemala and has happily organized an adventurous and eventful week of sight seeing, nature exploring, and generally being rich American tourists which we are all very much looking forward to! (Oct. 10-20).
-Lots of meetings in the office during the week I get back, including presenting one more time to the board of pastors. (Oct. 21-25)
-Preforming the dance for the church with the youth. (Oct. 27)
-3 days with an STM team from the states in a rural community in the North of the country (my pen and notebook will be busy!) (Oct. 28-30)
-Trying on my wedding dress and having final adjustments made! (whenever I can fit it in after I get back!).