Missionary Stories

Christmas 2020

Dear Friends and colleagues:

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My Virtual Service in Hungary

Claire Weihe served as a short-term volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic. She shares how she was able to serve in a virtual capacity and build meaningful relationships.

Hello everyone! My name is Claire Weihe. I am a 21 year old university student in the U.S, studying public health at Kent State University with a hope to go into ministry with a focus on women’s health next fall. I have grown up in the United Church of Christ and I had the privilege of attending The General Synod this past year as a delegate. That is where I found out about the awesome work being done by Global Ministries and the great community partnerships that have developed! In February of 2020 I was confirmed to serve as a short term service volunteer with Global Ministries in Budapest, Hungary.. I was supposed to serve this summer from June through August. My role would be to serve with Kalunba ministries in their work with refugees offering English lessons, women’s health education, and public health education, as well as some ecumenical work with the Reformed Church of Hungary.

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Lebanon Hope

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Taking Our First Steps Together

I’m stuck in some of the worst traffic I’ve ever experienced. And I couldn’t be happier.

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Sorrow upon sorrow

“It’s an earthquake!” As the ground rolled under our feet at Haigazian University, we stirred with uncertainty as to how long it would last.Seconds later, when an explosion blew out windows all around, we realized that the first was not an earthquake at all, and that we had entered a new, sad chapter in the current history of Lebanon. Sorrow has been heaped upon sorrow.

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Apprehension

After the resurrection, when Jesus told his followers to sit and wait for what was next, I wonder if they were filled with a sense of dread about the unknown future. It is easy for us, twenty-one centuries later, to paint that upper room scene in colors of joyful anticipation of the coming of God’s promise, but it is doubtful that those colors were on the disciples’ palette at the time. Meeting together behind closed doors to pray and elect someone to take Judas’ spot was probably all they could manage in that time of great stress.

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Spring Time in Lockdown - Looking outside and looking inward

“April is the cruelest month, breeding /Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

     Memory and desire, stirring/ Dull roots with spring rain.

     Winter kept us warm, covering /Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

     A little life with dried tubers.”

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Witnessing Faith in Action: COVID Response in Egypt

“Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another.” (Proverbs 27:17, NRSV)

I am fascinated with wisdom literature. I spend time reading through my favored texts - Buddhist Scripture, Idries Shah’s Rumi-centric Hundred Tales of Wisdom, and Benedicta Ward’s translation of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Such works have exposed me to a wide variety of perspectives on human and spiritual fulfillment, many of which are joined together by a shared sinew of belief: collectively, we humans are preoccupied with what’s directly in front of us – thus, we often prevent ourselves from being able to see the “big picture”.

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“The Steal of the Century” - A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Pilgrims participating in our alternative tour earlier this year were meeting with a settler in the Gush Etzion settlement block, just outside of Bethlehem, when President Trump announced what he had been heralding as his Deal of the Century. The 180-page, so-called peace proposal is formally titled, Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of Palestinian and Israeli People.

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Pursuing the Paths of Peace and Reconciliation

On Epiphany Sunday, we posted a reflection on the lectionary text appointed for the day in lieu of a Christmas newsletter to family and friends, given how busy that season is for us in Bethlehem, as you can well imagine!

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