2022 Annual Report

To view the 2022 Annual Report, click here.

Dear Friend of San Lucas,

The work of Blessed Stan Rother in Santiago Atitlan, who was a close friend of Fr. Greg Schaffer until his murder by Guatemalan soldiers in 1981, was described this way in his biography: “He (Blessed Stan) didn’t go there to do anything. He went there to be there, with the people.” I am drawn to this particular formulation of our work with the San Lucas Mission: to be there, to be present, to be available, supportive, adaptable, open to their generosity and their notion of progress. I think there would be little difference between how Blessed Rother and Fr. Greg would answer the question: “Why are we here?” I suggest the answer is this, to be a friend.

2022 was another year of friendship and being true to our value of mutuality with the people of San Lucas Toliman and 14 surrounding villages. With the program staff, all of whom are Guatemalan, priorities were set and through record support the following was achieved, 91 houses build, 640 students educated, 100 women trained in new skills, XXXX bags of emergency food distributed, xxxxx patients treated, xxxxx children treated and monitored for malnutrition, 150 coffee farm families supported with living wages, and XXXX stoves built. I offer my deep thanks to our Benefactors, FOSL staff and volunteers who supported this important work. You represent the critical ecosystem that is necessary to carry out the work by the Mission. Without you, this work simply would not happen.

But somehow this citing of statistics falls short in capturing what it really means. Let me try by sharing a personal story. My wife Jan and I sponsored a block home in the village of Panimaquip and on January 24 th I had the privilege of visiting the family, Leuder, Yohana, Kenwi, Pedro, Josefina, and Yohana Velasquez at a formal dedication. When Leuder spoke, he not only mentioned how grateful he was and how the home was going to change their lives for generations, but most of the time he spoke about me. How he prayed for me, my family and hoped for my future. As he was speaking I experienced a lightning bolt of uncontrollable emotion. I simply couldn’t stem the flood of tears. I thought of the direct line from my parents, the fact we attended mass every Sunday and that’s how I first became aware of Fr. Greg, my good fortune of education, a meaningful career, good health, the advantages of living in the United States, and faith all leading to this particular moment. And how, for perhaps the first time in my life, I was completely open to receiving the unconditional love of a complete stranger because, and this is admittedly and odd way of thinking about it, I was defenseless. Standing with a family I had never met, at the foot of a volcano, a family that offered their genuine love to me without reservation, there was no option but to receive it and be moved by its profound meaning.

Behind every child fed, every women trained with new skills, every new home, every stove, every child educated and every patient treated, there is this. The same outpouring of love and appreciation that hit me like lightening in Panimaquip is meant for everyone who contributed with their time, resources and prayer to the success of the Mission and the Friends of San Lucas in 2022

Finally, our celebration during the last week of January of Fr. Greg’s walk from St. Paul, Minnesota to San Lucas Toliman in 1972 defied description. Perhaps it was the very definition of friendship. How do you capture the human mosaic of a child’s smile, dozens of hugs, the warmest thank yous, delicious foods, angelic voices, profound spirituality, ageless music, soaring speeches, deep mutuality, new connections, education, awareness, introspection and the tangible realization that the goodness flowing from the inspired human spirit, echoes over generations?

I close by thanking you, offering my profound gratitude for your support and wishing you and your families special friendships that comes from an open heart that is defenseless against unconditional love.

Jim Seifert

To view the 2022 Annual Report, click here.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.