In Guatemala, indigenous people of Maya descent comprise around 40% of the population. The largest and most traditional Maya populations are in the western highlands in the departments of Baja Verapaz, Quiché, Totonicapán, Huehuetenango, Quetzaltenango, and San Marcos. Culum Family Ministries is concentrated in the departments of Quetzaltenango and San Marcos. Pastor Antonio is a descendant of this culture.
When the Conquistadors came in the 1500’s from Spain, they brought Catholicism with them. In order to gain converts, the Catholic Church allowed the mix of Catholicism with the Mayan religion. The predominant Mayan religion, therefore, is Roman Catholicism combined with the indigenous Maya religion to form the unique blended religion which prevailed throughout the country and still does in many of these rural regions. On the steps of a well-known Catholic church in the village of Chichicastenango, Guatemala, you are likely to find a witch doctor practicing a Mayan ritual with icons and Mayan religious symbols inside the church, such as candles placed on the floor in a diamond formation.
This unique religion is also reflected in the local saint, Maximón, who is associated with the subterranean force of masculine fertility and prostitution. Always depicted in black, he wears a black hat and sits on a chair, often with a cigar placed in his mouth and a gun in his hand, with offerings of tobacco, alcohol, and Coca-Cola at his feet. The locals know him as San Simon of Guatemala.