Missionary Stories

Fireflies

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

 

Bishop Ken Untener 
(This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener. The words of the prayer are attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.)

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/archbishop_romero_prayer.cfm, Sept. 23, 2017

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Planting Trees and Growing Faith

San_Cristobal_-_Planting_trees_farm.jpgOn Saturday, we planted trees.

We met at the Institute for Intercultural Study and Research (INESIN), one of Global Ministries’ partners here in San Cristobal, at 7:30 a.m. We loaded around 200 trees into the back of a pickup truck, loaded ourselves into the back of the pickup truck, and drove 30 minutes on a highway and 30 minutes more on patchy dirt and gravel roads to arrive at the stunning farm of a local pastor. Perched on the side of a mountain, we looked out over the plains to another mountain range as it was just starting to be covered by the ever-present day-time clouds.  

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Legacy of a Bishop

Mexico_-_Elena_y_Cara_apr_2017_(2).jpgjTatic Samuel, as he was lovingly known to all in this region of Mexico, was the visionary Bishop of the Catholic Church in San Cristobal de las Casas from 1959 to 1999. jTatic was the title the Mayan descendants, the Original Peoples of Chiapas, gave him and means "our dear father", a sign of respect and appreciation for his tireless work on behalf of the marginalized and the poor.  There are many ways to describe the life and ministry of Bishop Samuel Ruiz, but there is a particular legacy that touches my life and the work of Global Ministries here in this southern state of Mexico on the border with Guatemala.   jTatic Samuel knew he would not be around forever, but he saw  his call to "see that justice is done, let mercy be (his) first concern, and humbly obey (his) God" (Micah 6:8)  as growing and expanding in the organizations he helped to create during his time serving the church and the broader community.

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Confronting Racism

Mexico_-_Nicholson_Spr_2017_pic1.jpgOur current president who just moved into government-subsidized housing in Washington, D.C. said during the campaign that Mexico was sending rapists and criminals to the U.S.  I’ve met with many people here in Nogales that have just been deported from the U.S.  They’ve told me, often with tears in their eyes, that they made the risky journey to the U.S. in search of work so that they could provide for their families back home in Mexico or Central America.

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The Hope of Salvation in Unsafe Situations: Safety for All

Guatemala_-_Mayol_Spr_2017_large_DSC_3326.jpgIn November, I was traveling from San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador to Managua, Nicaragua in Ticabus. Arriving at the Salvadoran side of the border with Honduras, I was writing in my diary when a police officer entered the bus to make a check. I did not pay attention to him, because I was focused on my thinking.  I think that made him suspicious – he might have thought I was hiding myself from him behind my writing and I was asked to dismount the bus for a check.  I got off the bus, picked up my suitcase, and went to an office. In it there were three hostile policemen who rudely started interrogating me about who I was and what I do. I told them that I am a missionary and pastor. Checking my luggage, they found my prayer cards and with them, they corroborated what I was saying.  After a while I was released. I left was very angry about their rude treatment.

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Community Empowerment Training

Nicaragua_-_Magyolene_Spr_2017_Image_2017-02-03.jpegOn January 26th and 27th, CIEETS Matagalpa's training continued the “Resilience to Climate Change” project, in which CIEETS works in collaboration with Lutheran World Relief in eleven communities that live on the coffee plantations in San Ramón-Matagalpa. I helped deliver the training with Lucrecia Mendoza Martínez.

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The Value of English

Ecuador_-_Cooper__Marilyn_Spr_2017_pic1.jpg“As a volunteer with FEDICE, I am making a difference in indigenous communities. The leaders of the future, the children, are getting an enhanced curriculum because FEDICE has the foresight to provide this service of teaching English in these communities. It is a gift for the next generation."

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Lent is a Time of Waiting

Mexico_-_Handy_Spr_2017_pic1.jpgReflection transforms the march of time into productive moments of change. That is what I love about Lent. This season of waiting turns us toward reflection on many levels.

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Take care of these things

Honduras_-_Westra_Spr_2017_pic1.jpgA lot of people were now becoming followers of the Lord. But some of the ones who spoke Greek started complaining about the ones who spoke Aramaic. They complained that the Greek-speaking widows were not given their share when the food supplies were handed out each day.

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We are thirsty. "Give us water to drink."

Nicaragua_-_Salley_Spring_2017_thumb_IMG_1025_1024.jpgExodus 17:2

During this Lenten season as we focus on our relationship with God, I would like to provide you with the opportunity to examine how our Nicaraguan sisters and brothers of the Moravian Church focus on their relationship with God.

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