A new stove might not sound like a big deal, but if a Mayan Indian woman like Justine doesn’t have a block stove filled with porous lava ricks that hold heat, she cooks over an open fire. Open fires don’t have metal burners with safety zones like stoves do. Teri, who works helping the Mayans in Guatemala, reports that burns from open fires are a very common injury, especially for children. Open fires also don’t have chimneys like stoves do. and smoke in enclosed areas leads to respiratory problems. It takes a lot more wood to cook over an open fire, so if Justine has a stove she can buy something else for her family with the money she normally spends to buy wood for cooking. Finally, if not so many trees are chopped down to provide fuel for cooking, there won’t be as many mudslides. According to Gisela, who was a member of the last team from a church in Brighton to travel down to Guatemala to help Teri, “Every time I have been down to Guatemala mudslides have blocked roads and made travel harder or impossible.” Mudslides also destroy property and even kill people.
When the First Presbyterian Church of Brighton sends a team down to work providing new stoves for people like Justine, it takes three days for two people to finish one stove. It takes two weeks before the stove is dry enough to be used. It takes five minutes for Justine, who prays in a Mayan dialect that no one on the team can understand except God, to give thanks for her new stove. The team stands around, embarassed that when their stove in America breaks down, or they just want a better one, they call Home Depot and it can be delivered the next day and installed in a couple of hours. Very little prayer or gratitude is actually involved in the process.
Stoves for Justine and new houses for other Mayan women like Sylvia are funded by the Mission Arts and Music Festival this Sunday in Brighton. Gisela says, “Thank you for your support! It changes lives both in Guatemala and also here in our community.”
The festival includes a Juried Art Exhibit as well as Guatemalan Handcrafted items. Art and merchandise will be available for sale, proceeds from which will help sponsor First Presbyterian Church’s mission efforts in Guatemala.
Art Exhibit – 10am-5pm
Coffee Hour with the Artists – 10am-11am
Soup Luncheon – Noon-1pm
Brunhilde Saur Baur Workshop 1pm-3pm (Joyful meditation with art materials)
Concert – 3-4pm
For more information call 810-923-6940.