Showing posts from May, 2018

A is for Apostille

These first two and a half months of full-time missionary service have been nothing if not a learning experience. I've gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in a short amount of time; I even learned a new word ! That's right, this Scrabble nut had never heard the term " apostille " until a few weeks ago. Before I saw it in print, I couldn't even picture how it might be spelled.  Turns out, it's a noun defined by the Merriam-Webster Law Dictionary as "a document used in international law that is issued by a government in accordance with the Hague Convention and that certifies that another document has been signed by a notary public."  Huh? Exactly.  I've come to understand that basically, it's an additional level of certification for official documents that validates them abroad. Enter my present situation. I'm in the throes of applying for a business (read: multiple entry) visa. After relocating to the DR, that will be conve

A First and a Second

This past Sunday, I presented during Bible class at Trinity Lutheran Church in Gallatin, TN...from my desk at my house in St. Louis...using Skype! It was the FIRST time I shared the story of what God has called me to do in the Dominican Republic without being physically present somewhere. The pastor and I had done a test run earlier in the week, so there were no snafus. I was able to share my screen so they could see my slides and everything.  I don't think much of my enthusiasm was lost on them: one of the questions I got was "Where do you get your energy from?" I admittedly don't embrace technology as much as some of my Millennial peers, but I'm certainly thankful for the many ways to connect virtually in this day and age.  I appreciated the folks at Trinity allowing me to be with them in such a way. My nephew's SECOND birthday party was Sunday afternoon; given that my time in the states is dwindling, it was important to me to celebrate the occas

Back to School

Picking up where my last post left off... Stop #2: Immanuel Lutheran School in Hamilton, OH (chapel) My connection was Anna, the CPH intern who stayed with me last summer; she's currently teacher aiding there but plans to go to pastry school in Denver in the fall! It was Immanuel's last chapel of the school year and doubled as a retirement celebration for the beloved band director, Mr. Williams. He unnecessarily but graciously apologized for overshadowing me when he took the microphone to say a few words at the end. I had about an hour to kill before lunch, which the school secretary had invited me to stay for, so I sat in on Anna's first grade class. Among other things, they reviewed vocabulary words for an upcoming quiz. One of the words was "inspire," and the teacher, Mrs. Francisco, used me as an example 😊 The school's end-of-year talent show took place while I was in town. I had another engagement that night but was able to sit in

O, hi, Ohio!

Another network building trip is in the books as of Friday night. I made a total of five stops in two states: OH and IN. Checking a new state off my list! Stop #1: Bethlehem Lutheran Church & School in Fairborn, OH (presentation during Bible class on Sunday; school chapel on Monday) It was my first school chapel, but I think it went over really well! I risked opening up the floor to questions at the end and was not disappointed. Here's some of the things the students wanted to know: How many planes does it take to get there? How long will you be there? What does your cat look like?  How did you decide to become a missionary? Monday also happened to be my dad's birthday, so I recorded the entire student body singing "Happy Birthday" and sent him the video! A former CPH coworker and her husband, Sarah & Fred, were kind enough to let me stay with them for the first half of my trip. We had fun exploring: Free hats at the Dayton Dragons

May Newsletter

My May newsletter is out! Please read, enjoy, post, & share.  Click on the image below to access a PDF.  OR Click  here  for the web version. Click "Subscribe" (upper left) to be added to my email distribution list. Until next time, blessings!

Twinkle Winkel

As of last Thursday, I've completed my circuit of circuit and tri-circuit meetings (that I've been invited to as of this writing, anyway): four in MO and one in IL. Last week I attended two, at:  Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis, MO (I WALKED from my house but had never been there before!) Child of God Lutheran Church in St. Peters, MO I've seen a handful of direct results come from these in addition to procuring some leads, but mostly I see circuit meetings as an opportunity to efficiently get my name out there and plant seeds that may bear fruit at some point in the future. Many thanks to each of the circuit visitors that allowed me to interrupt their regularly scheduled agendas on moderately short notice! The pastor who invited me to the one in IL referred to it as a "winkel" numerous times as we went back & forth regarding the details. My curiosity finally got the best of me and I HAD to ask what on earth he was talking about! After consultin

Relationship Building 101

My weekend jaunt to Chicagoland exemplifies one of the pivotal aspects of my role as Volunteer Coordinator: relationship building.  The focal point of my short but sweet time in the Windy City was St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mt. Prospect, IL. My relationship with St. Paul began in 2009 , when I worked with an inter-generational mission team of theirs in my role as Servant Event Coordinator for Ysleta Lutheran Mission in El Paso, TX. I did the same with subsequent St. Paul groups in 2010 and 2011 .  Despite - or because of? - the fact that she's a Cubs fan, I especially bonded with one of the team members who came in 2010 and 2011, bringing one or both of her kids each time. I've since met her husband and stayed with them numerous times when in Chicago for whatever reason; they've done likewise since their son is now a student at St. Louis University and their son-in-law, at Concordia Seminary! I treasure their unmerited kindness and hospitality, as well as their a

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

Thus begins the Doxology, a stirring hymn of praise to our Triune God, often sung at the conclusion of a worship service or other gathering of good LCMS Lutherans.  Used here, though, Doxology refers to a retreat originally designed for pastors that has since been adapted for pre-deployment missionaries and incorporated into week 2 of New Missionary Orientation. On Wednesday of last week, my "class" of eight transitioned from the LCMS International Center to the Marianist Retreat & Conference Center, where we benefited from 2 1/2 days of worship, fellowship, and training co-led by a Christian psychologist and a pastor. We also enjoyed the musical stylings of a cantor I could have listened to all day and the attentiveness and gentle spirit of an independent chaplain.  (Before I go on, funny story: we were sharing the retreat center with another group...who happened to be on a silent retreat! We couldn't talk as we went through the buffet line for meals and had

De Itinere

De Itinere  is a Latin phrase meaning "concerning the journey" and served as the theme for New Missionary Orientation, week 2, part I. With few exceptions, the same group of newly appointed missionaries that gathered at the LCMS International Center back in March  regrouped after a six week hiatus for five more days of learning and sharing. There was a noticeable shift in the subject matter: the first half of this week was all about transitioning to and living abroad. Some sample topics: Overview of strategies for financial wellness Review of policies in the International Worker Manual Highlights from a book entitled Preparing for Your Move Abroad Summary of our medical insurance benefits Introduction to tax considerations that arise as US citizens living outside the US Video chat with a therapist from Lutheran Counseling Services of Florida Although practical and informative, discussions featuring terms like "Foreign Earned Income Exclusion" can only b

The Bootheel was Made for Talking

My second presentation of the weekend was Sunday morning at Concordia Lutheran Church in Sikeston, MO, in (or near, depending who you ask) the "bootheel." It was a last minute invitation I received at Thursday's tri-circuit meeting . (Is all this talk about tri-circuit meetings making me sound like a broken record?) When the pastor found out I was going to be down that general direction on Saturday and was still available on Sunday, he snatched me up before anyone else could. I was given the opportunity to share my presentation during Bible class before worship and to address the congregation briefly after the service. The pastor then invited me to join him in shaking hands with everyone as they exited the sanctuary. Since I was having company over that night and couldn't stick around for throwed rolls at Lambert's , I was sent on my way back to St. Louis with many kind reassurances, pledges of prayerful support, and inklings that some monetary gifts may be h