Some Time Ago…
By Marisa Mayorga, Fundación Gedeón CEO
Some time ago (around 2012), I was exposed to community leaders, leading faith-based organizations that were established inside some very difficult and forgotten places in Guatemala city. A couple of years later, I met CMT, who to me, is a friend of all these amazing organizations doing community-based work in at-risk areas.
In 2014, CMT visited the organization where I work (Fundación Gedeón- Gideon Foundation) and they “sat on our table”. They learned about our passion for understanding underlying cultural beliefs that drive our Guatemalan -good and bad- behavior, and about working with the elite and groups with many decision-makers in their ranks. We are a secular organization with Christian principles, trying to promote ideas and projects where cultural beliefs that limit development are questioned.
Gedeón also sat on CMT’s table, as we have been invited to collaborate, by facilitating workshops that aim to show the importance of understanding and considering the underlying cultural beliefs, in the communities where CMT’s friends serve.
Something that really impressed me about these community/faith-based organizations, and about CMT as well, was their openness to embrace differences. I had preconceived ideas about evangelical or religious groups in general, as places or environments where a lot of restriction happened. Today I can affirm that CMT, its mission and its “incarnational” foundation provide one of the most open and generative environments where I have participated, and most importantly, where I feel welcome, valuable and embraced.
After we both sat on each other’s tables, a beautiful relationship has unfolded between both our organizations and between us, the people inside those organizations. CMT has become a wise friend for me, a friend I turn to when in doubt. And being wired the way I am (scientific background, non-believer family) one thing is certain: I have a lot of doubts. But like a good, old and wise friend does, CMT lovingly and intentionally listens to my doubts, being incarnational in their interactions and discussions with me. How beautiful it is to work with an organization that follows an incarnational process, where the end goal is to become more like Jesus, by becoming more human. When I have doubts about how or why, or if Christianity (should or should not) exclude certain groups, or how to work with difficult and very diverse persons… I usually find peace when discussing with CMT. And when we allow God’s love to help us find answers together.
We also share a common passion, and that is to build bridges between people, organizations and institutions with great ravines (literally, or not) between them. In this sense, we have collaborated in the design and contents of the first SinergiaGT conference back in 2015. And today we are collaborating with different experts and other faith and good-will organizations, in understanding how we can better collaborate in Guatemala. I know it sounds redundant, but we are very interested in finding answers that shed some more light on how to weave back together a breakup in the threads of our “social fabric”. This breakup moves us toward mistrust, unwillingness to understand or even suspicion of “others”, even if we share a similar vision, or the same faith, or even the same mission. If we are incarnational in our approach, we hope to find answers that will bind us, and not blind us, anymore.