My Connection to Guatemala
George Bob and Otis Thompson have been friends of my family since the late 1970's. George wrote the following for the Advent devotional put together by people at his church, First United Methodist in Grand Rapids, MI. Jennie is one of the ministers of that congregation.
I bet some of you also have great stories of the places your MayaWorks items have been and traveled, before they landed in your lives.
Thanks, George, for reminding of how Mayaworks interweaves us.
Mary Beth Danielson (MayaWorks Board Member)
MY CONNECTION TO GUATEMALA or HOW JENNIE GOT A STOLE
In the late '70's I met Mary Beth while she and Otis were attending seminary (GETS) in Evanston, IL.
She and Otis both left the seminary in their last year, Mary Beth soon met Leonard and they were married a year later. Soon their three little kids were in our lives, too.
Mary Beth and Leonard could probably be called liberal-yuppie types. They lived in Chicago. They each kept their own last names when they got married, for instance, then Mary Beth gave her name to their daughters and Max got his dad's last name. Max has two gay God-Fathers. Mary Beth wrote for 'The Other Side', a liberal social justice-oriented religious magazine. Leonard did his thing too. One night we got a call from Mary Beth and were asked to baby-sit the kids while she bailed Leonard out of jail. It seems he was arrested at a downtown consulate, while protesting the proposed invasion of Nicaragua by the Reagan administration.
With this background, Mary Beth got connected to a group of women who were working with poor women in Guatemala. MayaWorks established an arrangement with local women who are weavers and artisans. They bring their products to the United States and sell them for a fair price (the same concept that is used for Fair Trade Coffee, etc). They make many products; go to www.Mayaworks.org to check them out. Thus they are able to provide fair wages for legitimate work by the local Maya women.
And so, Otis bought a MayaWorks stole several years ago and it wound up in a drawer. He gave it to me and I put it in a different drawer. Eventually, two years ago, I gave it to Jennie. It's a gift that has traveled many miles and passed through a number of hands. When I see it, I am not only reminded of my faith by the Christian symbols on it, but I am reminded of past friendships, my God-son, and a night of baby-sitting.
May the gifts that you give and receive this season have deep meanings for you. And yes, don't stash them away in a drawer.
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