Weaving Together Two Months
Posted on May 10, 2019 | Posted by Annie Saunders
Our very own missionary Ryana Holt sends word from down south in Santiago, Chile. Keep reading to learn what she’s been experiencing and what she’s been up to recently:
The kin-dom of God is a Chilean tapestry, one like the many hanging on walls here, or strewn throughout craft fairs. It is beautifully hand woven over a time incorporating ancient traditions and techniques while generously embracing the new. The artisan’s hands being the Holy Spirit, moving us, strands of yarn of a variety of fibers and colors, over and under, over and under, until we are in a tight harmony, together but not lost in our uniqueness. In the kin-dom of God we are woven together such that we become more whole and lovely than if we remain wrapped up in a ball by ourselves, safe from tangling, scissors, mistakes or clashes in the effort.
As I have taken to weaving tapestries, a craft I learned after a workshop given by two friends here in March, I have been meditating on weaving. It is a slow process, sometimes intentional, and sometimes you just feel moved to make an artistic choice.
While the metaphor of the kin-dom of God as a woven Chilean tapestry is not perfect, I do think it highlights mix of the care and intention with the mysterious Holy Spirit movement in weaving together a community harmonious alone and with Creation.
Avenida O’Higgins became a massive loom as 400 thousand people showed up to activities and to march on International Women’s Day. These people who make up the fabric of society, women of all ages, families with their children, trans women, lesbians, indigenous women, environmentalists, feminists, people who don’t consider themselves feminists but support the movement, and I’ll name us, a group of ecumenical Christian feminists, all out and ready to say there is change to made. Demands for justice for and work to stop gender-based violence. Demands for safety in the street, home, workplace for all. Demands for equality and representation. Voices crying out. Chanting, creatively. You can’t help but think, look at the force we are when woven together. Look at how strong and diverse we are but with a unifying purpose. A powerful kin-dom moment.
In an intimate kin-dom moment, we celebrated a gay couple committing to each other in a Sunday service, a transwoman’s testimony of feeling finally accepted in a community of faith, all within a church I am proud to accompany, one that says their doors are open for all of God’s children, that all are welcome to the table, and live it out despite consequences. While there is much room for improvement, these steps are ones that make this space open for people of faith of all genders and sexualities in a way the church has too often violently denied.
I think of the moments I witnessed big grace seeing people show up and put aside their hurt for the community in times of celebration, remembrance, like they do yearly at the Good Friday Stations of the Cross, or how they did for a milestone anniversary. The kin-dom of God is the most grace-filled of tapestries, one where the Holy Spirit does not forget nor deny the past but instead makes beauty and finds reconciliation in spite of it. In the kin-dom of God a torture survivor speaks where he was once held so that history never repeats itself and a young adult commits to creating a book of testimonies and memories commemorating 50 years of community life through extreme poverty, 17 years of military dictatorship and beyond. A kin-dom tapestry shows history already woven and looks toward the stitches of life to come.
These have been months filled with activities I will carry with me for a long time, in addition to beginning new classes which I am pleased to report are going very well. Being back in the place I began my service in Chile over two years ago has been an impactful, important time of reflection and enjoyment of the communities I have been woven into.
As July approaches I will be tying in the loose ends of my tapestry, the finishing touches, before it is complete. I give thanks for all that have made this a period of service filled with kin-dom moments, including and because of you, my faithful newsletter readers and supporters.
Prayer Requests from Ryana:
- For leaders to work for those they represent
- For communities of faith and the good friendships and joy they bring us
- For Ryana to be as present as possible in her last months while also discerning “what next”
- For those facing hardships within their families, biological or chosen, to be accompanied in the journey to healing and stability
- For the Chilean Lutheran Church, for their vision and wisdom as they come upon big leadership decisions and changes in their upcoming synod (May 25-26, 2019)
Want more of Ryana’s story? Follow her blog at