CALMS prepares a monthly e-letter with news about Central America, examples of how we are involved and ways you can get involved. To see the latest e-letter or previous e-letters, please click one of the options. To receive the e-letter automatically, click "e-letter subscription" and fill out the brief on-line form. We also regularly update our website with new spot-light stories, so check back to see new story.

Here is an example of an article from our most recent e-letter from April, 2012:

Poisonwood and Gumbo-limbo Trees

My wife Grace and I just returned from a trip to Belize where we had the opportunity to visit the rain forest in the Maya Mountains near San Ignacio on the western border with Guatemala.

While hiking near Cha Creek, our guide, Eder Ponti, showed us many different trees and plants and explained how they are used to treat different medical problems.

Perhaps the most fascinating of all the trees and plants we saw was the Black Poisonwood tree which grows next to the Gumbo-limbo tree. The root system of the two trees nourishes each other. One cannot survive without the presence of the other.

Sap from the trunk and roots of the Poisonwood tree causes a terrible skin condition like poison ivy. Early chronicles of the Spanish conquest reported that some native people tortured their captives by tying them naked to a Poisonwood tree and splitting the bark to allow the sap to run down onto the hapless victims. Amazingly, however, the antidote for the rash is made from the boiled bark of the Gumbo-limbo tree that always grows close by.

As I reflected on these two trees and their relationship to one another, I remembered two other trees described in God’s Word: The forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden and the tree of the cross upon which our Savior gave his life for the sins of the world. By eating of the tree in Eden, Adam and Eve, our first parents, disobeyed God and suffered the consequences described in Genesis. From this point on Adam and his descendants have had to labor to survive and Eve and her descendants have had to suffer the pains of childbirth—symptoms of our sinful condition. Sin does have serious consequences, and we all have experienced some of these consequences!

But thanks be to God, because of his mercy, he has provided an antidote for our sin and its consequences, the tree of the cross upon which our Savior died! His death on behalf of all mankind has opened the door to new life and we can now live victoriously. His resurrection from the dead which we celebrate on Easter, reminds us that we who continue to live in a sinful world, will one day be free from sin’s chains. Our baptism is God’s action in our lives connecting us to Christ, marking us as his redeemed people and calling us to make disciples!

Pastor Steve Hughey, CALMS’ Executive Director

While on our trip to Belize, we also saw two other examples from God’s creation that reminded us of Jesus’ suffering and death and his resurrection from the dead for us! The passion flower on the left and the blue monarch butterfly on the right are vivid reminders of our Savior’s love for us and for the lost people of Central America and our own communities!