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Before leaving Guatemala in May 2019, Juana, a friend in Santiago Ixcán informed me, "Francisco (her eldest son working in Guatemala City) wants to help the poor. He'd like to talk with you." "Really? Have him call or come and see me." I replied.
Francisco and I never had that conversation because a few days after speaking with his mom, I raced out of the Ixcán to return to North Dakota. My friend and Board President, Marlane Peterson, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sadly, Marlane died in January 2020 and COVID-19 hit in March. I've been in the United States ever since.
When I am in the United States, I go to the quiet of libraries to write. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, finding a library, like almost everything else, hasn't been easy. Our local university libraries are closed to the public, and the Mandan library is being renovated. I feel grateful to be sitting here in the Bismarck Public Library writing this. The stark contrast of this state-of-the-art U.S. library to our Ixcán Ministries cramped one-room library in Santiago Ixcán speaks volumes of the disparities between my two worlds. Granted, the coronavirus treats us the same; inside we are all wearing masks and library hours and days of operation are reduced both here and there.
The petite child smiled at me from the center of the video frame. Alicia stood barefoot bedecked in a flowered skirt and a pink shirt splattered with small white hearts. In her hands she clasped flaming red hibiscus flowers she extended toward the camera. Little sister, Mayli, from behind wrapped her small arms around Alicia’s waist, gave a hug, then trotted off. The child’s sweet voice called, “Where are you, Hermana Katy? Thank you for our house. We are peaceful. I am content. I send you greetings. Thank-you.”