Happy International Women’s Day!: Recapturing the Seeds of Sustainability

Posted on March 8, 2012 by mikkamccracken

Today is International Women’s Day. In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women’s Day. To learn more, visit the United Nations’ website.

You’ll remember that just last week on the blog, we highlighted ELCA World Hunger and the Lutheran World Federation’s participation in the United Nations Commission on the Status Women. Today, in honor of International Women’s Day, we share a continuation of that journey through a bilingual blog post of Irma’s Story. As you read and experience Irma’s story, remember, rural women play a critical role in ending hunger and poverty, and we are on the journey!

Recapturing the Seeds of Sustainability

By Irma; Translated by Jen.

Irma and Jen sharing Irma's story at a UN CSW workshop service.

Vengo de una familia campesina de pequenos agricultores que emigraron a la ciudad. Soy abogada, profesora universitaria, tuve dos hijos, soy abuela de tres nietos.

I come from a rural family of small-scale farmers that immigrated to the city. I am a lawyer, a university professor, I have two sons, and I am the grandmother of three.

Como abogada ayude a mujeres y familias a recuperar sus tierras. Durante mi actividad como defensora de derechos humanos con la Federacion Luterana y la ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) estuve camindando con las mujeres desplazadas de todas las formas de violencia desarraigadas de sus tierras; apoyandolas a buscar refugio incluso en mi propia casa, muchas de ellas salieron del pais con su familia pues sus vidas corrian peligro.

As a lawyer I helped women and families to recuperate their land. During my activity as a defender of human rights with The Lutheran World Federation and the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) I walked with the women who were displaced from their land; helping them to find refuge, including in my own home. Many of them left the country with their families, as their lives were in danger.

Supere mil obstaculos. Dure un ano amenezada. Como luterana siermpre le digo, “Senor, y ahora que?”

I have overcome a thousand obstacles. I endured a year of being threatened. As a Lutheran woman I always say, “Lord, what next?”

Fui directora del Centro Luterano de Comunicaciones Cristianas, ayude a conformar la Red de Mujeres de las iglesias evangelicas en Colombia; se organizaron las huertas caseras la cosecha se vendia los domingos en las iglesias “El Mercado Campesino”; apoye a las mujeres que sus hijós se habian involucrado en los diferentes grupos  armados, muchos de los cuales retornaron a hogares de paso, trabaje en el 95% del territorio colombiano donde no habia presencia del estado; dicte talleres sobre el Evangelio Integral siempre aprendi del otro y la otra; sigo superando obstaculos.

I was the director of the Lutheran Center of Christian Communications. I helped to form the Red de Mujeres (Network of Women) of the evangelical churches in Colombia. These women organized gardens and sold their harvest on Sundays in the churches in their “Mercado Campesino” (Country Market). I supported the women whose children had been involved in the different armed groups, many of those children then returned to their homes. I worked in 95% of Colombian territory, where there was no government presence. I gave workshops on the integrated gospel (“the gospel of here and now,” Irma says as I ask her to tell me more), and I always learned from others. I continue overcoming obstacles.

Realmente hay mucha esperanza porque las semillas que rugue en mi pais como profesora han dado resultados de profesionales, medicos, abogados, ingenieros. De mi trabajo con las Iglesias, quiero ratificar el apoyo de la Federacion Luterana Mundial y la ELCA, al saber que las mujeres siguen luchando, tumban muros y siempre estan dispuestas a trabajar con el nucleo familiar y la comunidad.

Really there is much hope because the seeds I watered in my country as a professor have given results: professionals, doctors, lawyers, and engineers. In my work with the churches, I want to ratify support of the Lutheran World Federation and the ELCA with the knowledge of women who continue fighting, who break down walls, and who are always ready to work with the whole family and the community.

La fe sigue firme a pesar de haber sido amenazada 8 dias de plazo me dieron para salir de mi pais, por mi participacion en la sensibilizacion de la gente en el evangelio integral, me converti en objectivo militar pues todo mi trabajo era de conocimiento publico. El desprenderme de mi familia, la muerte de mi hijo que vivia en este pais me derrumbaron; llegue con $50 dolares mi primer trabajo lavar carros. Mi proximo muro para derribar aprender ingles (no ha sido facil).

My faith remains firm despite having been threatened and given 8 days to leave my country for my participation in the sensitization of people with the integrated gospel. I made myself a military target as all of my work was public knowledge. The separation from my family and the death of my son who lived in the U.S.A. shattered me to pieces. I arrived with $50, and my first job was washing cars. My next wall to break through is learning English (it hasn’t been easy).

En Augustana Lutheran Church de Sioux Falls, SD tenemos el ministerio Pueblo de Dios es una comunidad ecumenica sufriente que entrega su fuerza de trabajo para beneficio de la nacion, de la cual soy su coordinadora tenemos clases de computacion, ingles para las mujeres; clases de arte, locucion de radio vamos a organizar un programa bilingue con ninos de los 9 anos a los 12; en la penitenciaria con los sentenciados voy dos veces por mes a realizar estudio biblico; consejeria familiar que incluye various asuntos y visita a la carcel; realizando clases de espanol para las madres como para sus ninos y ninas.

In Augustana Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, S.D. we have a ministry called Pueblo de Dios. It is an ecumenical community, of which I am the coordinator, which suffers and gives its strength and hard work to benefit the nation. We have computer and English classes for women. We have art and broadcasting classes –we are going to organize a bilingual program with children aged 9 to 12. I go twice a month to the prison where the inmates and I have a Bible Study. We have a multifaceted family ministry, one facet of which is visiting the jail.

Tambien hay que dar gracias. En cada actividad tengo buen@s companer@s que me acompanan.

One also must give. In every activity, I have good companions who accompany me.

Siempre doy gracias a Dios me tiene caminando y compartiendo; soy la vice presidenta de la Asociacion de Ministerios Latinos de la ELCA  tarea muy grande para realizar porque este incluye entre otras cosas nuestro compromiso con el Hambre en el Mundo. Vamos con la fuerte esperanza y fe de constituir la Red de Mujeres de la Asociacion de Ministerios Latinos.

I always give thanks to God who has me walking and sharing. I am the vice president of the Association of Latino Ministries of the ELCA. This is a large job to carry out because this includes, among other things, our commitment with World Hunger. We continue with strong hope and faith of creating a Network of Women (Red de Mujeres) in the Association of Latino Ministries.

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