Philip and Bacilia Beisswenger (The Antioch Partners) - September 2015 Update
Dear Mission Partners,
Greetings in Christ from the Beisswenger family! On Pentecost, Peter said, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off.” Acts 2:39
Though we tend to emphasize “your children” more than “all who are far off,” the scripture is clear that both are crucial to God’s covenant. Our circle of faith stretches dramatically from our closest kin to envelop people whose culture and circumstances differ sharply from our own. Thank you for including us who are “far off” in places like Guatemala within your faith circle.
Construction at Cobán’s Presbyterian Complex advances in fits and spurts. Meanwhile, Q’eqchi’ theological training and the La Patria Norte School still function in rented facilities. Philip coordinates work at the complex while pastoring Cobán’s new Presbyterian church. We celebrated its first anniversary by worshipping at the complex for the first time on August 30. Many thanks to God and all who have helped make the congregation a vibrant addition to Cobán’s religious landscape.
This summer it was a blessing to facilitate great teams from Trinity Presbyterian Church (Fairhope, AL), First Presbyterian Church (Kingsport, TN), Williamsburg Presbyterian Church (VA) and Northminster Presbyterian Church (Cincinnati). In coming months, we eagerly await groups from Sycamore Presbyterian Church (Cincinnati) and the presbyteries of Denver and Middle Tennessee. Our family is happy in the new manse in Cobán (except for daily water outages and no internet). On top of church activities, Bacilia plugs away at her nursing studies. The school year ends in October for Matthew (7th grade), Manuel (4th) and Estefana (2nd). In their spare time, they race with Cobán’s Imperial Track Club. In October our family will travel to Thailand for an international conference of missionaries connected to The Antioch Partners (TAP), our Presbyterian missionary-sending organization.
An energetic social movement dubbed the “Guatemalan Spring” arose six months ago demanding an end to political corruption and an overhaul of the country’s dysfunctional electoral process. A cross-section of society, including churches, called for President Otto Perez to resign after he was accused of leading a criminal network that pilfered millions of dollars in customs revenue. Weekly peaceful demonstrations culminated in a national strike on August 27 that drew over 100,000 protesters to Guatemala City’s central square, plus thousands more in places like Cobán. Perez stepped down and is in jail, awaiting trial with a host of other implicated officials. Meanwhile general elections were held on September 6, with 14 presidential candidates.
Among those defeated was a demagogue named Manuel Baldizón, who once was seen as a shoe-in for the presidency. The top two vote-getters – a center-right political neophyte and a controversial, center-left former first-lady – will compete in an October 25 run-off. Please pray that the movement for needed changes in political leadership will keep growing.
Serving with Guatemala’s Presbyterian Church during the past five years has been a deep privilege for us. It has bound us to God’s people here and across the U.S. as we witness together to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that this circle remains unbroken for years to come. As part of TAP, we must find funds to cover our living and ministry costs. Prayers and offerings from you and your churches are a key to our continuation. We pray for the multiplication of God’s blessings in and through you!
Yours in Christ,
Philip, Bacilia, Matthew, Manuel and Estefana Beisswenger
Amount needed in 2015
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