Showing posts from May, 2019

Graduatin’ in the Rain

Ugh. It's raining. Or maybe it just stopped. I  suppose  I did request prayers for it in my  last newsletter , but that doesn't mean I have to like it. We've been getting quite a bit of precipitation recently, usually in the late afternoon. That meant a soggy first-ever graduation ceremony for Concordia the Reformer Seminary on Friday but didn't lessen the magnitude or diminish the celebratory air of Symposium's epic conclusion in anyone's mind. Graduates, vicars-to-be, students, faculty, and staff following the cross in triumphant procession.  The crowd, including representatives from ALL Dominican Lutheran churches, got cozy under the rented tent to stay dry.  Rev. Joel Fritsche officiated and preached.  Rev. David Preus presided over a rite of sending for those returning to their home countries to serve vicarages during the 2019-2020 academic year before graduating next May.  A faculty representative personally addressed each graduate

Todo el mundo

Todo el mundo  ("the whole world") is the Spanish equivalent of the sarcasm-laden "everybody and their brother/grandma/dog." In this case, though, I really do mean the whole world, or at least the whole of Latin America! My silence over the past week or so was due to the second annual theological symposium hosted by Concordia the Reformer Seminary (CMSCR). It brought 70+ people from at least a dozen countries together around God's Word to seek understanding and synergy.                                         Rev. Joel Fritsche, director of CMSCR, addressing the crowd during the official opening.  I wasn't really sure what a "symposium" was, other than an all-hands-on-deck Big Deal. Turns out the basic premise is the public reading of academic papers on a given theme (Comfort for God's People in the Midst of Suffering, in this case). True confession: I don't "get" it, but I'm also not the target audience 🤷 Of

Venezuelans This Week

Such was the name of a WhatsApp group I was invited to last week as I joined a team of colleagues in supporting 12 Venezuelan pastors during a brief sojourn in the DR.  Much like last October , their time consisted of a 1-day FORO followed by a Luther Academy conference ("Revelation: A Message of Hope to a Church under the Cross"), and LOTS of lovin'. In addition to the below, the DR missionaries took up an offering of corn flour, pasta, rice, coffee, black beans, sugar, soap, and gently used clothes, shoes, and toys. The collection table filled up not once, but twice, a la  Exodus 36:3-7 .  I wasn't the only one worried about them having enough room (in terms of both space and weight) to comply with LASER Airlines' strict requirements, but God is faithful. Everyone and everything made it back to Caracas without incident and will be a blessing to so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living in circumstances unfathomable to me.  Welco

Tow Woes

I hope the 12 Venezuelan pastors that arrived last night - and the three that are unable to be here - like the clerical shirts they'll be receiving as we love on them for the next three full days. My car almost got towed - twice! - in the process of buying them! Friday afternoon, seminarian Elvis accompanied me to el centro , where there are three Catholic bookstores within a few blocks' radius, to purchase clerical shirts for all 15 pastors of the Iglesia Luterana de Venezuela  (ILV). As usual, it was abuzz with people and cars, but I saw a spot near a NO PARKING sign and hesitantly heeded the guy who waved me enthusiastically into it. Tipping a local to guide you in and out of tight spaces and keep an eye on your vehicle is very common here, so after pointing to the sign and confirming that the spot was OK, we set off. Store #1 didn't have what we needed, so we walked to store #2, another dead end. Leaving, we saw the parking guy running frantically toward us; we took

Dios Bendiga Este Hogar

Dr. Naumann, our regional chaplain, did a house blessing for me last Monday!  For those unfamiliar with the rite, found in both the English and Spanish versions of  Pastoral Care Companion , it consists of formally inviting God into one's dwelling and asking Him to bless the various spaces in the home in specific ways related to their functions; I've been to a handful of other missionaries.' While my house isn't "done," I've lived here since September, so I figured, why wait any longer? The next two weeks are going to be a circus, and the summer months are peppered with home service, vacations, and short-term teams.  Housewarming gift from missionary friends - my pastor and his wife! - Rev. Sergio & Lilian.  The kitchen (OK...dining room, since my kitchen is too small for everyone) was the last stop, where we concluded by singing the doxology. Being me, I had snacks to share, so most people stayed around for a bit. Freddy of

New People, New Location

Sunday evening was one of those goosebumps-inducing, momentous occasions in the life of a local church - the dedication of a new sanctuary for Iglesia Luterana Pueblo Nuevo.  DRLM missionaries, members from all three Santiago-area congregations, families, and friends first gathered in front of the old location to deconsecrate it. This was a step I hadn't even considered that basically consisted in thanking God for all He did in the space and praying for its future occupants.  Then, we followed the processional cross the few blocks to the new location.  Heading for the white building up ahead on the left... The new building is far more spacious and visible than the old one. The team only thought to look at it when the realtor who was going to show them the house next door didn't show! I saw the space for the first and only time prior to Sunday during the Spring FORO in March. The before & after is astounding, and the first Divine Service held

I Went Chasing Waterfalls

Contrary to TLC's popular advice, I went chasing waterfalls!  More specifically, I finally made it to  27 Charcos , about a 45 min. drive from Santiago,   after missing numerous opportunities to go on account of travel. My fellow chasers were (L to R) Grant Manor (a recent Concordia University Chicago grad serving for one month as a short-term accountant while he solidifies his future plans and job hunts) and GEO missionaries Johanna and James. This is the only picture since anything on your person will get wet! Shameless plug: Chacos were made for this. Best. Investment. Ever. I'll describe the experience below, but you'll have to rely on the website for visuals.  After paying the entrance fee and stowing our belongings in the car, we were outfitted with life jackets and helmets. Conveniently, the park has zip ties for securing car (or locker) keys. Disposable water bottles in hand, we joined our guide and the rest of our group (the park is a popular resort

You might be a seminarian if...

In honor of Seminario Concordia el Reformador's first ever graduation ceremony taking place later this might be a seminarian if this is your walk to and from class everyday: 100% worth it for the view!  Until next time, blessings!