This sign sums up the year 2010 for us…a year of change, learning curves and new experiences!
We left South Africa in June 2010 after eight years of ministry with our partner church, the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa.
We left South Africa in June 2010 after eight years of ministry with our partner church, the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa. We felt our time in South Africa was a real blessing, to us and to our partners. We made life-long friends and know that we will always be in touch. But it left a hole in our hearts to say farewell to our friends, really family, and to the ministries that we had grown to love. However, the time had come for us all to open our hearts and minds to new journeys!
We landed in the USA and hit the ground running. We spent June through November 2010 on itineration with various communities and churches to share the love and lives of our brothers and sisters in South Africa with our USA family. We were with many DOC and UCC churches in New York, Kansas City, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Colorado. We connected with so many people and were treated as part of their families. We preached, presented power points, fellowshipped with youth, sang (which we do not do well!) with sisters from around the world at the Quadrennial, and participated in a family camp in Colorado, only to mention a few! It was a real privilege to be a part of these exciting ministries. We learned about the heart ache of job losses, the joys of ministry in small congregations in rural areas, the need for more education surrounding what and how Global Ministries reaches out to the world, and about new security while traveling in the USA airports!
We were also able to enjoy some time off with family and friends; time to go slowly around some of the curves that we experienced. One of the major curves we experienced was Dawn’s mom being diagnosed with cancer. Dawn was able to hold her hand through much of this journey and can gladly say that today she is cancer free, but adjusting to healing and a new way of life. Our kids handled their new experiences of school in Virginia with stride when they finally adjusted to wearing closed toed shoes and not their everyday flip-flops!
As 2011 has come and we look, yet again, to a new challenge, a new curve in Mozambique. God has called us to a new adventure once again serving with our partner church, the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, with the Mozambique Synod. We will be doing similar develop work as we were in South Africa, with a Portuguese twist!
We ask your prayers go with us as we seek to share the love, grace, hope, peace, and joy of Christ.
Revs. Jon and Dawn Barnes
Jonathan and Dawn Barnes will serve with the Mozambique Synod of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, based in Maputo, Mozambique. Dawn will serve as an HIV and AIDS Coordinator and Jon will serve as project and development officer.