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Spring has finally sprung in North Dakota and the greening of grass and trees sings of hope and new life following a long winter. Seasons speak to me of change. Ixcán Ministries entered a new season of leadership in January 2000, when our president and co-founder, Marlane Peterson, died due to cancer. Our then treasurer assumed that role, but when she faced a serious illness, I was named board president in October 2021. Subsequently, the past seven months ushered in some new faces to serve on our U.S. board of directors.
In the Catholic world the liturgical season of Lent has begun when we focus on the sufferings and passion of Jesus. We believe our sharing in the sufferings of Jesus will lead us to the joy of the Resurrection at Easter. It is a 40- day retreat when we are encouraged to take up the practices of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting to help us grow closer to God and one another. In light of our beliefs and practices, amid the present reality of world events, I share the following true story of faith lived by the community in Santiago Ixcán.
At the bottom of the hill from the mission house, I often pass a home bustling with children. In that household of eight, lives seven-year old Hamilton. From the distance, I didn’t notice anything unusual about him. I didn’t know that he stuttered and couldn’t pronounce his r’s. I didn’t know Hamilton suffered bullying at school because of his speech impediment. Later, his father told me, "We didn’t know what to do. We took him to a doctor in Playa Grande hoping that maybe there was a surgery or something to correct this. But no one could help him."