Missionary Stories

The Unheard Stories of Street Children

Who among us can blame another person?  The sad fact is that it happens every single day.  We all fall into the temptation without even realizing it.  We walk down the street and judge others based on their looks, perceived poverty, smell, clothes, or assumed mental states.  But why must these judgments exist in everyday society? We are called to be Christians and spreading the pure "Love" of God, but we get held back by our own prejudices in sharing The Word with the people God places in our paths.  Always make sure your heart is open-wide and welcomes every person that you meet!  Was Jesus afraid of the homeless, the prisoners, the elite scholars, or the sick and elderly?  Christ is shining through us every day, so we need to be bright for others to see. 

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Finding Comfort in Challenge

While I have only been in Ecuador with Ecumenical Foundation for Development, Integration, Training and Education (FEDICE) for two months, I have been out of the United States (and my comfort zone) since November.  For me, November was the tail end of a time of discomfort, restlessness, and waiting for God’s plans for my future to be revealed.  I had finished my medical school applications, and my plans to be a GMI had been in the works for months.  When I was finally given a week’s notice that I could go to Mexico before heading to my placement in Ecuador, I leapt at the opportunity.  Hanging up the phone after that conversation, I wondered if I had been hasty.  I didn’t know anything about Chiapas, Mexico.  I had been preparing for a different country all together. Fast forward to the night of November 20th: I found myself smiling as my taxi wove through traffic, I had this overwhelming feeling that life is so cool. While my time in Mexico was brief, it was the perfect transition on my way to Ecuador.  I got back into the groove of speaking Spanish, I worked with people different from me, I found value in any menial task that could help those around me, and I learned that forming relationships is one of the most valuable things we can do in life.

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Faithful to the Gospel

Greetings Friends,

As a Global Service Worker (Long-term Volunteer), having served for more than forty years as a Mission Co-worker in Latin America and the Caribbean, I am back in the field assigned to Venezuela, specifically to serve our longest standing Pentecostal partner in the world, starting way back in the 1960’s with Juan Marcos Rivera and Flor María Piñeiro Rivera, a couple from Puerto Rico, who worked intensely and with passion with this unique Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela. La Unión, as we commonly refer to this unique ecumenical Pentecostal denomination, has played an important role for more than sixty years in a prophetic ministry advocating for justice and in concrete ministries among orphan children and promoting the active role of women in ministry (at all levels), ordaining women as pastors and regional bishops.

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The Widow's Mite (Might)

Mexico_12-12-17.jpg“And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” - Mark 12:42-44

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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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