The date December 6, 2012 is etched in Yolanda Cac’s memory. It was the day her father decided to start a Lutheran Church in Maya Itza. Since then, she has continued to sense God working in her and in her community as they dream about building a church.
But it didn’t start out that way. She said, “The first time my aunt took me to church, I felt afraid and ashamed. People were looking at me. I didn’t like it.” She continued on, drawn in by the singing, especially in her native language of K’iche’. “I think God’s calling is important and I can feel it. I can feel it when I’m singing.”
Yolanda sang her favorite hymn, “When there are One, Two, or Three” in K’iche’. In our interview, she spoke to me in Spanish, her second language, through the translation of Pastor Karen Castillo, President of the Iglesia Luterana Agustina Guatemala (ILAG). By receiving education and training, Yolanda reads Scripture on Sundays and leads the women’s ministry, two things that would have been much more difficult had she not received a scholarship from ILAG. She said she was very excited and never believed it was possible.
Yolanda explained that her father had a difficult harvest as a farmer, and she said education was not in the picture until she received a scholarship to finish high school. Now that she is learning more, she sees more opportunities to help others learn about God and the Bible.
Since I met Yolanda, she has decided to pursue leadership training at ILAG in Guatemala City. It’s a big step for her and her family to allow her to go to the city, and lose her work and daily contributions on the home front. At 24, God is doing a new thing in Yolanda. She is on a new adventure. God is stirring up the people of Maya Itza, who now have a beautiful property on which to begin construction of their new church.
Traveling into rural northwestern Guatemala was an adventure as Sarah and I bonded with our brothers and sisters from the group from Easter Lutheran Church, Eagan. Our bus broke down, but it wasn’t long before another one came along! And we all will always remember our K’iche’ friends in Maya Itza.
“I thank my God every time I think of you” (Philippians 1:3, NIV).