Showing posts from March, 2019

Houston, We Have Bunk Beds

I love setting foot in the Kingston Ministry Centre. It's filthy and literally falling apart but oozes potential. That's not to say that the magnitude of the renovation project doesn't threaten to overwhelm, though, especially with a deadline looming. Walking by faith and not by sight, we're pressing on toward being able to house a 2nd missionary by September 1. Bit by bit, the checklist is growing shorter. I mentioned bunk bed building in my  last post . Thanks to John and Jim, members of Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, TX, and personal friends of Area Facilitator Charles St-Onge, the short-term team housing portion of the building is just  about ready (now we just needs some teams !). Thanks to short-term team from Hope Lutheran Church in Wake Forest, NC, for the blueprints! Pastor Obot Ite getting in on the action.  One change we made from how the Hope team did things was to leave a rim around the plywood decks so the mattresses wouldn't slide

Rescued by Jesus

Hello from Kingston, Jamaica! Two and a half days after dropping last week's short-term team from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (HTLC) in Tampa, FL, off at the airport, I find myself squeezing in a quick post after day one of bunk bed building with fellow missionary Charles and two volunteers from Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, TX. The HTLCers kept me busy! Monday through Thursday, we drove to Kilometer 28 (two facilities for abandoned adults with varying levels of intellectual and developmental disabilities) in the mornings before leading VBS at Ozama (mission plant in a middle class neighborhood of Santo Domingo) in the evenings. Friday, we hightailed it to Santiago and back for quick stops in Palmar and Licey and then closed out VBS with a pizza party. Isaiah 55:9-11  was running through my head all week. The verses are beyond applicable to Kilometer 28 but transitioned to rambunctious preschoolers, as well. When it felt like I spent more time telling them to stay seate

Springing FOROward

A team of six from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL, is in the house! I have about half an hour until we're gathering to organize craft supplies for the after school program kickoff (read: VBS) we're running all week, though: time for a quick update on last week's biannual partner gathering (FORO).  The DR doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time, but having so many DRLM supporters in the same room at the same time certainly help us spring the mission forward.  Day 1 is generally used for mission site visits - largely for the benefit of new partners - and a cultural excursion. First stop: Iglesia Luterana Cordero de Dios.  The schoolchildren sang and recited a Bible verse for us! Next stop: Pueblo Nuevo's current  location.  I say "current" because the contract on a new facility, a former discoteca  in the same neighborhood, was signed this week. It was my first time in the space, which needs quite a bit of work before it

The Good Portion

I spent about four hours this afternoon accompanying Cordero de Dios's Vicar Yban and congregational president Luis on visits in the surrounding community.  I was this  close to telling Pastor Fritzler that I'd better not since I'm leaving tomorrow at 7:30 am to spend the next week in the capital with a short-term team from Tampa, but I didn't. Frankly, I love visits. I'm in awe of the ease with which the evangelists I'm accompanying segue into the message they've prepared and apply it to the lives of our hosts. They tenderly solicit prayer requests and never leave without a bold church invitation. And despite the many other balls I'm juggling right now, there is no doubt in my mind that this, this , is my chief task - church planting in the most grassroots sense of the term.  So with cell phone silenced, I dutifully accompanied Yban and Luis to three homes. It only took one, though, for the irony of the passage Yban had selected to hit me: Luke 1

A Real Name Changer

I met a man whose story I'll never forget a few weeks ago. The entire FORO group had the privilege of hearing it today. The man didn't know his real name until last fall, and he's 70. This was also a revelation to him, having never known when his birthday is (August) or celebrated it. But he is baptized into Christ. We talk often in the Lutheran Church about baptismal identity. About Christ claiming us as His own through the water and the Word and henceforth making His dwelling within us. About  whose  we are, not  who  we are. The man's Baptism, though, granted him newfound identity as a child of God as well as a literal newfound identity.  He resides in Los Callejones, a hop, skip, and a jump down the road from my church and the focus of recent evangelistic efforts, and makes his living farming a small plot of land and working as a watchman. He is being catechized in his humble home on a weekly basis by seminarian Rudy Carbajal, who also picks him up on Sundays for Di

I Walk in Danger All the Way

Tuesday of this week was our monthly all-team gathering - four-part affairs that begin with a business meeting. I was at the helm for much of this one, since it hinged on the upcoming DR FORO. Seventeen partners from across the US are arriving throughout the day today; we thank God for the sacrifices they are making to spend the weekend experiencing the Latin American church. Pray for safe travel and that our discussions would be edifying as success stories are shared and visions for the future are laid out. Following that, our regional chaplain, Rev. Dr. Jonathan Naumann (who, with wife Deac. Cheryl, arrived back in-country at 3 am Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack in September and recovering for nearly 6 mos. in the States), led us in the title Bible study, based on the Scandinavian hymn by the same name. We don't like to think about Satan and his legions prowling around and seeking inroads with which to devour us, but as missionaries, that is our inevitable realit