December 2020: Who are the angels?

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” Matthew 2: 13 

Just as the baby Jesus and his parents fled from King Herod’s wrath, millions of refugees and asylum seekers around the world seek security and protection in a foreign land. In this season, we remember those who must flee their homeland because of threats of violence, persecution, and death. Who are the angels who will watch over their perilous journey? Where are the wise men and women who will thwart the evil powers?

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November 2020: Apapachar

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

Apapachar is a word that comes from the culture of the Nahuatl people of Mexico. It means to give gentle attention or make someone feel special through words or actions: literally “to caress with the soul.” When we receive a special blessing, we say that God has apapachado us.

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October 2020: Healing Presence

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God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29

As I walked into the Dzake Clinic, I was greeted by patients waiting to be seen. I took my seat at the triage table and checked in my next patient. He was a beautiful 12-month-old named Samson. His grandmother brought him in because he had been vomiting and was not able to eat.

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September 2020: Sharpening One Another

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Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another.  Proverbs 27:17

In 2020, the world is frayed. COVID-19 influences every aspect of our public, private, and professional lives. Groups of people who have never faced structural challenges now find themselves constricted for the first time. Those who have found themselves jumping over hurdles to survive are beginning to see that those hurdles are getting taller each day. Many regions affected by COVID-19 lack essential resources such as medical supplies, hospital bed availability, and staple foods. Misinformation runs rampant, and a lack of following safety precautions threatens local stability and livelihoods, especially for those people who already face disadvantages in society.

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August 2020: Replace Anxiety with Prayer

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Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6

If there’s one thing I learned during seven years as a pastor among the Timorese people, it’s that prayer is a simple, effective way to cope with anxiety. They take their cue from St. Paul. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul admonishes, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil. 4:6)

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July 2020: Amidst Uncertainty

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Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all. 
Ecclesiastes 11:7-8

With the current pandemic-stay-at-home-quarantine situation, I find that some days I am incredibly annoyed by the smallest of things. An entire day can be turned upside down by a simple gesture over digital communication. Yet on other days, I feel ‘productive’- practicing a new skill, reading a book, cleaning out my email inbox, or doing my laundry by hand with the courtyard hose.

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June 2020: After the Struggle

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I can do all things through God who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

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May 2020: Healing a Community

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Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.
Jeremiah 17:14

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April 2020: A Safe Port

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Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
I John 3: 18

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March 2020: Holy Waters

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Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
Matthew 3:15

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