Grace From the Outside

This year during the month of January we had the second consecutive visit from White Whale Tattoo from Cincinnati. We have been building this relationship for quite a while as Jeremiah Griswold, the owner of White Whale, and me (Joel Aguilar) have been friends for almost ten years. On this occasion Jeremiah and the White Whale artists became a glimpse of grace not only for me, but also for CMT Guatemala. Before I tell you how they showed us grace, let me give you a little bit of context. CMT Guatemala went through a really hard financial crisis last year, and that created the need to innovate and think differently about the way we engage our city. We are being pushed to re-imagine the organization, and the work we do for the social and spiritual renewal of Guatemala City. On one hand, part of the difficulties that we experienced has to do with the fact that the church in Guatemala is still very conservative in its ways of engaging the city. On the other hand, we have noticed that the response we have to our projects, coming from some sectors of the evangelical world, has reflected a lack of excitement and support for the work we do.

During the week of the 9-16 of January we had the opportunity to work with Jeremiah and the tattoo artists from White Whale.the White Whale crew started noticing and understanding the work we do as CMT Guatemala as the artists went through the days of tattooing and covering tattoos from former criminals. We engage leaders of good faith and good will, build organizational capacity, and incubate joint initiatives with leaders from around our City. At the end of their time, the artists told us: “We are dreaming for you, and with you. We are excited for this relationship and the opportunities we will have to work together and support what you do.” These words have been a breath of fresh air for us at CMT Guatemala. Interestingly, the fresh air came not from our Christian friends, but from a group of artists who have been excluded in different ways in their own city; a group of artists whose beliefs are, in some cases, radically different to ours. In other words, the fresh air for CMT Guatemala came from a group of people where not everybody conciders themselves as Christians. We experienced grace from the “outside”, not from the insiders of our own “tribe.”

All of you who support the work of CMT Guatemala have helped us to open our doors to work with people of good faith and good will. This beautiful experience, and relationship with the White Whale Tattoo from Cincinnati is a clear sign that we are moving in the right direction.

Thanks for your prayers and financial support. We could not do what we do without your involvement with CMT Guatemala.

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