Worship at Acteal

Greetings, dear readers! You have already heard some about Acteal and Las Abejas. The service at Acteal really moved me, so I wanted to share some of the things I saw, heard and learned there. The people of Acteal have experienced such tremendous hardship, yet they speak, sing, and pray with tremendous hope and joy. Their courage and perseverance was truly inspiring.

The first banner I noticed was one that read as follows (I included my attempt at translation to Engligh — I may not be spot on, but hopefully I caught the gist of it!):

“Tlotik el Pueblo De Las ‘Abejas’ de Acteal Te Da La Bienvenidos Por Caminar En La Luz”
(The Village of the “Bees” of Acteal Welcome You to Walk in the Light)

R aul
A utonomia (Autonomy)
U nidad (Unity)
L ucha (Struggle)

V erdad (Truth)
E jemplo (Example)
R espeto (Respect)
A mor (Love)

L uz (Light)
O racion (Prayer)
P erdon (Forgiveness)
E vanjelio (Gospel)
pa Z (Peace)

The service was conducted both in the indigenous language shared by the people in the village and in Spanish. I tried hard to understand as much as I could, and I’ll share with you a short list of a few of the things that I understood as either spoken  by individuals or sung by the choir with great fortitude: Continue reading

Acteal and Las Abejas (The Bees)

Buenas Noches dear reader!  What an awesome day!  The experience in Acteal is one I will never forget.  We have had many of those moments on this trip, but this was truly a highlight.  We left around nine this morning in two vans and rode out of San Cristobal up into the hills to the north.  The views of the green hills were breathtaking.  The winding roads were precarious in some places and the bumpy ride did not agree with all stomachs, but we made it without any incidents, if you know what I mean!  We had very good drivers who were braver than me!

We got to Acteal just in time to see the procession of community and church leaders head down the stairs to the chapel.  As I said in my earlier post, today was the celebration and mass for Las Abejas who were killed in the massacre on December 22, 1997.  We hopped out of the vans and followed the procession down the stairs. We then made our way to seats in the concrete bleachers.  The service was spoken in Spanish and Tzotzil. What I was not ready for was how welcomed we were made to feel. So welcomed that Continue reading

Chiapas Day 09—The Bees of Acteal

Dear reader, thank you for your dedication to following us on this journey.  It has been difficult, as our hearts have broken every day, and we have wept as our eyes were opened to the horrific truths told to us simply, quietly, by the people who have suffered them.  I’m afraid today’s post will continue that trend as I tell you of our visit to Acteal and the people who call themselves Los Abejas (The Bees).  But perhaps, when our hearts have broken enough times, they will break open so wide that we will be able to let the whole world in.

We left the hotel earlier than usual because we had a two hour drive through the winding mountain roads before we could reach our destination.  We drove from Los Altos (The Highlands) where San Cristobal lies to the edges of Las Canyadas (The Canyons).  The views were breathtaking—brilliant blue skies held up by vast green mountains, which plunged together to form the valleys for which the region is named. Continue reading