On Sunday, December 12th, Messiah Lutheran Church was blessed with a visit from Pastor Amanda Olson and her husband Horatio de Castillo. Pastor Amanda is a missionary and along with her husband Horatio is a Pastor in the Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala (ILAG).
Pastor Amanda led an adult forum during the Sunday School hour and preached at both services.
Pastor Amanda and her husband Horatio have visited Messiah numerous times in the past and their visits are always welcomed just as we welcome home close family members. Messiah Lutheran Church along with other Churches in the ELCA proudly sponsor Pastor Amanda and ILAG as they work to spread God’s word in Guatemala.
The Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala (Augustinian Lutheran Church of Guatemala) was founded in 1991 by Padre Horacio Castillo and his family. The members come from the margins of the Guatemalan society, people of few resources and are predominantly indigenous.
Guatemala suffered through a 36 year internal war. This war ended in 1996 with the signing of the peace accords. Padre Horacio Castillo helped write and later was among those who signed the peace accords.
The first churches of the ILAG were formed in Guatemala City among the internally displaced, those who fled into the City during the war, who were (and still are) living in the ravines of the City. The ILAG also operates two elementary schools which serve children and families in these marginalized areas of the City.
As refuges began to return from Mexico, they contacted Padre Horacio as they had known him from his visits to some of the camps. Through these contacts the ILAG grew in the rural areas of the country among the resettled refuges.
The ILAG continues to grow each year by a few mission sites and churches as communities hear that the ILAG walks with people delivering the gospel freely to all people and visits the communities regularly.
The philosophy of the ILAG is to provide pastoral accompaniment and holistic development. The center of the ILAG is Christ and from this center we seek to provide for all aspects of the life of our members and their communities – the spiritual, physical, emotional and material.
The church has about 3,000 members in nearly 20 congregations spread throughout Guatemala. ILAG also operates two elementary schools in Guatemala City.