CEDEPCA (USA) Board of Directors held their annual meeting in Atlanta April 20,2013, hearing reports about continued growth in the organization’s activities to support the work of CEDEPCA in Central [...]
Two pastors, Susan Webb, Kathy Carpenter and James Smith from the Presbytery of the Peaks visited Guatemala on October 15-20.
During their time in Guatemala they were able to learn about the history and current situation of Guatemala, the different programs of CEDEPCA and hear the voices of people that have participated in those programs. They hope to go back to their Presbytery and give fresh impetus to the partnership between the presbytery and CEDEPCA.
Friends of CEDEPCA,
Thanks to each of you who have contributed to CEDEPCA this year through your time and energy, financial assistance and prayer. Without your support, CEDEPCA’s ministry would have reached fewer people.
I understand these are difficult economic times, but there are compelling problems in Guatemala that require our attention. Because I believe so strongly in the value of CEDEPCA’s work, I ask again for your support.
Uneducated pastors continue to preach a gospel that diminishes people instead of teaching them about God’s love, true discipleship, love of neighbor and forgiveness. The dominant teaching by pastors in Guatemala is a theology of prosperity. Women continue to be considered second (or third or fourth) class people. Family violence is rampant and femicide continues as one of the greatest social scourges. Mother Nature continues to pummel this tiny country. As recently as ten days ago heavy rains again caused mud slides and flooding. CEDEPCA confronts all of these problems through its programs. It has been especially active in the last two years in teaching communities how to be prepared for disasters and how to do psycho‑social work with victims of these disasters.
I hope you will see by reading the Fall 2011 newsletter how CEDEPCA’s work addresses all of these problems. The testimonies of students powerfully show the impact their studies have had on their lives.
We can spread that impact to more people through our support. We on the board of CEDEPCA-US hope that you will include CEDEPCA in your 2011 yearend giving. Sometimes educational institutions are not as appealing as strictly developmental programs. Educated people, however, are the ones most able to bring about the development of their country.
We hope for each of you a blessed Christmas season. May we all pray for a world free of war, hunger and injustice. A world in which the infant born in a stable is welcomed and celebrated.
Grace and Peace,
President, CEDEPCA (USA)
Central American suffered approximately 11 days of strong and constant rains, ending October 20th, as a consequence of Tropical Depression 12-E. The magnitude and duration of the rains, as well as the destruction that resulted, qualifies the rains as an ‘extreme event’ according to the director of the World Climate Research Program.
In Guatemala, 524,480 people were affected nationally, and of those, 14,966 are in shelters after their houses have been flooded or damaged. Authorities report 38 deaths and 22,685 houses at risk or damaged. Those affected are not concentrated in one area, but rather the effects are distributed in communities around the country. The population in Santa Rosa has been doubly affected, first by a cluster of tremors, and now with damage from the rains. Similar effects have been felt in El Salvador and Honduras, and slightly less in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Much of the damage is from rivers that have overflowed their banks, which has affected houses and agricultural fields, which will produce hunger in 2012 for the populations that depend on their harvests for their own consumption. Also, respiratory and skin problems have increased; and the national infrastructure of highways and bridges has been damaged.
The effects have been dispersed, and in this emergency none of the groups that Cedepca works with closely, nor any of the employees, have been significantly affected.
Starting October 20th we woke to find a blue sky, and we hope that there are no more strong rains and that we’ve entered the dry season.
The Disaster Ministry is in the process of evaluating whether to enter into new communities where there are needs for response, and we will be informing as to the situation. We also feel confirmed in the fact that psychosocial work in disasters is an essential need for the region, because the best way to reduce risk of impact from these extreme events is to train in communities and hence strengthen the resilience and desire to act, and to dream about steps to a better future. We thank you for your many prayers for those who are suffering from the rains, and for Cedepca’s work.
The CEDEPCA (USA) Board of Directors met January 29, 2011 to review our first full year of raising funds for our work in Central America. We added three new board members — Paul Lewellen, Bonnie Orth, and Cheryl Rowan — to bring our board up to 12 members. CEDEPCA (USA) has a geographically diverse board, as shown below:
|Anne Sayre||Atlanta, GA||President|
|Mac Pence||Richmond, VA||Secretary/Treasurer|
|Judith Castañeda||Guatemala City||CEDEPCA General Coordinator|
|Kathy Carpenter||Blacksburg, VA||CEDEPCA Network Liaison|
|Joyce Ackerman||Wilmington, DE|
|Ayn Lavagnino||Camas, WA|
|Paul Lewellan||Davenport, IA|
|Bonnie Orth||Amsterdam, NY|
|Cheryl Rowan||Kingwood, TX|
|Sandi Thompson Royer||Leavenworth, WA|
|Timothy Van Fleet||Pittsburgh PA|
|Mary Jane Winter||Richmond, VA|
Our first full year of operation produced just over $44,000 in income, of which approximately half was money from donees who had not previously given to CEDEPCA in the past. For more information on our board and finances, click here.
CEDEPCA in Central America is an organization that has been providing educational programs for 25 years. CEDEPCA (USA) is a separate organization, a newly formed U.S. 501(c)(3) organization that raises and grants money to support this effort. Our next CEDEPCA (USA) Board meeting will be in February 2012, in Washington State.
One of the largest classes graduated in the Women’s Program of Cedepca in Costa Rica in a ceremony held on the campus of the Latin American Biblical University. In June 95 women received a certificate, demonstrating their hard work, tenacious commitment, and strong desire to make their lives better. For many it was the first time they had ever received a certificate. For some it was the first time to come to the capital San Jose. The women represented four different regions of the country and a variety of denominations. As they studied together, they became united in a shared faith, a new hope, and a growing sense of purpose.
The courses that Cedepca offers in its Women’s Program make a profound difference in the lives of the women. One woman whose husband had died a month before she began commented, “If I had not been in this course, I would have given up and died, but this course gave me hope, gave me friends, and gave me the desire to move forward with my life.” Another woman said, “Because of this program, I have set goals for myself. I will no longer allow aggression and abuse. I want to change my life and believe I can, because now I am not alone.”
The women in Costa Rica found a team of support through churches and individuals who encouraged them, helping them to grow in confidence and dignity and to realize their potential as women created in God’s image. On this special day of graduation, many family members and supporters joined them to share their great joy. Cedepca’s program has two graduations each year, one in June and one in November, following the completion of one or more courses. Rebeca Cascante directs the Women’s Program in Costa Rica and gives thanks for this “project of such beautiful hope which God has placed in our hands” and for all those whose support of Cedepca make possible this dream of life and dignity.
Dear CEDEPCA friends,
Thank you very much for your prayers and support to families affected by the Storm Agatha. Here is an update of our latest activities of the Ministry in Situations of Crisis/Cedepca.
On June 26th we delivered Cleaning Kits to two affected communities in Ciudad Vieja. We delivered a total of 193 to affected families.
The cleaning kit included disinfectants, soap, biodegradable trash bags in order to damage the environment less, a broom, washing brush, bucket, sponges, rope and clothes pins.
The same day the community showed lots of interest in the psychosocial support. We guided the community so that the community members divided into groups of women, men, young men, young women, and children in order to start the psychosocial support that will strengthen the community’s resilience.
Please visit www.cedepca.org for more infomation and pictures.
Pictures of the damage from Agatha and Pacaya:
Greetings from Guatemala. As you may have heard, we have experienced terrible destruction from Tropical Storm Agatha, which came just days after the eruption of the Volcano Pacaya. Recent reports indicate 172 are dead, 42 bridges damaged, 7,597 homes destroyed, and 98,339 persons are in shelters. There is no estimate yet on the cost of damage to agriculture and infrastructure. This is a critical time for us to work together to respond to this crisis. I am writing to share my experience and to ask for your help.
On Saturday a group from the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta arrived, and several of us from Cedepca accompanied them on a visit to two small shelters in Guatemala City and then to one of the affected areas near Antigua. In the shelters we saw women and children who had lost their homes. The shelters were very minimal with no water and everyone sleeping on the floor, but at least they had a place to stay. The church and the municipality are working together to help, thanks be to God. That night we served a hot dinner to 75 children and 50 adults, watching them enjoy beans and eggs and a very sweet cup of coffee. We knew that God was with us!
On Sunday we went to Cuidad Vieja, just outside Antigua, where we saw terrible destruction—mud, ashes, and big rocks covering houses and the streets. We worked on cleaning three houses where they water and mud had reached two meters. In this area, livestock have been destroyed and many people killed.
Looking at this destruction, I remembered my years of working with Church World Service (1976-82). I learned from them the importance of transparency and the good use of resources in the work of disaster relief. From my family and church, I learned the value of hard work and honesty.
Since 1982, I have been privileged to serve with Cedepca. In our new Crisis Ministry we work to embody the good news of the gospel. Our goal is to offer pastoral and social care to those affected by trauma and to bring hope in the midst of disaster. However, we also need to provide economic support for immediate needs. With a holistic approach we can help women, men, and children to recover from this tragedy. We at Cedepca are committed to using every resource with complete transparency and to the best of our ability to help those in need.
This weekend I saw destruction, pain, and hopelessness in many people, but I also experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit working through the many volunteers, both from Guatemala and the U.S., and from many different churches all working together.
Dania del Valle will post some photos on Facebook and on our web page. For the next several days we will be in Quetzaltenango, in one community where over 500 people were affected by Agatha. Many homes were filled with mud and many have lost everything. Cedepca is working with the Episcopal Church, and our psychologist, Ana Paxtor, is leading the post trauma recovery process.
This is an opportunity for those of us who were not directly affected to share our love and resources. Your gifts will help us to respond to those in need. You can give to Cedepca online at www.cedepca.us . Let us not miss this time to bless others in need.
In Christ’s love,