Posts

Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.

Image
Friday afternoon, I crossed the state line into Iowa. My first stop was Mission Central, to see founder Gary Thies and sort out lodging for that night. If you're not familiar with Mission Central, it's really unexplainable. You can poke around on its website  for some background and visuals, but really, just go sometime and thank me later. I hung out for an hour or so before driving 30 min. to Denison, where I'd meet up for dinner with my fan club, 5/6 people I traveled to Peru with in February 2020, four of whom drove nearly seven hours from the Chicago area! I'm a city girl. But, heading STRAIGHT east, I couldn't help thinking of the famous title line from Field of Dreams , which I WILL visit one of these times I'm in Iowa.  Saturday morning, it was go time.  All missionaries passing through get their pictures taken with "the boss." Gary was prepared for  Ben & Becca Helge , the other presenters, and I, with postcards, adoption agreements, and p

The LORD bless you from Zion

Image
And so it continues: my Mustang and I rolled into Zion Lutheran Church in Omaha, NE, on Thursday morning, September 23, for the start of the Jamaica FORO. Zion's WiFi password is a Bible verse about the Lord blessing His people from Zion, and bless us He did through their hospitality and generosity. Simply defined, a FORO is a partnership circle: districts, congregations, individuals, RSOs, departments within the Synod, auxiliary entities, other NGOs, and more walking alongside church planting efforts in a particular field by engaging in the strategic planning process and rallying various forms of support. Typically, FOROs convene 2x/year  in  the field in question, but Jamaica is unique in that its FORO meets once in the States and once in the field. For the past several months, all FOROs have been virtual, so pulling off an in-person event anyplace was a triumph. As I do for a handful of other FOROs, I helped Area Facilitator Rev. Charles St-Onge with partner communications and l

The Pony Express

Image
Good morning from Santiago!  My best friend Marie drove me to the airport at 4 am yesterday when there were ZERO Ubers available in all of Williamsburg, VA, and Courtney picked me up when I landed just after 1 pm. I left Tirzah's welcome back/Canadian Thanksgiving pizza party last night at 8:30 pm to go home and SLEEP, but I've already been to the botanical garden - a group of regulars said they'd missed me! - PriceSmart, and the grocery store this morning.  Now back to the conclusion of Home Service 2021... In case you missed my Facebook post , Enterprise was low on inventory, so I made my longest drive, 7 hours to Seward, NE, in a silver Ford Mustang convertible . I stayed with the Gauthiers, former missionaries to Panama. As such, they get it ; we shared some laughs about accidentally throwing TP in the trash even after being in the US for weeks, for example. Rev. Brian is a professor at Concordia Nebraska now and already booked to bring a short-term team of students to

Greentree Weekend

Image
I identify as a St. Louisan, but more specifically, I grew up in the charming suburb of Kirkwood. Kirkwood boasts an iconic stone train station, a quaint downtown, and every September, the Greentree Festival, so named for Kirkwood's many stately oaks, sweetgums, maples, and elms.  The main event is a parade on Saturday morning - the kind where any entry worth its salt throws candy for kids - but an epic craft fair in Kirkwood Park runs from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. My family went every year when I was growing up; one year my Girl Scout troop even marched in the parade.  Somehow, I swung actually being in St. Louis for Greentree weekend 2021, and, amidst a pandemic, the city pulled off both the parade and fair. As you can see, I had a few other things going on so I missed the parade (my nephew shared some of his three gallon Ziplocs   of candy with me), but I made it a point to walk to the park and browse the fair booths. I didn't buy a thing, but cherished traditi

IC You

Image
One component of a traditional home service is a "Reconnect" at the LCMS International Center, or IC. There are only 12 St. Louis-based individuals responsible for recruiting, deploying, training, supporting, and caring for 300+ missionaries and families living internationally. During the span of one full day in the building, the support staff gets to demonstrate hospitality toward the visiting missionaries and learn about their work, and the missionaries get to thank the support staff, vent concerns, and ask questions. My Reconnect was Thursday, September 16.  My first appointment wasn't until 9:15 am, but I came in early to be part of a conversation about requesting in-person short-term teams at 7 am. Missionaries from around the world joined by Zoom, but I was at the same table as Erin and Anne, my two right hand colleagues from the Short-term unit.  Schedule for the day.  I could have used my sunglasses during chapel! Anyone in the building is invited to missionaries&

Goin' to the Chapel

Image
My presentation at my home congregation came midway through two solid weeks in St. Louis between road trips. During those two weeks, I led three  school chapels. I will have led eight by the time all is said and done, which begs the question: what is the point of talking to kids who aren't old enough to have checkbooks?  Even babies & toddlers have hands that can be folded, eyes that can be closed, and heads that can be bowed in prayer. Network building is as much or more about raising up an army of prayer warriors as it is about garnering financial support.  It's never too early to begin learning about stewardship of time, talents, and treasure in the Kingdom. Young people can give of their own allowance, birthday, or babysitting money, however modest their gifts may be. They can also participate in school or churchwide fundraising campaigns, and they belong to families who may have a greater capacity to partner with a missionary and churches that may consider sending a